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March 29th, 2015:

World Pollutionwatch: Bans that benefit millions

Starting with Berkeley, California in 1997 cities, regions and whole countries have banned indoor smoking in public places. Ireland introduced the first nationwide ban in 2004 and various types of restrictions are now in place in 92 countries from Albania to Zambia. This year’s planned indoor smoking ban in China will mean a huge increase in the global population covered.

Initially prompted by concerns about second-hand smoke and lung cancer risks these bans have yielded far greater benefits than the first campaigners can have anticipated.

As a tool to improve indoor air pollution, smoke free legislation has been very effective. Airborne particles decreased by an average of 86% in Scottish bars. In Spain, urine samples from non-smokers showed less tobacco smoke exposure, especially on Fridays and weekends. But it is the decrease in heart attacks that is most striking. Studies in 47 locations show that indoor smoking bans were followed by an average 12% decrease in heart attacks. In Scotland this was 17%. The English figure was less at 2%, with the biggest changes seen in men under 65. England was the last part of the UK to introduce smoke free legislation and the lower figure was perhaps due to many restaurants and workplaces already being smoke-free but a 2% decrease meant 1,200 fewer heart attacks in the first year.

Other studies have shown 15% fewer hospital admissions for childhood asthma. Despite fears, there is no evidence of increased smoking in cars or homes; in Scotland smoking in homes with children decreased.

What You Should Know About E-Cigarettes & Cancer

E-cigarettes are hugely popular right now, appearing to be a trendy new social activity that appeals to smokers and non-smokers alike. While e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, they do contain nicotine from tobacco plants. This is designed to aid smokers in working towards quitting their use of cigarettes.

As more research surrounding e-cigarettes becomes available, it becomes increasingly clear that there are dangers associated with their use, and that at this point, they can be seen as an uncontrolled experiment on consumers.

Negative health effects should be considered for both users and those taking in second-hand smoke. Instead of releasing cigarette smoke, which many know the dangers of, e-cigarettes release an aerosol (commonly but inaccurately called vapor) that many believe isn’t harmful.[1] But the more we learn about what exactly is in that aerosol, the more cause we have for concern.

The Positives of E-Cigarettes

There have been many clear signs of reduction in smoking as a result of using e-cigarettes. If used properly, one could effectively cut down their cigarette use and even kick the habit altogether.

While this is certainly not the only way to quit smoking, it may be a good short-term option for some people. However, it is also important to note the health effects e-cigarettes can have on everyone involved – for both direct users and those inhaling second-hand smoke.

One could also decide to make there own juice for use in their e-cigarette which can cut down greatly, or even completely, the harmful chemical intake.

The Negative Effects of E-Cigarettes

A study done by The German Cancer Research Center outlined key pieces of information we should consider with regards to the use of e-cigarettes.

It was found that e-cigarettes and their emissions are not as safe as originally thought and that they contain cancer causing substances like volatile organic compounds, acetone, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, benzopyrene as well as silicate and various metal particles.[2]

While this might still be seen as a step forward for those looking to quit smoking, it’s important to be aware of the dangers, and also to keep our minds open to other options for quitting.

The German Cancer Research Center states: “Until proof is provided that the products do not involve any health risks, their sale is an uncontrolled experiment, possibly at the cost of consumers’ health.”

As outlined in their study:

“The liquids contain ingredients that on short-term use irritate airways and may lead to allergic reactions and which may be harmful to health when inhaled repeatedly over a prolonged period of time.

The aerosol of some liquids contains harmful substances (formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein, diethylene glycol, nickel, chromium, lead).

The functionality of electronic cigarettes can vary considerably (aerosol production, nicotine delivery into aerosols).

Adverse health effects for third parties exposed cannot be excluded because the use of electronic cigarettes leads to emission of fine and ultrafine inhalable liquid particles, nicotine and cancer-causing substances into indoor air.”

Furthermore, according to the CDC in a recent statement, “If you only cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke by adding another tobacco product, like e-cigarettes, you still face serious health risks… Smokers must quit smoking completely to fully protect their health – even a few cigarettes a day are dangerous.” [3]

What Else Can You Do To Quit Smoking?

There are a number of routes one can take to quit smoking that are entirely safe and effective. Each person is unique and thus various methods will work for different people. GreenMedInfo has put together a great list of options including the research and evidence that goes with their efficacy. You can check out their list on how to quit smoking naturally here.