'e-cigarettes' may have harmful chemicals, says DOH

by Jing Castañeda, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 05 2013 07:06 PM | Updated as of Apr 06 2013 07:40 AM

MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) and the Food and Drugs Administration are set to release guidelines regulating the use of electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes. 

E-cigarettes are increasingly becoming popular among Filipinos, and are being marketed by manufacturers as an alternative for users who want to curtail and stop smoking.

An e-cigarette is a mechanical device that simulates smoking a real cigarette without the tobacco or tar. 

It works when air flows through the cylinder that is injected with droplets of liquid. 

The "e-juice" contains subtances that turn into a vapor mist, which is then inhaled by the user.

However, Health Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag is discouraging the use of e-cigarettes.

He said chemicals used in e-cigarettes may be dangerous or harmful to the body.  "Di tayo nakakasiguro kung anong substance ang ginagamit dyan, potentially harmful ito eh diretso pa sa baga."

Several countries like Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Mexico, and New Zealand have banned e-cigarettes.

The European Respiratory Society said "electronic cigarettes cause damage to the lungs, according to a study that challenges earlier research suggesting the devices to quit smoking are harmless."

Tayag said e-cigarettes cannot help a person who wants to stop smoking.  "Electronic cigarettes are not advisable since you don't kick the habit. Humihithit ka pa rin.  Kung gusto mong tumigil sa paninigarilyo, take anti-nicotine drugs."

He also expressed concern over the proliferation of e-cigarettes, saying the devices encourage children to start smoking.  "Kasi hindi itsurang sigarilyo kaya na-go-glorify pa rin ang smoking.  Akala ng bata okay mag-smoke, lalo na mukha lang laruan yung e-cigarette."