Survey finds students are using vaping as quit smoking aid, recommends ban

Vaping advocates say no good argument for banning

A small-scale focus group study by Dhaka Ahsania Mission found that many of the participants took up vaping to help them quit cigarette smoking and most of the survey participants were not aware of “potential health risks” of vapes, also known as e-cigarettes.

The findings of the survey were published in a press event held earlier this month. Carried out between January and February of 2020, the survey consisted of three focus group discussions with two university students – Dhaka University and North South University. The participants were daily vape users.

Led by Senior Lecturer of North South University at the Department of Public Health, Dr Mohammad Hayatun Nabi, the survey found that most participants preferred the open system vapes that have refill tanks.

On knowledge and awareness, the study noted that “Most of the [[participants] believed that there weren’t enough scientific studies showing e-cigarettes as harmful.”

65% of the surveyed users started using vapes because of how they taste, and many took it up as a lifestyle choice.

A number of participants told surveyors that vaping helped them quit cigarette smoking. The survey recommended a “comprehensive ban” on vaping to “[safeguard] health and safety of youth and future generation.”

Dhaka Ahsania Mission, the sponsor of the study, supports and advocates a blanket ban on vaping.        


Vaping is less harmful and helps “thousands of smokers quit” in Bangladesh 

But vaping supporters say that it is significantly less harmful than cigarette smoking and help smokers quit fatal tobacco addiction.

“Vaping helps smokers quit cigarette smoking and as a result save them from the long term harms of it. Vaping is 95% safer than smoking. There is no carcinogen, tar and so on. This is a worthy tradeoff. We have to understand that this is harm reduction,” said Schumann Zaman, president of Bangladesh Electronic Nicotine Delivery System Traders Association (BENDSTA).

Responding to the survey, Zaman said that the recommendation for banning stands at odds with findings by internationally recognized and highly respected organizations like the Public Health of England, and the Royal College of Physicians in the UK.

“Both [the] Royal College of Physicians, UK and Ministry of Public Health, UK have declared it to be 95% safer than smoking. And their research is credible and accepted by the entire first world!” Zaman said.

Public Health England — an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care in England —found in a “landmark review” that vaping is approximately 95% less harmful than cigarette smoking.

The Royal College of Physicians, the authoritative British professional body dedicated to improving the practice of medicine, in a 2016 report concluded that “the hazard to health arising from long-term vapour inhalation from the e-cigarettes available today is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco,” and even that could be reduced by “Technological developments and improved production standards.”

Schumann Zaman further said that vaping can help thousands of people quit cigarette smoking. “I know for a fact that thousands of other smokers have quit smoking using e-cigarettes in Bangladesh.”

A 2019 study found that between 50 to 70 thousand people in England quit smoking in a year using vaping. Published in the scientific journal Addiction, the study concluded that 50,700 to 69,930 smokers in England stopped smoking in 2017 through the use of vaping.