Vaping can save millions of lives, speakers say on occasion of World Vape Day

Speakers in an online event held on the occasion of World Vape Day (WVD) said vaping can save millions of lives by helping cigarette smokers quit smoking.

Organized by Voice of Vapers Bangladesh the webinar was held on Saturday under the tag line‘#Switch To Healthy Living.’
Ishraq Dhaly, one of the conveners of Voice of Vapers Bangladesh, said opposition to vaping comes from ignorance about latest scientific findings about vaping.

“This will cause harm. Vaping could help achieve Bangladesh’s aim of being tobacco-free by 2040. Vaping is the perfect tool to achieve that because it is 95 percent safer than cigarette smoking according to the best medical research,” he said.

Dhaly was referring to the study by UK’s Public Health England (PHE), an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care in the United Kingdom. In 2015 PHE in a landmark review found that vaping is approximately 95 percent less harmful than tobacco.

Schumann Zaman, president of Bangladesh electronic nicotine delivery system traders association (BENDSTA), said a lot of people are choosing vaping as a tool to quit smoking because vaping is significantly less harmful. But misinformation about vaping is prevalent and it is very damaging, Zaman added.

“Vaping helps smokers quit cigarette smoking and as a result save them from the long term harms of it. Vaping is 95 percent 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 Zaman.

He emphasized vaping is only to be used by smokers. “We would never advocate vaping for a non-smoker. What we want is that a smoker will quit smoking by using vaping. This is the role of vaping. This is not about fashion. Vaping has the potential to save many lives,” Zaman said.

Prof Mithun Alamgir, Head of Department of Community Medicine at Enam Medical College, said death by smoking is a silent global pandemic that is invisible to the people.

“In the language of epidemiology we call cigarette smoking a grade one carcinogenic. All of the most potent substances that cause cancer are in it. This is so deadly because when the tobacco is combusted it creates thousands of chemicals. We can identify some, but it is hard to pinpoint all of them. How can we save ourselves from it. The answer is quitting smoking completely,” said Alamgir.

The most effective way of doing this, says Alamgir, is vaping. “There are many routes to quitting. Nicotine replacement therapy of various kinds is being used. But vaping provided a revolutionary step forward for public health in helping smoker quit,” he said.

Musician, anchor and producer Jewel shared his personal experience of taking up vaping after getting treatment for serious illness. “I went through serious treatment and doctors from Bangkok and London told me that I have to quit smoking. They recommended that I try vaping instead to help me successfully stay away from smoking,” said Jewel.

World Vape Day (WVD) is celebrated on May 30. Held this year under the tag line ‘#Go The Extra Mile’, the aim of this day is to raise awareness about vaping as a harm reduction tool for smokers.