ECST objects to falsely linking e-cigarettes as a risk factor of COVID-19.

The following is a press release from ECST Thailand. The material within is theirs.

ECST outcries falsely linking e-cigarettes as a risk factor of COVID-19. Reveals USFDA changed its position on the use of e-cigarettes in relation to COVID-19.

Mr. Saligupta, representative of End Cigarette Smoke Thailand (ECST) and the admin of the Facebook page “What are e-cigarettes” reveals that “Many doctors and experts from abroad have already stated that there is not enough evidence to claim that e-cigarettes can increase the risk of contracting the coronavirus. Recently, US FDA has also changed its position on COVID-19 in relation to the use of e-cigarettes. Therefore, anti-tobacco organizations’ claims about cigarette smoke or vapor transmitting the coronavirus are considered nonsense and irresponsible especially when the society is in fear due to the spread of the virus”

Bloomberg News reported that the US FDA shifts its Covid-19 stance on vaping, smoking impact. Earlier last month, the US FDA stated that smokers and vapers with an underlying health condition are at a much higher risk of contracting COVID-19. However, the US FDA had recently came out to say that “E-cigarette use can expose the lungs to toxic chemicals, but whether those exposures increase the risk of Covid-19 is not known.”

Research results from many international public health agencies and medical professionals conclude that there is no clear evidence to the claim that cigarette smoke and vapors from e-cigarettes can help spread the virus, one of whom being Rosanna O’Connor, the Director of Alcohol, Drugs & Tobacco within the Health and Wellbeing Directorate of Public Health England (PHE). She cited the PHE report in 2018 confirming that vapor e-cigarettes are not harmful to those nearby and added that there is currently no evidence that an individual can be infected with the coronavirus just by exposure to the vapor from the e-cigarettes. A medical and academic expert Dr. Neal Benowitz, Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco argued that there is not enough evidence to conclude that cigarette smoke and vapors from e-cigarettes can help spread the virus unless the smoker cough or sneeze while exhaling the smoke. Whereas, the World Health Organization (WHO) only concluded that smokers or e-cigarette users are at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection from their lips touching the fingers and from sharing e-cigarettes.

Recently e-cigarettes have been bombarded by anti-tobacco organizations that smoking and vaping increases the chance of contracting the virus as well as causing the spread of the virus despite the very few scientific evidence. In accordance with the head of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at the Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Prof. Dr. Yong Poovorawan’s series of questions and answers about COVID-19 that “No evidence has been found that the virus can be transmitted through cigarette smoke. Therefore, it is appropriate that the news providers come out to correct their messages”.

While Thailand prohibits e-cigarettes since 2014, in reality, we still see a large number of e-cigarette users. Mr. Asa concluded that “The prohibition of e-cigarettes in Thailand has more negative than positive impacts. It also shows the failure in regulation of the ban on importation because despite the ban, there are still many smugglers and it does not guarantee that the ban will protect children and youths. In addition, this measure also forces smokers who quitted smoking and have changed to use e-cigarettes to reduce the dangers from smoke to go back to smoking or to purchase e-cigarettes from the black market. Other than the unresolved issue, the online black market has grown over 100% despite the crackdown on these goods. During this health crisis, Thailand should have thorough research on e-cigarettes first as there are many things that we still do not know such as that e-cigarette can be efficient for smoking cessation. Likewise, Thailand can also learn from other countries that have legitimate e-cigarette control regulations, such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada, or the European Union.”

Asa

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