Doha 4 February 2023: Dr. Ahmad Al Mulla, Senior Consultant of Disease Control and Director of HMC’s Tobacco Control Center, a World Health Organization Collaborating Center, has warned against electronic smoking such as e-cigarrettes and e-hookahs.
These items are illegal to market and sell in Qatar under law no. (10) issued in 2016. Dr. Al Mulla said that smoke coming out of electronic cigarette smoking contains toxic and chemical substances that may cause harm to users.
“Electronic cigarette smoking is not an alternative way to quit smoking, has no scientific references and is not approved as a smoking cessation aid by the US Food and Drug Administration,” Dr. Al Mulla said. “Allowing electronic cigarette smoking in some countries resulted in negative consequences such as an increased prevalence of smoking in the community especially among younger age groups.”
HMC’s Tobacco Control Center continues to monitor global studies and research on this type of smoking as well as experiences in other countries. According to Dr. Al Mulla, studies conducted by the Tobacco Control Center at HMC, the prevalence of electronic cigarette use among tobacco users in Qatar is around 11%.
Dr. Jamal Ba Suhai, Tobacco Cessation Specialist said that users thought electronic cigarette smoking is either a safe alternative to traditional smoking or an easier way to quit smoking.
“However in our experience, users suffered from many problems, including increased consumption. This is because eletronic cigarette smoking is easier to use and enables a higher intake of toxic nicotine and other chemical substances,” Dr. Ba Suhai said.
Electronic cigarette smokers also complained of many problems such as infections in the mouth, gum, teeth, respiratory tract and pains in the heart and chest.
“The possibility of severe lung infection associated with this kind of smoking is high as well as nicotine acute poisoning in children and lithium battery explosions,” he said. “Some used electronic smoking to add other addictive substances which led to deaths in some younger smokers according to the United States Centers for Disease Control.”
Dr. Ba Suhai advised people who wish to quit smoking to seek help at HMC’s Tobacco Control Center to receive medications that are proven to be safe as well a counselling and support from the highly trained team.
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