Philippines: Vaping more harmful than smoking, says lung expert

9 August 2023

By Gerard Naval, Business Insight

CONTRARY to the claims of manufacturers, vaping and heated tobacco products (HTPs) are more harmful than smoking cigarettes.

Dr. Maricar Limpin, head of the Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Philippines, made this claim yesterday, saying doctors are beginning to observe evidence showing vapes and HTPs are not “safer” than traditional cigarettes.

“Us lung doctors and specialists are beginning to see (the) health effects of vaping,” Limpin said, adding: “We have been talking among ourselves on how it appears to be more harmful, especially in the lungs.”

She said they have observed that lung problems develop faster among vapers as compared to smokers.

Limpin said the speed in developing illnesses makes vaping more dangerous even if they produce similar health problems as smoking.

“We don’t see these types of lung problems develop this fast, wherein one is vaping for just a couple of years and are already showing symptoms,” she explained.

“To us, it is a warning signal that this (vape) is not less harmful. It may have similar effects like cigarettes but the speed it develops makes it even more harmful,” added Limpin.

Limpin, the former president of the Philippine College of Chest Physicians (PCCP), however, admitted all they have are clinical anecdotes.

She said this is the reason why medical organizations are now looking to establish a registry for vaping-related illnesses.

“We don’t have records on the effects of vaping yet. But the PCCP will already start gathering such cases and their details,” said Limpin.

In November 2019, the Department of Health (DOH) reported the first case of electronic cigarette or vaping-associated lung injury (EVALI) in the country involving a 16-year-old female from Central Visayas.


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