A tobacco report from the Ministry of Health (Minsal), with data from the National Health Survey (2016-2017), indicates that 1.5% of smokers in the country say they have used electronic cigarettes in the last five days, but the figure is doubled when considering only the population between 15 and 24 years old (3%), that is, more than 80 thousand young people.
The information is published today in La Tercera, which also mentions that a study by the World Health Organization (WHO) establishes that there are very few tests that evaluate the effectiveness of electronic cigarettes to stop smoking and are not sufficient to draw conclusions. . For their part, Chilean doctors also question its effectiveness.
Celso Muñiz, head of the Office of Prevention of Tobacco Consumption of the Minsal, told the newspaper that to date, there is no product formulated on the active ingredient of nicotine authorized by the Institute of Public Health (ISP) and that those who do not They contain nicotine are in evaluation.
For her part, Lidia Amarales, director of the NGO Respira Libre, said that in young people electronic cigarettes can be the gateway for the consumption of traditional cigarettes.
On a Philip Morris device that heats tobacco leaves without reaching combustion and ensures that the harmful substances of a traditional cigar are reduced by 95%, he affirmed that although the modality is different, if it contains tobacco, it has nicotine, which produces dependence, and all tobacco toxins.
“It is an electronic nicotine administration system and when consumption starts earlier, more dependence and customers for life. To reduce health risks it is best not to smoke, not smoke something that damages less, “he said about this device that is not yet sold in Chile.
Daniel Seijas, a psychiatrist in addictions and part of the No Fumo Más Program of Clínica Las Condes, clarified that it was not from the area of health that electronic cigarettes became widespread.
“There are still doubts about whether they serve to quit smoking. Some work for them, but we can not say that because a few people managed to stop smoking, these are an alternative. I think it could help reduce cravings, sometimes to reduce the amount of nicotine. But there are other therapies, “he said.
Of the same idea is Guacolda Benavides, bronchopulmonary and academic of the U. de los Andes. “There is no evidence about its effectiveness. Some are just placebo, others have products that are more irritating than tobacco and could be even more harmful. It is the least effective of all, “he warned.
The specialists agreed that among young people the use of these devices obeys a fashion. “Heat tobacco or sniff it is as toxic as the packaged cigarette, it is addictive,” Seijas finally told La Tercera.