Pulmonologist: Vaping neither harmless nor safer than tobacco

By GISELLE OMBAY,GMA Integrated News

Pulmonologist Dr. Maricar Limpin on Tuesday refuted claims that electronic cigarettes,  commonly known as vapes, are not a safer alternative to tobacco and could also pose health risks to users. 

Limpin, who is also the executive director of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Philippines, said that the same chemicals found in tobacco could also be inhaled from vape products. 

 “Ang pagve-vape ay hindi harmless nor is it safer. Madalas maririnig natin sa industriya na ‘safer alternative,’ but ang pag-aaral, nakikita namin ay hindi talaga siya safer. Halos parehas, if not more deadly than tobacco,” she said at a press conference hosted by the Department of Health.

(Vaping is not harmless nor is it safer. We often hear in the industry that it is the 'safer alternative,' but according to studies, we found that it is not really safer. It’s almost as, if not more deadly than tobacco.) 

“Ang sinasabi ng mga manufacturers, mas lower daw ‘yung concentration but…‘yung liquid na ‘yan o mga juice, if it comes to contact doon sa mga heating elements, nagko-cause ‘yan ng paggawa ng iba pang mga kemikal na hindi nakikita doon sa e-juice pero nagkakaroon. And lo and behold, alam niyo, ‘yung mga kemikal na ‘yun ay mga cancer causing agents,” she added. 

(The manufacturers say that vapes have lower concentration but when their juices come into contact with heating elements, it results in the production of other chemicals that are not found in e-juice. Those chemicals are cancer causing agents.) 

Limpin also stressed that vapers need to acknowledge that vaping is a form of addiction, thus those who want to quit the vice should seek help from smoking cessation clinics. 


“Importante na ma-realize natin na ito ay isang addiction o isang sakit kaya kailangan tayo pumunta at humiling ng tulong doon sa mga eksperto. Huwag nating subukan pa na huminto lang on our own dahil ang chance na hindi kayo magtagumpay ay mataas,” she said.

(It is important that we realize that vaping is an addiction or a disease so we need to seek help from experts. Let's not try to stop on our own because the chance that you won't succeed is high.)

The controversial vape bill lapsed into law in 2022, providing regulations on the importation, manufacture, sale, packaging, distribution, use, and communication of vape products and novel tobacco products. 

Last month, Health Secretary Ted Herbosa said he asked the Philippine National Police (PNP) to make sure that underage individuals do not have access to vapes.

Herbosa also raised concern about the rising use of vape among the youth, stressing the health risks that nicotine poses to people, whether it is through tobacco or e-cigarettes.—RF, GMA Integrated News