Should e-cigarettes be banned along with tobacco?
After some initial encouragement to change from tobacco based cigarettes to e-cigarettes, many health bodies are now calling for e cigarettes, or vaping, to be banned in the same places that regular cigarettes are. This has opened up a debate as to whether this new generation of electronic cigarettes are a good thing to help people stop smoking, or a bad thing that encourages youngsters to smoke.
We will leave that debate to others but thought that it was worth taking a look from the perspective of our dental professionals at the Confidental Clinic in Clapham Junction.
Let us be clear, tobacco not only harms overall health but is a major factor in serious dental issues such as gum disease. By irritating the gums with the chemicals in the smoke, along with causing dry mouth symptoms, the incidence of gum disease in smokers is higher than in those who don’t. In addition to this, more serious problems like oral cancers are to be found more often in smokers too.
From this perspective then, anything that reduces the use of tobacco products can only be a good thing.
To vape or not to vape?
Whilst avoiding the more obvious issues of tobacco based smoking products, we should not, perhaps, be so confident about e-cigarettes. Those old enough will probably remember that cigarettes were once promoted as ‘healthy’ by doctors and used as a stress reliever. As we now know, this was not the case, and it is possible that the same may possibly prove to be be the case for e-cigarettes.
Whilst the majority of the ‘smoke’ created in vaping is, in effect, steam, this does still contain a number of chemicals which are used to create sufficient heat to create the vapour. The health issues surrounding these chemicals are still subject to debate. They also contain nicotine which, although not known to majorly contribute to oral health problems, is a known factor in certain heart and nervous system problems.
Although smokers may perhaps, in the short term at least, benefit in switching to vaping as opposed to smoking, we have taken the decision not to allow this practice to take place in our Clapham Junction dental surgery. Aside from any potential health issues, some vaping devices produce quite strong smells which can be offensive to some people. We would therefore ask that any patient of the Confidental Clinic please refrains from using these devices in our waiting room.
We are always happy to offer advice about smoking in relation to your oral health. Please make an appointment by calling us on 020 7801 9060.