Unregulated advertising, enticing flavours and easy access are contributing to the rise of e-cigarette usage in South Africa, the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS) says.
Teenagers who use e-cigarettes are twice as likely to start smoking tobacco, according to new research.
Up to 500 000 people have started using e-cigarettes in South Africa and the number is rapidly increasing, according to NCAS executive director Savera Kalideen.
Kalideen says e-cigarettes are currently not regulated under existing legalisation in the same manner as combustible cigarettes.
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has made commitments to regulate e-cigarettes under law.
Kalideen explains that the reduced amount of nicotine in e-cigarettes does not mean they are harmless.
The vapours [in e-cigarettes] have chemicals and toxins in them which researchers says causes problems with the respiratory system, arteries and problems that can lead to lung cancer and heart disease.— Savera Kalideen, Executive Director at National Council Against Smoking
They are less harmful than cigarettes, but they are not harmless.— Savera Kalideen, Executive Director at National Council Against Smoking
Take a listen to Savera Kalideen on the harms and health effects: