Vaper’s Lung – The Disease That Will Never Be, I Hope

There was an interesting article two days ago in the online Manawatu Standard titled: ‘Government legalises e-cigarettes in effort to make New Zealand smokefree by 2025.’

Why 2025? Because this is a nice round figure? Why not sooner, say, 2019? Apart from the date by which the New Zealand government is trying to achieve this noble goal, it’s planning to do it, not in the obvious way by banning tobacco, but by legalising e-cigarettes.

What the New Zealand government hopes will happen, it seems, is that smokers will give up smoking or, if people haven’t yet started to smoke, they won’t, and, as a substitute for inhaling tobacco fumes, everybody who is desirous of ‘using’ nicotine will from 2025 do it with e-cigarettes instead.

The thinking goes that to save lives what is needed is a safe, or at any rate a safer, way of taking nicotine into your body. And keep taking nicotine into your body. Like many times a day, every day for years on end. Because this is what vapers, as they are known, do, or what a large number of them do.

A link from the venerable Manawatu Standard’s page leads to another site ( from a year ago where the questions ‘How safe are e-cigarettes and can they really help someone quit smoking?’ are posed and then answered thus:

Long-term safety studies are needed, but [this]…will take decades, during which time there is the potential for many thousands of smokers to be deterred from trying something that might help them to quit.

Why do they write as if nicotine in some form or other is a normal consumer product which it would be a hardship to do without? Why does anyone in their right mind need to use nicotine at all? Will somebody please tell me.

If smokers want to quit, why don’t they just quit? Why do they need ‘something that might help them’ to do this? Why is it implied that smokers are helplessly in the grip of their addiction and can’t do anything about it except grasp at straws?

The article continues:

If e-cigarettes are genuinely going to have a chance at replacing tobacco smoking, they need to provide nicotine in a similar way to regular cigarettes.

Why does tobacco smoking need to be replaced? Whence comes the idea that smokers are in the infantile position of being incapable of quitting unless they have an alternative to or substitute for regular cigarettes? What about not smoking and not using nicotine at all?

Could one of the reasons that smokers seem to find it so hard to quit be because articles like these encourage them in such a belief?

The same concern is expressed from Australia by Dr Colin Mendelsohn – about whom I’ll have more to say in a later post – who thinks smokers should be treated with nicotine before they even try to quit (‘pre-quit’).

Dr Mendelsohn laments that ‘the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration’s recent interim decision (it has since been confirmed) to effectively ban nicotine-containing e-cigarettes is a harsh blow to smokers,’ and that ‘Australian smokers will be denied access to life-saving technology estimated to have helped millions of smokers to quit overseas.’

If smokers whose lives are in danger from smoking want to avoid dying from this cause, all they have to do is to stop smoking (unless they’ve left it too late). Why does Dr Mendelsohn apparently think so many smokers are incapable of quitting unless they use more nicotine?

It’s not as if e-cigarettes are used for a few weeks (at most) as a treatment for smoking and when a cure is achieved the e-cigarettes are abandoned. What happens with many smokers is that they switch to e-cigarettes and continue their nicotine addiction in this way indefinitely.

E-cigarettes do not only contain nicotine. They also contain propylene glycol, flavourings, tobacco-specific nitrosamines, carbonyl compounds, trace amounts of metals, volatile organic compounds, and phenolic compounds. Many of these are potentially poisonous. The effects of inhaling such substances in e-cigarette vapour repeatedly every day for years or decades are unknown but it would not be surprising if vaping were to be found to cause serious lung, heart, and other health problems. I hope that a disease that might be called vaper’s lung will never occur – but it could.

To allow the experiment of e-cigarettes to be foisted on the public is not only unnecessary but irresponsible.

Text © Gabriel Symonds

Gabriel Symonds

Dr Gabriel Symonds is a British medical doctor living in Japan who has developed a unique interactive stop smoking method. It involves no nicotine, drugs, hypnosis, or gimmicks but consists in helping smokers to demonstrate to themselves why they really smoke and why it seems so hard to stop doing it. Then most people find they can quit straightaway and without a struggle. He has used this approach successfully with hundreds of smokers; it works equally well for vapers. Dr Symonds also writes about transgenderism and other controversial medical matters. See

mitkov - 23 July 2018 Reply

I’ve been smoking an electronic cigarette for more than two and a half years, and I feel as I was 30 years ago, so anyone who thinks she’s gonna give up smoking using the electic cigarette is rushed to refuse, but I can I say I do not take carbon dioxide and tar, which is the important goal of everyone who abandoned the standard cigarette ..I can also add that in order to stop smoking, one must first eradicate the rooted habits and so the electronic cigarette can do this

    Gabriel Symonds - 28 July 2018 Reply

    It may be that e-cigarettes are safer than combustible cigarettes, but why do you apparently wish to go on putting nicotine into your body for years on end? Does it have some advantage or give you real pleasure? If you go about it the right way it is easy to quit all forms of nicotine completely and permanently. I should be happy to demonstrate this to you. See the Symonds Method page.

C. B. - 16 January 2022 Reply

Where is the harm from ingesting or using nicotine? The brain has nicotine receptors for utilizing gasp nicotine! People are born with them! Many people find a benefit from using nicotine as I do.

    Gabriel Symonds - 16 January 2022 Reply

    The term ‘nicotinic receptor’ is merely a name used for convenience in describing one of two types of acetylcholine receptor found in the central and peripheral nervous systems; the other is called muscarinic. This does not mean that exogenous nicotine has a place in normal human neurochemistry. Muscarine, likewise, is a chemical found in certain mushrooms and can be poisonous.

    The main harm of using nicotine, at least in the forms in which it is commonly taken into the body (smoking and vaping), is that it is addictive. That is why most nicotine users take repeated doses throughout every day for years on end or even their whole lives.

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