It’s safer to jump out of a window five stories high, than jumping out of a window twenty stories high. That doesn’t make it safe to jump out of a window.
Islamic Shari’ah forbids humans from using things that can harm them directly or indirectly; immediately or gradually that can lead to death, damage the body, result in dangerous illnesses or harm the mind.
Prophet Muhammad told us: “The son of Adam will not pass away from Allah until he is asked about five things: how he lived his life, and how he utilized his youth, with what means did he earn his wealth, how did he spend his wealth, and what did he do with his knowledge.” (Tirmidhi).
Hence, according to Islam, your health is God’s gift to you. Shari’ah prevents you from harming this gift with reckless actions like vaping.
Both Islam and science agree that e-cigs are detrimental to health. A small study finds e-smokers might risk different types of lung and vascular disease. Andrew Masterson of CosmosMagazine reports.
The contention that e-cigarettes represent a safe form of nicotine consumption has taken a blow. A study found that their use may trigger unique immune responses. That’s in addition to producing the same potentially lung-damaging outcomes associated with conventional cigarettes.
The small study – which the authors concede has significant limitations – is published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
Researchers led by pathologist Mehmet Kesimer of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in the US took sputum samples from 15 e-cigarette users, 14 smokers and 15 non-smokers.
The e-cigarette and standard cigarette user cohorts both showed increased levels of at least two biomarkers – thioredoxin (TXN), and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP9) – associated with oxidative stress and defence mechanisms linked to lung disease.
Both groups also returned significant measures of a mucus secretion called mucin 5AC. Asthma and bronchitis lead to high levels of this mucus.
The e-cigarette users, however, also showed high levels of two additional proteins, from a class called neutrophils. These play a role in fighting pathogens. But in case of excess production, patients may suffer lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis.
One of these proteins – called a neutrophil-extracellular-trap-related protein – was also found outside e-smokers’ lungs. In these locations, the scientists have found damaged tissues surrounding blood vessels and organs. This case can develop serious conditions such as vasculitis and psoriasis.
“There is confusion about whether e-cigarettes are ‘safer’ than cigarettes because the potential adverse effects of e-cigarettes are only beginning to be studied,” says Kesimer.
“Our results suggest that e-cigarettes might be just as bad as cigarettes.” Kesimer’s team write that the value of the findings is small, because 12 members of the e-cigarette cohort said they had smoked traditional cigarettes in the past.
Nevertheless, the study results are sufficient to both raise the alarm and point towards new targets for investigation. “Comparing the harm of e-cigarettes with cigarettes is a little like comparing apples to oranges,” says Kesimer.
“Our data shows that e-cigarettes have a signature of harm in the lung that is both similar and unique. This challenges the concept that switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes is a healthier alternative.”
E-cigarette uptake is surging, largely driven by the assumption that it is safe. In 2016, the US Surgeon General reported that in the previous five years e-cigs had increased by 900% among high school students.