Doctors in the UAE are witnessing an alarming trend of adolescents as young as 14 seeking emergency medical care for symptoms such as chronic cough, chest pain, and breathlessness, all attributed to e-cigarette use. Many youths are turning to vaping in attempts to alleviate the stress of academic pressure, as highlighted by Dr. Emadeldin Ibrahim, a consultant pulmonologist at Medcare Hospital Sharjah. Dr. Ibrahim recounted the case of a 14-year-old patient who had developed wheezing and classic signs of recurrent bronchitis and asthma due to e-cigarette smoking.

According to a recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 37 million tobacco users aged 13-15 globally, with e-cigarette usage surpassing that of adults in numerous countries. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, emphasized the tobacco industry's efforts to ensnare young consumers by marketing nicotine in various appealing disguises.

Dr. Mohamed Saifeldin Abdelrahaman Mohamed, a specialist pulmonologist at Thumbay University Hospital, shared the case of a 15-year-old with a history of asthma who succumbed to e-cigarette smoking enticed by enticing flavors, resulting in severe lung inflammation and infection known as acute eosinophilic pneumonia. The boy required intensive therapy to rectify the damage caused by e-cigarette use.

The WHO report shed light on the tactics employed by e-cigarette producers to allure youngsters, such as the use of designs resembling toys and incorporation of high-tech elements, enabling discreet usage even in prohibited areas. Moreover, the enticing fragrances and flavors of e-cigarettes have been identified as major draw factors for young users, paralleling the observations of UAE-based experts.

Despite the perception of e-cigarettes being safer than traditional cigarettes, Dr. Mohamed emphasized that their usage poses grave health risks, recounting cases of young patients experiencing prolonged coughing, respiratory issues, and even coughing up blood as a result of vaping. Dr. Emadeldin echoed these concerns, citing instances of unexplained chest pains and severe infections in young e-cigarette users.

Dr. Mohamed stressed the pivotal roles of parents and schools in combatting this predicament, advocating for open and honest conversations about the dangers of e-cigarettes and the incorporation of comprehensive education on this topic in school curriculums.