E-cigarettes: a safer alternative?

The use of e-cigarettes is one of the newest and most popular trends today.  Unlike traditional cigarettes, e-cigs are battery-operated and produce a chemical filled aerosol by a heating of the liquid.  E—cigarettes are commonly known as “e-cigs,” “mods” or “vape pens.”  E-cigarettes resemble regular cigarettes, pens, or USB sticks.

This video is a perfect example of how e-cigarettes are portrayed in the media.  Below are some common myths that are “debunked” after thorough research.

Myth: E-cigarettes are a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes

Fact: E-cigs contain fewer toxins, but they are not harmless.  E-cigs still contain nicotine, which is highly addictive and can negatively affect the human body.  These effects include elevated heart rate and blood pressure, airway inflammation, impaired immunological response and decreased lung function.  Aside from nicotine, e-cigarettes also contain harmful toxins such as lead and cancer-causing agents. Consumers are misled to believe that e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes.

Myth: E-cigarettes are a proven method for smoking cessation

Fact: There is little evidence that e-cigarettes lead to cessation.  In fact, the nicotine in e-cigs may perpetuate nicotine addiction, making it harder to quit for some consumers.  Many users find e-cigs to be less satisfying than traditional cigarettes, leading to dual usage, increased and constant vaping.

Myth: E-cigarettes are used exclusively by people trying to quit smoking

Fact:“Vaping” is becoming increasing popular with adolescents, including those who had never smoked cigarettes.  Studies have shown that the majority of young people begin smoking traditional cigarettes only after vaping.

More facts:

  • Nicotine affects brain development in young adults
  • E-cigs are not FDA approved
  • There is no evidence that e-cigarettes are safe
  • 20.8% of high school students are actively vaping

BOTTOM LINE & RECOMMENDATIONS

Yes, e-cigs are less harmful than traditional cigarettes.  However, there is no evidence that they are “safe.”  Cigarette smoking has been the leading cause of preventable deaths in the US.  Anti-smoking campaigns have reduced the number of traditional cigarette smokers.  In the future, e-cigarettes should be implemented into these campaigns so that consumers are not falsely lead to believe that they are safe by the media.  Consumers should do their own research on the topic before deciding to begin smoking.

References

E-Cigarettes: What You Should Know. (2015). Consumer Reports on Health27(12), 9. Retrieved from http://library.neit.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ccm&AN=110405911&site=ehost-live

GIBSON-YOUNG, L. M. (2018). JUULING: What kids don’t know will hurt them. Contemporary Pediatrics35(6), 5–39. Retrieved from http://library.neit.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ccm&AN=130143167&site=ehost-live

Sherry, J. S., Blackstad, N. M., & Wheatley, K. S. (2017). E Cigarettes, Vaping and Chairside Education. RDH37(1), 45–52. Retrieved from http://library.neit.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ccm&AN=120590633&site=ehost-live

Zborovskaya, Y. (2017). E-Cigarettes and Smoking Cessation. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 21(1), 54–63. https://library.neit.edu:2404/10.1188/17.CJON.54-63

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