Are Electronic Cigarette Safer Than Smoking Tobacco Cigarette?

By: Mike Mozart

The use of electronic cigarettes has been a debatable topic in the media on being a safer alternative than smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes also called e-cigarettes were first licensed in China in 2003 and launched in 2007 in North America (Smith, Brar, Enja, & Lippmann, 2016). Many companies who sold this device largely advertise placing aids on the internet (Rom, Pecorelli, Valacchi, & Reznick, 2015). Cooperation’s selling e-cigarette, claim to be a healthier alternative and to help quit smoking traditional cigarette (Rom, Pecorelli, Valacchi, & Reznick, 2015). Since the launch of electronic cigarettes there are mixed views in the media and scholar research studies on this topic. Many media reports stated that e-cigarettes are safer due to less toxins such as a tar, however other media reports argue that electronic cigarettes are just as bad for you as traditional cigarette. With mixed views in the media on this topic it may be difficult to determine what is fact and what is fiction. It’s important to look at scholarly research articles when considering using e-cigarette.

What is Electronic cigarette?

A battery operated device that heats liquid that may contain nicotine and produces a vaporization of the liquid in which you inhale (About Electronic Cigarettes, n.d.).

What does electronic cigarette look like?

By: Sarah Johnson

There are many different styles of e-cigarettes.
Few examples are:
1. May look like a pen
2. Resemble traditional cigarettes
3. May also look like a USB stick
(About Electronic Cigarettes, n.d.).

What does the media say?

  • This video states that e-cigarettes are less dangerous than traditional tobacco cigarette.
  • Reported that since the launch of using electronic cigarettes, the use of smoking traditional cigarettes has decreased for students in high school.
  • Discussed using electronic cigarettes to help someone quit smoking traditional cigarettes. However, stated the importance of using e-cigarettes from reputable companies versus generic brand due to the possibility of products being altered.

(CGTN America, 2019).

  • This video compares two different research studies.
  • One experiment study stated that electronic cigarettes are safer than traditional tobacco smoking. Two jars were compared, 1 jar with traditional tobacco cigarettes and the other jar using e-cigarettes. The jar using traditional tobacco cigarettes found extensive amount of tar exposure, however the electronic cigarettes appears not to have much exposure noted. This experiment was to compare the risk of cancer. This experiment study reported to be approximately 98-99% safer when comparing the risk of cancer.
  • However, second research study reported using electronic cigarette is just as bad. This study exposed rats to e-cigarettes for 8 months and found increased risk of vascular disease (problems related to veins and arteries), which can increase an individual’s chances of a heart attack and stroke.

(CBS This Morning, 2019).

  • Reports using e-cigarette decrease risk of cancer between 56-97% when comparing to smoke traditional tobacco cigarettes.
  • States the importance of eliminating smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes and using e-cigarettes instead to see benefits.
  • Conclude, e-cigarettes are safer to use, however states the unknown of long-term effects.

(WCCO-CBS Minnesota, 2017)

Comparing journal articles from media post

First journal article analyzed was published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences written by Rom, Pecorelli, Valacchi, and Reznick (2015) compared e-cigarettes and smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes. This article aimed to determine if e-cigarettes are less harmful and help an individual quit smoking traditional tobacco cigarette (Rom, Pecorelli, Valacchi, & Reznick, 2015). However, this study concluded increased probability on an individual becoming dependent on nicotine (Rom, Pecorelli, Valacchi, & Reznick, 2015).  This journal article was unable to conclude a decline in smoking and stated the unknown long-term side effects on using this device (Rom, Pecorelli, Valacchi, & Reznick, 2015). When comparing this article from the media, it does not support using electronic cigarettes as a way to help an individual quit smoking nor does it say this device is a safer alternative.

By: Vaping360

Second journal article looked at was published in The Journal of Family Practice aim to determine whether using e-cigarettes are safe (Smith, Brar, Enja, & Lippmann, 2016).This journal article points out the un-known mixture in the liquid in many different e-cigarette devices, which can cause potential harm (Smith, Brar, Enja, & Lippmann, 2016). It was found that some e-cigarettes contain more nicotine than a traditional tobacco cigarette (Smith, Brar, Enja, & Lippmann, 2016). This article did not find evidence on the benefits of using this device to help quit smoking traditional tobacco cigarette (Smith, Brar, Enja, & Lippmann, 2016). However, evidence showed an individual who uses electronic cigarettes attempted to quit smoking more (Smith, Brar, Enja, & Lippmann, 2016). Lastly, this journal article reports an increase in harm effects of using both e-cigarettes and traditional tobacco cigarettes at the same time due to an increased exposure to the toxins (Smith, Brar, Enja, & Lippmann, 2016). Comparing this journal article from the media post, it continues not to support using e-cigarettes as a safe alternative.

Third article analyzed was published in International journal of environmental research and public health by Jankowski, Krzystanek, Zejda, Majek, Lubanski, Lawson, Brozek (2019) conducted research study on the of effects of using e-cigarettes and traditional tobacco cigarettes in young adults. This study concluded that numerous participants who started using e-cigarettes originally started using it to attempt to stop smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes (Jankowski et al., 2019). This research study analyzes and categorizes a group of 30 people as dual users (smoking regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes), cigarette smokers, and e-cigarette smokers (Jankowski et al., 2019). The journal article concluded individuals who smoke e-cigarettes had increased dependence on smoking (Jankowski et al., 2019). This study also found that individuals who smoke e-cigarettes are twice as likely to become addicted to nicotine as an individual who smokes regular cigarettes (Jankowski et al., 2019). Lastly, when comparing this journal article in what you see in the media and previous journal article analyzed it concluded an increase in dependence in nicotine (Jankowski et al., 2019).

By: Lindsay Fox

The takeaway

Electronic cigarettes are a fairly new device. It’s still early to tell what the potential long-term effects are. When determining if electronic cigarette are safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes, it is important to be aware of the unknown side effects. Some media posts reported that the use of e-cigarettes is less harmful and decreased the risk of smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes. However, all three journal articles analyzed and concluded an increased dependency on nicotine and does not recommend using electronic cigarettes as a safe alternative. It’s important to note that continued research on this topic is required.


About Electronic Cigarettes (n.d), Retrieved from

CBS This Morning. (2019, September 20). What the science says about the safety of e-cigarettes [Video file]. Retrieved from

CGTN America. (2019, September 19). What does the media say? Is vaping still safer than smoking tobacco? Professor Brad Rodu explains [Video file]. Retrieved from

Jankowski, M., Krzystanek, M., Zejda, J. E., Majek, P., Lubanski, J., Lawson, J. A., & Brozek,    G. (2019). E-Cigarettes are More Addictive than Traditional Cigarettes-A Study in Highly Educated Young People. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(13), 2279. doi:10.3390/ijerph16132279

Rom, O., Pecorelli, A., Valacchi, G., & Reznick, A. Z. (2015). Are E-cigarettes a safe and good   alternative to cigarette smoking? Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1340(1),  65–74.

Smith, L., Brar, K., Srinivasan, K., Enja, M., & Lippmann, S. (2016). E-cigarettes: How “safe” are they? The Journal Of Family Practice, 65(6), 380–385. Retrieved from direct=true&db=cmedm&AN=27474819&site=e host-live

WCCO-CBS Minnesota. (2017, February 7). Study: E-Cigarettes Safer Than Regular Cigarettes [Video file]. Retrieved from