Many people agree that smoking cigarettes are harmful, but what about smoking e-cigarettes? Isn’t it just flavored water vapor without all the toxic cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco products?
The short answer is NO.
The science behind vaping
E-cigarette emissions are not just water vapor.
It includes chemicals that heated result in high levels of toxic compounds that can be lethal if inhaled or ingested. Formaldehyde is one thermal product.
What’s alarming is that specific flavors that are proven safe when eaten in food have not been shown to be safe when inhaled. Some contain diacetyl that gives butter popcorn its flavor which has been found to cause lung irritation and respiratory illness in employees that worked in popcorn factories.
In fact, these chemicals haven’t been tested sufficiently to rule out long-term side effects.
Lack of quality measures
Most short-term side-effects are the result of manufacturing problems.
- The design of the devices that holds the e-juice is not regulated.
- Devices can cause burns since the lithium-ion battery can explode if charged inappropriately.
- The most significant concern is child poisoning since liquid nicotine whether ingested or absorbed through the skin can be lethal to a small child.
There is no childproofing on e-cigarette packaging.
Although regulation of manufacturing and quality control will help resolve most of these issues, the lack of consensus among scientists regarding the long-term health effects of electronic cigarettes creates obstacles for the US government to implement a public policy to deal with e-cigarettes use in open spaces. But most research indicates that since the effects of second-hand electronic cigarette smoke are unknown, it’s best not to smoke indoors, yet many people using e-cigarettes smoke indoors since it’s permissible on some airlines, restaurants, and offices.
Better than smoking tobacco?
Supporters of e-cigarettes say there is no tar with all the carcinogenic chemicals and it offers nicotine smokers nicotine without the deadly toxins released when cigarettes are heated.
The key comparison is to smoking and just because the known risks so far are less than smoking tobacco doesn’t make e-cigarettes a good alternative to quit smoking.
Supporters even claim that e-cigarettes help save lives and provide immense benefit to public health by assisting smokers to quit tobacco but downplayed the research findings on degradation by-products, the chemicals released when the e-juice that contains the nicotine is heated up.
Can it help you quit smoking?
A literature review of the use of e-cigarettes in the United States focuses on the debate that they help smokers quit yet it has no hard data to support that claim.
Studies indicate that e-cigarettes are not as helpful as nicotine patches when it comes to quitting. And often e-cigarette users are dual tobacco smoke users.
Regardless of your side on this issue, keep this product away from children!
E-cigarettes haven’t been around for us to know about the long-term health effects, it might be harmless or 20 years from now we will see a spike in lung cancer.
And because it’s less harmful does not mean that it is safe.
(Cheri) Marcham, C. L., & Springston, J. (. (2017). E-Cigarettes: A Hazy Hazard. Professional Safety, 62(6), 46.
Cobb, N. K., & Sonti, R. (2016). E-Cigarettes: The Science Behind the Smoke and Mirrors. Respiratory Care, 61(8), 1122-1128. doi:10.4187/respcare.04944
Cressey, D. (2014). E-cigarettes: The lingering questions. Nature, 513(7516), 24-26. doi:10.1038/513024a