Are Electronic Cigarettes Safe?


E-cigarettes were first introduced in the year of 2007 in US to cut throat the smoker’s habit which were impacting their health when they consumed cigarettes with nicotine. Now, the popularity of this concept is growing and the opinions are coming out that whether electronic cigarettes are safe or not. As, more people started consuming it so it might have long term impact.

Many concerns have arisen during these years with the growing popularity of e-cigarettes. Many people are consuming it and they don’t know the effects of it. So, this knowledge gap and the effects of e-cigarettes are concerning health experts. There are many issues combined with the e-cigarettes concept nowadays. Whether the type of ingredients used in e-cigarettes or how e-cigarettes are marketed, people are becoming more concerned about the devices.

Now, this totally shifts the spotlight on the e-cigarettes as if at all you are worried then you should know the effects of the e-cigarettes whether you use it or not.

1 About the E-Cigarettes

When we look precisely we should know what the things are which makes e-cigarettes dangerous for our health. Generally, all kind of e-cigarette device contains an atomizer, battery, cartridge and mouthpiece. The cartridge has the nicotine liquid solution in it which is heated and vaporized by the atomizer. Once the liquid solution is vaporized, user can inhale it as if he is mimicking the process of smoking. The solution which is present in the cartridge has different concentrations of nicotine in it, from no nicotine to the higher concentrations.

There was a report published last year by the Centers for Disease control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that the e-cigarettes related calls in the US poison centers increased drastically over 5 years. Initially, there was a single call in month, but now they receive 215 calls per month.

Dr. Tom Freiden, director of the CDC stated that the liquid nicotine which is present in the e-cigarettes can be hazardous. Also, there are the defenders of this device who says that the calls received by the poison centers are the cases of the children aged 5 years or under, so the devices are intended for adults not for the minors.

After investigation, investigators stated that the child poisoning was all due to the direct contact with the nicotine present in the cartridge. So, the direct contact can be made through the inhalation, exposure of the liquid to the skin or eyes, or ingestion.

Dr. Freiden said that “Use of these products is skyrocketing and these poisonings will continue.” “E-cigarette liquids as currently sold are a threat to small children because they are not required to be childproof, and they come in candy and fruit flavors that are appealing to children”

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have regulated the e-cigarette manufacturers to market the product as therapeutic. Also, last year FDA has announced a proposal that extends the tobacco regulation to include all the e-cigarettes to meet the legal definition of the tobacco product. So, this will restrict the promoters to advertise the product, especially the campaigns which are attracting the youth. But, this proposal is not yet finalized, and the health experts are still concerning about the usage of the e-cigarettes. So, consumers will have to wait for the set of measures which are used as the liquid in the cartridge.

2 Substances used in E-Cigarettes

Now, when you go to the deep of the picture, you still don’t know what are the chemicals used in e-cigarettes as the liquid solution. You still don’t know what will be their long term effects. Still manufacturers are claiming that the usage of such devices is safe but there are many questions which have been raised on their assumptions. The FDA has analyzed the samples of two e-cigarettes from two popular brands. They found the traces of nicotine which is not at all surprising, but they also found some traces of toxic chemicals such as carcinogens which cause cancers. They also found some traces of acetaldehyde and formaldehyde.

After this research, the FDA has issued a warning about the damages that can be done after consuming e-cigarettes. Also, there was a study conducted by the researchers of the University of South California, they found the vapor produced by the e-cigarettes contains toxic levels of metals which is far greater than the traditional cigarettes.

So, the researchers believe that the metal particles such as nickel and chromium are most likely came from the cartridge of the e-cigarette, so they suggested for the better manufacturing of the device. There was another study which suggested that the usage of e-cigarette affects the antimicrobial defenses of the lungs in the mice. This study was criticized that the effects were compared with the mice not with the human beings. Finally, the researchers also stated that the nicotine used in the e-cigarettes can cause the cells to mutate which is the precursor to cancer.

So, the authors have concluded that the long consumption of nicotine can cause cancer and the risk to the genes but the nicotine itself is not harmful. When compared to the traditional cigarette which contains tobacco tar and harmful chemicals when they are burnt, it is safer to use e-cigarette.

3 Are E-Cigarettes is a restriction to the smoking habit or another way of consuming tobacco?

This is the main argument in the support of the e-cigarettes and simultaneously their selling point often used in the marketing, that it helps people to quit smoking. This benefit means that there are some risks in using e-cigarettes, which is far better to use them then compared with the traditional cigarettes. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), it is unclear that the e-cigarettes are smoking cessation aids.

Although Cochrane review, says that this helps people to quit smoking. And, the researchers also encouraged the Cochrane review. But, some public health experts that the use of the devices will act as gateway for the youths to consume traditional cigarette.

This fear has grown due to the increase in marketing that appeal adolescents. Also, a study has proved that the exposure of the e-cigarettes on the television to young adults has risen to 321% in the year span of 2011-2013.

Simultaneously, the CDC have proved that the usage of the devices have rose among the high school and middle school students in US and also for the minors who can acquire it easily from Internet. But, Dr. Tom Frieden says that the long consumption of nicotine can make the adults habituated with the nicotine and traditional cigarettes.

However, many antismoking groups say that there are fall in smoking rates when the concept of the e-cigarettes are launched. But, the Mayo Clinic have suggested that there are many other substances which can be consumed from the perspective of the FDA which can help people in order toquit smoking until the effects are clear.

4 Lack of evidence on E-Cigarettes

So, in the nutshell it is clear that there is lack of robust evidence which resulted in the debate with the users and the researchers who wants to hinder the use of e-cigarettes. Policy makers who banned the usage of e-cigarettes in no smoking areas are criticized that the devices are safe. And the manufactures who are promoting the devices as smoking cessation aids are criticized that they are unable to prove their efficacy.

So, the e-cigarettes are safer to use when they are compared with the conventional cigarettes but they have some unknown risk involved when they are consumed. So, it is recommended that the path is still unclear whether the e-cigarettes are completely safe or not. So, it’s better to quit smoking especially for the people who have lungs diseases.

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