The Truth about Electronic Cigarettes
Recently, there has been a lot of controversy over Electronic cigarettes, or E-cigs. Using e-cigs is also called “vaping” as they do not actually produce smoke. They originated in China and have quickly spread all over the world. Those who are marketing these alternative smokes are claiming that they are safe compared to regular cigarettes. However, are they really good for your health? How safe are they?
- Fact #1: They are far from being free from the nicotine that is found in regular cigarettes. While they do not contain tobacco, in many cases they still contain highly addictive nicotine. The levels of nicotine found in these electronic cigarettes depend upon the liquid cartridge that is found in each. While some people claim that there is no nicotine to be found at all, research has shown that this is not always true–even if the package claims that the e-cig is nicotine free. More so, liquid nicotine is more toxic than the dust found in regular cigarettes, so users should take care when smoking. Death is a possibility if this is ingested or comes into contact with the skin.
Fact #2: Electronic Cigarettes may help smokers to quit smoking regular cigarettes. Some smokers may not want to quit smoking entirely but are still concerned about the harmful effects of regular cigarettes. To them, electronic cigarettes provide a less harmful option. While they do contain fewer carcinogens than traditional cigarettes, they are not without risks. They also can work to help a smoker quit smoking over time because different nicotine amounts are available; a smoker can choose to gradually step down on consuming nicotine, much like using the patch or gum.
- Fact #3: They do cause lung damage. It is true that they do not produce smoke that burns your lungs. However, they diminish lung function, cause cellular changes, and create airway resistance. These have all been reported in patients who use electronic cigarettes. Even more, lab results have discovered that the cells which are exposed to electronic cigarette vapor are showing similar unhealthy changes to those exposed to tobacco smoke.
- Fact #4: Nicotine free electronic cigarettes have been found to have less carcinogens than traditional cigarettes. This means that both contain harmful ingredients, but e-cigarettes have less of them. More so, electronic cigarettes are not yet completely regulated by the FDA; this means that what they contain is up to the manufacturer. There is little to no regulation for what they say a person is consuming compared to what they are actually consuming.
- Fact #5: The liquid nicotine found in electronic cigarettes restricts the blood flow in your mouth and reduces the production of saliva. Inhaling nicotine inhibits your saliva production and leads to dry mouth, which can cause several dental issues. Without saliva, bacteria, sugars, and acids are left sitting on your teeth; this causes decay or even periodontal disease. Finally, nicotine can restrict blood flow and constrict the blood vessels, which raises blood pressure.
- Fact #6: Electronic cigarettes can lead to gingivitis or periodontal disease. The nicotine in electronic cigarettes inhibits your saliva productions, which in turn leads to dry mouth. This significantly effects a person’s development of gingivitis, periodontal disease, and decay. Also, nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, which means that when blood is restricted from the gum tissue, your white blood cells cannot fight off bacterial infections. Additionally, less oxygen is being supplied by the red blood cells.
- Fact #7: Electronic cigarettes cause a bad odor in your mouth. E-cigs dry out your mouth, which causes bad breath when there is no saliva to wash away the harmful bacteria that is present.
- Fact #8: Electronic cigarettes are toxic. Traditional cigarettes contain about 7000 chemicals, of which 69 are known to possibly cause cancer. While e-cigs do have fewer chemicals, liquid nicotine is still extremely harmful.
- Fact #9: Electronic cigarettes produce second-hand smoke, just as regular cigarettes do. The vapor that is emitted from an electronic cigarette does contain nicotine. Thankfully, the nicotine emitted from an e-cig is ten times less than that of a regular cigarette.
It is important to know all about the things we put inside our body. Although there is still much information that is not known about electronic cigarettes, we do know that they are not regulated by the FDA. So they can be even more dangerous than we know. Some people say that electronic cigarettes can help smokers quit smoking or that they are at least a safer alternative to regular cigarettes. We believe at this time that there are safer options for quitting. We are thankful however that the nicotine emitted from an e-cig is ten times less than that of traditional cigarettes.