There is no need to mention the negative effects that smoking has on our health. Although it would be much better and easier to give up smoking it is not that simple to overcome an addiction and we prefer to replace it with a new one, hoping that it is less harmful. This thing happens with E-cigarette, seen as a way to smoke healthy without contaminating us with carcinogens. Is it e-smoking really healthier than regular smoking? Are they really harmful?
An e-cigarette or an electronic cigarette provides us nicotine through an aerosol and not through smoke, as it happens with the tobacco cigarette. The cartridge of an e-cigarette contains a liquid solution that is made of propylene, glycerol, water, glycol, nicotine, flavors, and other chemicals. Using a vaporizer, the liquid solution turns into an aerosol. Smokers concerned about the negative effects of tobacco cigarettes turned their attention to e-smoking and nowadays we see more than 460 brands on the market only in the United States.
People use e-cigarettes because they hope it will be easier this way to quit smoking. Some of them combine e-smoking with tobacco smoking, being happy that they manage to reduce the number of cigarettes smoked daily. The safety of using e-cigarette draws more attention since the FDA declared it would begin to regulate them, along with flavored cigars and hookah tobacco. This raises hope for health protection organizations that the prevention of tobacco-related diseases will grow significantly, especially because new rules prevent children and teens to use e-cigarettes.
The ingredients from e-cigarettes
Before replacing tobacco smoking with e-cigarettes, it is good to know exactly what are you getting yourself into. Therefore, it is important to know what the ingredients from an electronic cigarette are and how it can affect your health. The main ingredients of an e-cigarette is the liquid from the cartridges, which is nicotine extracted from tobacco and mixed with a base. This base usually is propylene glycol, but can also contain colorings, flavorings and other chemicals. It is true that some manufacturers claim they don’t use nicotine in their cartridges, but the FDA lab tests from 2009 found that even the cartridges labeled as free of nicotine had level of the addictive substance.
Unfortunately, nicotine is not a safe substance and has different negative effects, as different studies show. Along with nicotine, an electronic cigarette may contain different chemicals, such as flavorings and substances with carcinogen effects. According to a study conducted in 2014, aerosol from e-cigarettes that has a higher voltage levels contains more formaldehyde, which can lead to cancer. The composition of electronic cigarettes draw the attention of more and more people concerned about their health.
Studies regarding the ingredients from e-cigarettes change some users’ opinion about the safety of e-smoking, especially since people who prefer it hoped that it is less harmful for their bodies. If contains harmful ingredients that could affect our health, there is only one solution – to quit smoking permanently, both tobacco and e-smoking. This is the only way we can be sure we protect our health and prevent the appearance of smoke-related diseases.
If the ingredients from electronic cigarettes are not too harmful for you, researchers show that the harmful effects of e-smoking is not determined only by the ingredients from e-cigarettes, but also by the changes, these ingredients suffer through heat. Compounds from liquid will change and become harmful for our health. However, we don’t know much about the effects that e-smoking can have on our body on long term, but research show that short-term effects are not as harmful as in the case of smoking tobacco. Although it is better for our health not to be smokers, it seems that for some smokers, electronic smoking help them quit regular smoking.
Changes made by the FDA regarding e-cigarettes
There are different changes people expect from the FDA concerning producing and selling e-cigarettes. Since it is extremely important to protect teenagers from becoming addicted to nicotine, retailers won’t be allowed to sell e-cigarettes to any person under the age of 18. Also, they have to ask for an ID before selling e-cigarettes to persons under the age of 26. As current studies show, there could be harmful chemical substances in the vapor produced of e-cigarettes. More research is needed to know exactly what are the long-term effects of e-cigarettes on one’s health. According to the information available so far, they could be less harmful than the use of traditional tobacco, but there are not 100% safe.
With the efforts of the FDA, there is hope that fewer children will try to smoke and become addicted to nicotine. The list of FDA new regulations also includes analyzing the substances used in the manufacturing of e-cigarettes. Regulating the e-liquid is a big change, since e-cigarettes are available for almost a decade ago. Those who manufactures e-cigarettes and lunch their products after February 15, 2007, must register with the FDA and apply for approval. In order to get their products approved, they have to offer information about the ingredients they use, the process of manufacturing, as well as about the safety and emissions.
Unfortunately, small manufacturers mix their liquids without taking into consideration any restriction. Because now they have to spend hundreds of thousands dollars for applications, they are definitely unhappy with the new FDA regulations, but the consumers may consider it a good change. Luckily, for the manufacturers, they can continue to sell their products for two year while they wait their products to be approved.
These are not the only changes we will see thanks to the new FDA regulations. Now manufacturers must put health warnings labels on e-cigarettes and other tobacco products. Such warnings will include information about the nicotine effects, including addiction. Starting with August 2016, minors won’t be able to buy e-cigarettes, which is a good thing. This is the first new regulation you can notice, because the other ones need time before they will be implemented. Hopefully, with the new regulations, we won’t see toxins, such as Diacetyl and Acetyl Propionyl in e-cigarettes. These are ingredients with serious negative effects when used in e-cigarettes.
With all these new regulations, FDA says that e-smoking is not as harmful as tobacco smoking. However, we need to remember that e-smoking involves the use of nicotine, which is an addictive substance, along with other chemicals that are not 100% safe.
Can e-cigarettes help us quit smoking?
Most of the people who are e-smokers used to smoke tobacco cigarettes and oriented to electronic-cigarettes because they hope it will help them get rid of their nicotine addiction. Others don’t necessarily want to quit smoking at all, but hope that e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco cigarettes. Depending on one’s preferences and level of addiction, some smokers prefer electronic smoking because it seems to be less harsh than cigarettes and is available in multiple flavors. You can use e-cigarettes with different flavors, such as menthol, vanilla, mango, chocolate, or coconut.
It is hard to tell if e-cigarettes help you quit smoking, because you replace the nicotine from tobacco with liquid nicotine. So, you continue to use nicotine, but under a different form, which means you will continue your addiction. Moreover, the FDA doesn’t approve e-cigarettes as products able to help you stop smoking. If you start using e-cigarettes and it becomes more difficult to control your nicotine addiction, it is never too late to stop smoking. You need to make a plan and set a date to start the quitting process. It could be the struggle of your life, but your health is more important than anything.
Try to keep yourself busy and forget about smoking. You can do that by starting to exercise and do different things that you love. It is a good idea to do things that involves your hands, such as knitting, woodworking, music, or art. Nothing is more relaxing than painting or playing your favorite instruments, such as playing your guitar. As long as you are strong and manage to keep your mind busy, you will be able to quit smoking.
Negative effects of electronic cigarettes
Electronic cigarettes are very popular nowadays, not only among experienced tobacco smokers, but also among never-smoking young people. Because of their popularity, the number of never-smoking youth who tried e-smoking had grown from 79,000 to more than 263,000 from 2011 to 2013, according to a study conducted by CDC. It shouldn’t surprise us that one of the main regulations of the FDA consists in banning the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors.
Even though there are considered less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, electronic ones have some negative effects that it is better to avoid. The ingredients from e-cigarettes are more harmful for our body when they are heated. So, heating the liquid until it vaporizes makes the chemicals from its composition being turned into other chemicals that may affect our health. So, e-cigarettes aren’t 100% safe and if you are non-smokers, it is better to think twice before trying it.
Unfortunately, we cannot know for sure how harmful e-cigarettes could be for our body. The effects of e-smoking haven’t studied enough and we know little information about its long term effects. According to a study conducted by Tobacco Control in 2010, an e-cigarette provides the user with nicotine and possibly helps reduce withdrawal from regular smoking. In 2011 BMJ showed that e-cigarettes can be used to control the use of tobacco, but in 2013 The Lancet showed that e-cigarettes “were modestly effective” in helping smoker quit their addiction. According to this study, they were as effective as nicotine patches. In the same year Tobacco Control conducted a study regarding the levels of carcinogens and toxic substances from the vapors produced by the electronic cigarettes. The results of the study showed that carcinogens were nine to 450 times less dominant than in tobacco cigarettes.
Making complete research about the effects of e-smoking is difficult, since in January 2014 there were 466 brands of electronic cigarettes and 7,764 flavors, as Tobacco Control informs. Many researchers believe that e-cigarettes are less harmful than regular cigarettes, because the immediate harmful effects are not as bad as tobacco smoking. So, in the short term, e-smoking can be a solution for those who want to quit tobacco smoking, as some researchers believe.
Thomas Eissenberg, co-director of the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products says that using e-cigarettes on the long term won’t lead to a serious tobacco-related disease. However, we cannot be sure if an e-smoker can die from any health problem than can be produced by e-smoking. Until we can know for sure what effects e-smoking have on the long term use, it is best to avoid it, especially if you are non-smoking. It’s a shame we start smoking electronic cigarettes because they will lead to nicotine addiction.
Because they are less harmful than regular cigarettes, researchers continue to recommend them to smokers who want to quit tobacco smoking. Fortunately, the FDA regulations will help smokers understand more about the negative effects of e-smoking, the ingredients e-cigarettes contain, and the risks they may produce. Also, chances are that the number of minors who will start smoking electronic cigarettes will decrease significantly, since retailers aren’t allowed to sell them any e-cigarettes.
If we take into consideration that some of the minors who start using e-cigarettes can become regular smokers, the new regulations of the FDA are more than welcome. Unfortunately, it would have been much better if it had been implemented much earlier. What we can be sure of is that things will change in two years, when manufacturers of e-cigarettes will have their products approved.
Until then, we can only hope that science will come to our help and would be able to offers us more information, not only about the effects of e-smoking, but also of different products we use daily, which may affect our body’s functioning. Being informed allows us to make the right choice, in order to protect our health and prevent the appearance of diseases.