Electronic cigarettes, also known as “e-cigarettes” are surging in popularity. The e-cigarette delivers nicotine to the body through a heated vapor solution, providing smokers – or those attempting to stop smoking traditional cigarettes – with the sensation of smoking along with the nicotine every smoker’s body craves without the presence of tar and numerous other cancer-causing chemicals.
The e-cigarette is a nicotine delivery device and, as such, isn’t “safe.” Nicotine constricts blood vessels, making the heart work harder and placing the user at a higher risk of heart disease. Nicotine also places smokers and smokeless tobacco users at risk after a surgery or injury since it slows the healing process. This makes nicotine consumption, in any form, an exceptionally dangerous habit for diabetics. While nicotine replacement therapy isn’t 100% safe, it many provide smokers with the ability to quell cravings – making quitting smoking easier.
The E-cigarette is Safer Than Traditional Cigarettes
Although the e-cigarette is a nicotine delivery system, it offers smokers considerable advantages over smoking. Out of ten electronic cigarette cartridges studied, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration uncovered a carcinogenic substance, diethylene glycol, in cartridges offered by only one company. Unfortunately, the FDA has not identified which electronic cigarette company cartridges were included in the study.
For many smokers, exposure to one carcinogenic substance is far preferable to the over 4000 chemicals present in a traditional cigarette. The National Cancer Institute acknowledges that nicotine replacement products, including inhalation products, can help smokers meet their bodies’ cravings for nicotine without exposing themselves to carcinogens such as benzene, arsenic, vinyl chloride and, of course, tar.
Electronic Cigarettes and Secondhand Smoke
Secondhand smoke is a considerable concern for those who live in homes where smoking is a common activity. Exposure to secondhand smoke increases an individual’s risk of cancer – especially lung cancer. The EPA estimates that over 3,000 cancer deaths each year can be attributed to exposure to secondhand smoke.
Electronic cigarettes do not produce secondhand smoke. They release a odorless vapor that dissipates into the air within seconds. This spares the user’s family and friends from being exposed to the harmful carcinogens contained within secondhand smoke.
The Safest Way to Quit Smoking
Electronic cigarettes are unregulated by the FDA and are not considered a smoking cessation aid. Regardless, users across the country utilize electronic cigarettes as a nicotine replacement system to aid in their efforts to stop smoking. Nicotine inhalation devices, such as the e-cigarette, are particularly effective in this endeavor since, rather than merely supply the body with nicotine to satiate the smoker’s physical addiction, inhalation devices also mimic the motions of smoking – allowing the smoker to appease his psychological addiction while gradually reducing his nicotine intake.
Unfortunately, while electronic cigarettes reduce the amount of carcinogens the former smoker was exposed to, they do not break the addiction itself. Medications to help smokers kick the habit are available, but all come with the risk of side effects that must be considered. Overall, the safest way for any smoker to stop smoking is by quitting “cold turkey” and no longer introducing nicotine into his bloodstream.
Electronic Cigarette Safety Concerns
Electronic cigarettes have yet to be approved by the FDA, yet there is no denying that the safety of the product, however tenuous it may be, is far superior to smoking cigarettes. Smokers interested in quitting should broach the subject of electronic cigarettes and other nicotine replacement therapies with their physicians before deciding on the method that’s best suited for their needs.