When people first hear about e cigarettes, also called electronic cigarettes, the first question they have is, are electronic cigarettes safe? There’s definitely two sides to the story. The debate has been ongoing since e cigarettes hit the US market in 2008. On one side there’s the avid fans and users of the new alternative to cigarettes. On the other side is, you guessed it, big companies tobacco.
With all the health warnings against smoking, there is more pressure now on quitting smoking more than ever. However, for people who are already in too deep or have been smoking for quite some time, it may be too hard to suddenly do so. Likewise, smoking has been a way of life for some and offers numerous people a way to relieve their stress. From these debates and concerns, a lot of methods and things have been devised to help people try and eventually quit smoking. The attention is now on electronic cigarettes.
Since electronic cigarettes are supposed to be the next best solution to smoking, more and more individuals are curious as to whether it is really safe to use. After all, smokers need products that can help them get rid of the habit minus the negative health effects and complications. Tobacco smoking is bad enough for the body. Using a product that promises to facilitate quitting but has serious and adverse health effects is the last thing smokers who want to quit need. The good thing is that there are many sources of electronic cigarettes around. Since it is still relatively new, a lot of research and examinations are being done and published in its name.
How Electronic Cigarettes Work
If you are curious about using electronic cigarettes and whether they are safe or not, then you might want to learn first about how they function. Unlike the usual cigarette, an electronic cigarette does not burn or smoke. Fire is not used.
In the same way, you do not need a match or lighter. Electronic cigarettes help deliver a certain amount of nicotine to the person’s lungs, this is around the same amount you can get from a normal cigarette. As the name implies, this type of cigarette is a handheld device which you can “puff” like the usual cigarette. The device uses nicotine cartridges which need to be replaced once you have used up all the nicotine.
Electronic cigarettes usually make use of a rechargeable battery-operated heating component. This component vaporizes the nicotine found in the cartridge. Once vaporized, nicotine is often turned into propylene glycol. This is a clear as well as colorless liquid that is usually observed from cough medicines, inhalers and similar products.
E-cigarettes come in many different styles. Some appear like pipes, cigarettes, or just the average real cigarette. Others, on the other hand, take a more experimental approach – they appear like USB memory devices or pens. The device is essentially free from smoke and tobacco.
Arguments on its Safety
Because of the manner by which electronic cigarettes are currently marketed today, some people are skeptical whether they are really safe and can help people quit smoking or are they just a new way for companies to earn more and capitalize on vices.
From full advertisements to pop outs and all sorts of ads, there’s a whole bunch of them promoting electronic cigarettes. Some claim that since electronic cigarettes do not necessarily burn anything and only provide a certain dose of nicotine, health risks are considerably reduced because no toxic chemicals enter a smoker’s body. However, others are advocating that nicotine consumption through inhalation is still not ideal for health.
The deal on whether electronic cigarettes are safe or not have in fact reached state levels in the United States. The state of New York is already attempting to ban the use of devices. The main idea is that electronic cigarettes are still to be further studied and regulated. Nonetheless, criticisms to this argument note that the device is free of tobacco, thus they can be considered as alternative options to cigarettes.
Since electronic cigarettes isolate nicotine, the fewer chemical risks are evident. Tobacco carries around 5,000 chemicals and a few more thousands unknown elements. This fact alone seemingly justifies electronic cigarettes as safer choices. There have also been testimonials from a number of people indicating how helpful electronic cigarette is to smoking.
When it comes to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the department is struggling to obtain the necessary regulatory control since safety studies are still yet to pinpoint the exact health effects of the devices. Hazards and benefits of electronic cigarettes are not yet precisely identified so its safety is still something that can be left or attributed to subjective interpretation.
Generally, electronic cigarettes are seen or projected as devices that are safe because they are free from some of the elements that are used in the production of traditional tobacco cigarettes. Nonetheless, since the device attempts to provide the same experience of smoking with the provision of nicotine, it is still bound to have some side effects or negative influence on a person’s health.
On the more profound sense of things, researchers note that while electronic cigarettes are safer alternatives to tobacco products, in general, they still do not promote a healthier lifestyle. Basically, the idea is that electronic cigarettes just present a better and safer alternative to the things they are intended to replace but on a broader scale, their safety can still be questioned.
Smoking has never brought any good effects to a person’s health. It may relieve people from stress but it also makes them dependent to the point of addiction. If you are quitting, then it might be a good idea to try out electronic cigarettes. After all, taking the initiative to quit is the first step. Nonetheless, never forget to consult a health expert. You can never be too sure of anything.
FDA on Electronic Cigarettes
Where does the FDA stand on the matter? In July 23, 2009, the Food and Drug Administration made a statement that e cigarettes are harmful. They got their hands on a product from China and found carcinogens and toxic chemicals. They have since been sued over this statement on grounds that they did very limited testing and were out of their jurisdiction. One thing you can’t argue is e cigarettes emit smoke-like vapor, instead of regular cigarette smoke. This vapor is primarily made up of propylene glycol (FDA recognized as safe), vegetable glycerine (FDA classified as a sugar alcohol commonly used in artificial sweetners), nicotine and flavor.
Recently, April 27, 2011 the FDA gave in to big tobacco and started regulating e cigarettes just like tobacco cigarettes. After treating e cigarettes more strictly, as a medical product, they backed down. This makes sense to me, why regulate e cigarettes more strictly than regular cigarettes? Unfortunately, e cigarettes are now under the attack of Pharmaceutical Giants that make smoking cessation devices. They’re worried about losing business on their nicotine patches and other medical treatments. As a result, a few states, including New York, are considering banning e cigarettes. This is of course not popular among e cigarette users. Many are speaking up and telling their stories of how the product helped them quit smoking cigarettes.
So, now I ask you. What do you think? Now that you know the facts, do you think e cigarettes are safe?
Interested in trying an e cigarette? Read our e cigarette reviews to find your smoking alternative.