Health Risks of E-cigarettes Emerge

Health Risks of E-cigarettes Emerge

E-cigarette technology was first launched in China in 2003. However, it was introduced to the outside world as a potentially less hazardous product to smokers. Although e-cigarettes were marketed as an alternative to conventional cigarettes, providing that ‘nicotine fix’ without lung-blackening tar and smoke, researchers aren’t fully confident that vaping is a safe option to smoking.

Both users and manufacturers in hopes of devising an alternative for conventional smoking methods have warmly embraced vaping devices. Sadly, scientific researches claim that there is no such thing as a safe cigarette.

Certain recent researches have shown that e-cigs may contain harmful particles that can affect lung tissue and cause several illnesses.

Are E-Cigarettes a healthier smoking Alternative?

Early studies pointed out several promising benefits of vaping. In fact, some experts insisted that vaping devices have made it easier for smokers to quit smoking and be safe from potential health hazards such as lung cancer.

Cigarette smoke comprises of 4000 chemicals including formaldehyde, cyanide, arsenic, carbon monoxide, DDT and ammonia. There are 43 cancer-causing chemicals in cigarette smoke whereas E-juices used in electronic cigarettes generally contain only food grade flavorings, glycerin, propylene and glycol. None of these substances has shown any negative impact on health.

E-cigs are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid solution (e-liquid) made from artificial flavors and nicotine to create an aerosol, which replicates the physical sensation of smoking. The process is popularly dubbed as vaping.

Therefore, it can be safe to say that vaping is generally safer as it exposes smokers to fewer toxins. Scientists also conclude that vaping is gentler on respiratory passages and the lungs.

Although vaping is a complicated concept to understand, it is slowly replacing cigarettes by people who are looking for healthier smoking options. The masses often perceive vaping as the same thing as smoking without knowing that vaping is actually less harmful than tobacco smoking.

Are they Completely Safe?

Recently manufactured electronic cigarettes have been used for almost a decade now. However, they have reached immense popularity only recently. Unlike conventional cigarettes, e-cigs do not work on the principle of combusting dried tobacco leaves covered in almost 600 additives; 69 of which are carcinogenic.

E-cigarettes are quickly taking over conventional cigarettes. However, all vaping devices have been less effective in helping people to quit smoking completely. Although, e-cigarettes increase the chances of quitting in the first month, the effects seem to dissipate after 3 or 6 months. This discovery was made in a number of studies conducted by University of Toronto researcher Riyad al-Lehebi in which it was noted that people who intend to quit smoking must consider other well-established options to quit for good.

Sophisticated e-cig devices  enable smokers to modify the voltage settings from the battery to regulate its heating intensity. When the solution becomes hotter, it strengthens the effect of the nicotine hit. Sadly, these higher temperatures affect the propylene glycol and glycerin, which are used as solvents within the liquid solution and convert them to carbonyl such as acetaldehyde and formaldehyde.

A recent study has discovered when increasing the e-cig voltage from 3.2V to 4.8V the mentioned solvents generated roughly the same quantity of formaldehyde as a conventional cigarette. Although our body produces formaldehyde as a byproduct of normal metabolism in the cells, it is considered to be carcinogenic when inhaled.

The study also noted that if e-cigs are used at a lower voltage, they might result in producing up to 800 times less formaldehyde than a traditional cigarette. However, this is not as safe as we assume it to be. Since, the size of the vapor particles and the delivery method affects the lungs negatively; it can cause serious damage to your respiratory system.

This implies that even if the particle is not toxic itself, its size is enough to damage the lungs.

Even if vaping has become a better and safer smoking option, it is still too early to say that it is completely safe. Technological developments have improved production standards of the current vaping devices and e-cigarettes to reduce long-term hazard, but the technology has still a long way to go when it comes to completely safe smoking.

The mechanics of e-cigarettes may contribute to how much harm it can cause to your health. A study conducted at the University Of Alabama School Of Medicine discovered a connection between coil temperature and the production of harmful chemicals such as acrolein, acetaldehyde and formaldehyde in the e-cigarette. Since there are no configuration standards for e-cigarettes, the study suggests that this lack of consistency makes it hard to definitely evaluate the health effects of e-cigarettes.

Scientists have been testing the long-term effects of flavored e-cigarette liquids on the calcium in our lungs. They were surprised to not that that not all flavors deliver the same effect. A study by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill deduced that 5 of the 13 flavors brought affected calcium in the lungs. These flavors included menthol tobacco, banana pudding and hot cinnamon candies.

Final Thoughts

Although e-cigarettes are less harmful than ordinary cigarettes, yet, there are several concerns about the possible health hazards associated with it. The e-liquid contains toxins and chemicals other than nicotine, which may cause damage to our lungs and body. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) e-cigarettes have been identified as an emerging challenge for public health.

There have been warnings about the potential long-term risks (and benefits) that the use of e-cigarettes may bring. Extensive research work is required to know the exact outcomes of the components of an e-cigarette.

For instance, there are doubts over vapor ingredients accumulating in the lungs, upper airway and mouth, or being absorbed into the body. However, there have been no long-term studies on the health impact of e-cigarettes since the relatively new product has only been available in the mainstream market for just above a decade.

About the Author:

A vaper for five years and a little wild explorer at heart who lives to eat, Elena takes great pleasure in her travels all over the world, and even greater (guilty) pleasure in delectable dishes from exotic cafes in Turkey to swanky tapas houses in Malta. An avid cook and baker, she can be found in the kitchen whipping up dishes and trying out new recipes, when she isn’t traveling or working at her actual day-job. She’s currently working at Infinite Vapour E-liquid and E-juice as content writer.