Recently, there has been a lot of news and conversation about electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). They are being marketed as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes because they don't contain tobacco and a lot of the other chemicals that are in cigarettes.
Other people also claim to be using them as a method to quit smoking, first switching to an e-cigarette and then cutting that out slowly. But are there other things about these products that make them just as dangerous, or more dangerous, than real cigarettes?
An e-cigarette does not contain tobacco, but it does still contain nicotine. This fact alone makes people believe that they are without a doubt safer than real cigarettes, but this may not necessarily be true. Most people acknowledge that nicotine is addictive, but there is a common misconception that nicotine doesn't actually cause any harm to the body. Nicotine has many possible negative side effects, including:
- increased blood pressure and heart rate
- head aches
- increased likelihood of strokes
Nicotine is very dangerous for pregnant women, and it is suggested that they avoid smoking and any kind of nicotine product. Long-term nicotine use is also linked to certain types of cancers, including oral and lung cancer, which many people think are only caused by 'real' smoking.
These facts alone make it pretty hard for me to believe that e-cigarettes could be safe. Safer than real cigarettes, perhaps, but that's not necessarily a good comparison. Just because something is safer than a real cigarette certainly doesn't mean it's safe.
It's also very important to keep in mind that the e-cigarettes are not really regulated by the FDA. There has been a lot of debate over how much control the FDA should have over them and how they are marketed. There have been court cases and appeals between the FDA and electronic cigarette companies. This issue has been going on for many years now, and it still hasn’t been resolved.
That being said, being regulated more closely by the FDA doesn't exactly make it any safer either. The FDA regulates tobacco products and they are killing people by the millions worldwide. It might be possible to make electronic cigarettes safer if e-cigarettes are regulated more strictly, but it's hard to say if or when that is going to happen.
The FDA has done some analyzing of e-cigarettes, and one thing they found was that some of the cartridges used with these products contain well known cancer causing agents.
People also worry that e cigarettes are being marketed to teenagers. There are so many different flavors that can be used in these products, which leads some people to believe that they will be used by young non-smokers. This is especially likely if they are being marketed as a safe alternative to smoking. There are a lot of people who believe what they read and what they hear in commercials – sometimes these things are true but sometimes the facts are manipulated. It’s important to remember that the companies marketing electronic cigarettes have something to gain here – money – so it’s important to know what the real facts are.
Now that smoking cigarettes is banned in most public places, electronic cigarettes are appealing to people who want to be able to smoke whenever and wherever they want. These people are inhaling pure nicotine, and quite often, they are using the e-cigarette much more than they would be smoking real cigarettes. Smokers may not be inhaling tobacco, but chances are they are inhaling much more nicotine than tobacco smokers.
It’s hard to get people to agree on the health and safety concerns about electronic cigarettes, but it’s clear that there has to be more research done before anyone can substantiate claims that they are safe. These products are still relatively new and they are becoming more and more popular. The FDA has done some testing and research, but not even close to enough to provide concrete facts about e-cigarettes.