August 25, 2013
The E-Cig (Part 2)
Recently, I laid down the basics on the e-cig and nicotine. Now, I want to talk strictly about the benefits and disadvantages of the e-cigarette, as we know them right now. Once again, I want to emphasize that we do not really know much about these devices just yet, so more research will have to be done to truly understand the effects. First, let’s look at the disadvantages of the e-cigarette. I am a glass-half-full kind of girl, so I would like to end with positive.
As the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) blantantly states, “As the safety and efficacy of e-cigarettes have not been fully studied, consumers of e-cigarette products currently have no way of knowing:
- whether e-cigarettes are safe for their intended use,
- how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals are being inhaled during use, or
- if there are any benefits associated with using these products.
Additionally, it is not known if e-cigarettes may lead young people to try other tobacco products, including conventional cigarettes, which are known to cause disease and lead to premature death.”
The most obvious disadvantage is that we do not know if the e-cigarettes are, in fact, safe. We assume that they are safer than traditional cigarettes because they do not have the thousands of chemicals that cause serious health issues and damage, but does that mean that the e-cig itself is safe? We simply do not know just yet.
In further support of the second FDA point, the Discovery Fit & Health webpage further identifies that people get as much nicotine as a traditional cigarette or more, and since we do not really know for sure what pure nicotine will do, we have to consider as much or more nicotine as a disadvantage right now.
Beyond these major disadvantages, Discovery explains that e-cigs are expensive, at least when first purchasing everything one will need. One of my friends recently told me that the starter kit, which includes the vapor device, battery, and some cartridges, cost about $70 (USD). Then the e-liquid itself was about $20 for 11 ounces. Beyond that they require maintenance such as recharging the battery, replacing the coil and e-juice, and cleaning it.
Finally, they are not FDA-regulated yet. And though they do not produce secondhand smoke, they do produce secondhand vapor. The manufacturers claim the vapor does not have any secondhand side effects, but health experts are just not sure yet.
Discovery also listed some benefits. First, and probably most important, there is no smoking thus the lungs are not subjected to the same burning that accompanies traditional cigarettes. This also means there is no scent associated with e-cigs, and as most know, traditional cigarettes definitely smell.
Another possible benefit is that they have been able to help some people stop smoking traditional cigarettes, which we know have very real, very serious side effects. And like I said in Part 1 of this, I have known several people who have stopped smoking completely by using the e-cigarette.
Most e-cig companies have been diligent to not market to kids in the way that early 20th century tobacco companies did. This is a benefit because it shows that the companies are not trying to get people hooked at young ages…at least not yet, that is.
A fourth benefit is that they are more acceptable to smoke in public places. Places that have no smoking signs specifically prevent traditional cigarette smoking, so e-cig users can still “vape.”
Finally, as redOrbit reported, e-cigarettes have been found to be not as dangerous on the human heart as tobacco.
Much research needs to be done on the electronic cigarette, but I must say that I become more and more convinced that these are at least safer than traditional cigarettes. I will not be picking either up, but for a traditional smoker who wants to move to an e-cig, perhaps the information in these two blogs will help. Naturally, the healthiest choice is a smoke-free lifestyle.
Image Credit: Diego Cervo / Shutterstock