E-cigarettes appear to be everywhere these days and are used by many as most of them think that it is a useful tool to quit smoking and relatively risk-free for new users. But are they safe? Before you or someone you care about uses e-cigarettes to quit smoking or for other reasons, get the facts! Hold your break and let’s discuss what e-cigarettes actually are…
An electronic cigarette is a battery-operated device that omits doses of vaporized nicotine, or non-nicotine solutions, for the user to inhale. It aims to provide a similar sensation to inhaling tobacco smoke, without the smoke.
Also known as e-cigarettes, e-cigs, electronic nicotine delivery systems, vaporizer cigarettes and vape pens, they were marketed with the aim to stop or cut down smoking and have been taken up by millions around the world since they first appeared in 2004. While it may help existing smokers to give up, there is concern that young people are starting to vape for its own sake, and not to replace tobacco use.
In June, 2017, the government of Jammu and Kashmir banned the sale of e-cigarettes in the state with the immediate effect.
“Jammu and Kashmir is the fifth state in the country to implement such ban which will be a landmark moment in anti-tobacco measures initiated by the government”, Minister of Health and Medical Education Bali Bhagat.” Source- Times of India
Here we have compiled some of the health facts about electronic cigarettes/e-cigarettes which almost every one of us needs to know-
Vaping devices are NOT risk free-
It is generally agreed that vaping devices, including e-cigarettes, are less harmful than smoked cigarettes, even though there is no evidence that they are, in fact, safe. E-cigarettes come with both nicotine and nicotine-free options. Nicotine is highly addictive and carries other health risks, but what about nicotine-free options? Many believe that if they stick to the nicotine-free option, they would only be inhaling harmless water vapors. But the truth is that the other chemicals found in e-cigarette liquid, flavorings and aerosols are not safe leading to negative health consequences like
- Damage to the brain, heart and lungs
- Cancerous tumor development
- Preterm deliveries and stillbirths in pregnant women
Vaping products… Not a proven method for quitting smoking-
U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA) have not approved e-cigarettes and other vaping devices as a quit smoking aid. There is a little evidence that these vaping devices reliably reduce cigarette smoking or lead to smoking cessation. In fact the nicotine contained in e-cigarettes and other vaping devices may actually perpetuate addiction, thus making it even harder to quit smoking in some cases.
There are other safe and effective methods for quitting smoking. The best way to start is to talk to your doctor or a trained counselor to figure out the best strategies for you.
No evidence of aerosol to be safe-
“Vaping” refers to inhaling the vapor of an e-cigarette. Although “vapor” sounds harmless, the aerosol that comes out of e-cigarette is not water vapor and can be harmful. These vapors contain substances that are addictive and can cause lung diseases, heart diseases and cancer.
Besides nicotine, e-cigarette vapors contain propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerin which are used to produce theatrical fog. These substances have been found to increase lung and airway irritation.
In addition, they may also contain chemicals like-
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) cause eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches and nausea, and can damage the liver, kidney and nervous system.
Flavoring chemicals are more toxic than other chemicals. Studies have shown that flavors contain different levels of a chemical called diacetyl that has been linked to a serious lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans.
Formaldehyde, a cancer-causing agent, may form if e-liquid overheats or if the enough liquid is not reaching the heating element.
Risk of poisoning-
E-cigarette solutions, if swallowed or comes in contact with skin, can poison children as well as adults. Symptoms of nicotine poisoning include sweating, dizziness, vomiting, increased heart rate, seizures and difficulty in breathing. In some cases, nicotine poisoning can also lead to the death of a person.
If you are an e-cigarette user, you should-
- Protect your skin if using e-cigarette products
- Keep e-cigarette products locked up and out of reach of children and follow the disposable instructions
Nicotine side effects-
Nicotine causes a wide range of side-effects on various organs and systems. Some of the side-effects on various systems/organs are-
- an increased clotting tendency, leading to a risk of harmful blood clots
- atherosclerosis, in which plaque forms on the artery wall
- enlargement of the aorta
Side effects on brain-
- dizziness and lightheadedness
- irregular and disturbed sleep
- bad dreams and nightmares
- possible blood restriction
Side-effects on heart-
- changes in heart rate and rhythm
- an increase in blood pressure
- constrictions and diseases of the coronary artery
- an increased risk of stroke
If you’re a long-term cigarette smoker and haven’t been able to cut back or stop smoking, it’s better to consult a doctor or a trained counselor rather than trying e-cigarettes and other vaping devices on your own. However, if you do not smoke or use other forms of tobacco or nicotine, steer clear of e-cigarettes and other vaping devices!