Electronic or smokeless cigarettes are being marketed as a safer alternative to smoking tobacco.
But just how safe are e-cigarettes? Are there any health risks?
Let’s compare smoking ecigs to “real” cigarette smoking so you can make an intelligent decision if this may be a wise alternative for you – whether you’re looking to cut down, quit or keep from starting up again.
The most harmful aspects of smoking cigarettes are all the toxic chemicals that you inhale when you light up a real cigarette. It’s actually what’s inside the smoke – tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide – that is said to cause lung cancer and respiratory disease.
With smokeless cigarettes none of these chemicals – except nicotine in low doses – are produced because there is no smoke… nothing is actually burning. No smoke means no tar, carbon monoxide, etc.
But what about the nicotine? Smokeless cigarettes still deliver nicotine unless you’re using ecigarettes with zero nicotine. How dangerous is that?
More independent studies on the effects of nicotine by itself need to be done. But – that’s exactly what the nicotine patch and nicotine gum already have in them. So even though the health risks may still be inconclusive, it’s obvious that a method of delivering nicotine that doesn’t involve real smoke is going to be much safer than burning tobacco.
Using an electronic cigarette will deliver the nicotine in a vapor, not a smoke; it’s liquid nicotine, just like you’d get using a patch or gum to help you quit or cut down.
The FDA recently reported that traces of carcinogens where found in a sample of electronic cigarette nicotine liquid. However, these same carcinogens are also found in nicotine delivery alternatives like the patch and gum (which are both approved by the FDA).
Also keep in mind that many every day foods like peanut butter contain trace levels of carcinogens. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be concerned about it. But any dose of a particular carcinogen is an important factor in it’s toxicity.
Right now there is no evidence that these carcinogens are are even translated into the actual electronic cigarette vapor that is inhaled.
So, are smokeless cigarettes completely safe? E-cigarettes do give smokers an alternative to breathing in carbon monoxide and tar, which is obviously a better choice and more than likely a much safer way of smoking.
I can see where ecigs could probably save lives too, not only for the smoker, but for those around them who are no longer subjected to the secondhand smoke of real cigarettes.