Are Electronic Cigarettes Safe?

Over the past few years, since its release, there has been a huge debate over electronic cigarette safety. Already a few countries have banned the sale of nicotine juice (e-liquids), such as Australia, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore etc.. However, within these countries, importing nicotine juice for personal use is allowed.

What Chemicals Are In Cigarettes?

Safety of electronic cigarettesBefore we talk about the toxicity of tobacco smoking, let me fill you in on some background information.

E-juice or e-liquid is a flavored (or sometimes flavorless) substance that vaporizes within an e-cigarette atomizer to mimic the appearance of tobacco smoke. But the important thing to note is that it is not smoke. It does not contain the many already known and harmful substances that is in tobacco smoke such as arsenic, tar, carbon monoxide… the list goes on.

According to research there are over 5,000 different chemicals in analogue cigarettes and of which, 50 of them are toxic and cancer causing. There are around 100,000 more chemicals that haven’t yet been identified either. I’m quoting from this article published by the Discovery News website.

The nicotine juice within electronic cigarettes contains food flavoring, propylene glycol (used in night clubs in smoke machines and also in medical devices such as asthma inhalers) and vegetable glycerin, and also a small concentration of nicotine. These substances are deemed safe.

Now compare this with the cocktail of toxic chemicals present in tobacco cigarettes which have been proven to cause cancer. Which one sounds more dangerous to you so far? Common sense would say tobacco.

I have read from several articles that nicotine itself isn’t as addictive as the cocktail of chemicals present in cigarettes. Apparently that is what gets us hooked on smoking.

What e-cigarettes do is help you quit smoking in a safer way, by only delivering nicotine into your system, to fight off withdrawal symptoms. The vapor also helps to give you that throat hit and sensation that most individuals miss when quitting smoking.

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Is Nicotine Poisonous

Yes it is. But nicotine is a stimulant, and the way it works is not too different from the way caffeine affects our bodies. I found a very interesting article about the toxicity of caffeine and also its effects on our bodies.

“Average doses of caffeine (85-250 mg, the equivalent of 1-3 cups of coffee) may result in feelings of alertness, decreased fatigue, and eased flow of thought. High doses (250-500 mg) can result in restlessness, nervousness, insomnia, and tremors. In high doses, caffeine can cause a hyperadrenergic syndrome resulting in seizures and cardiovascular instability. ” – Medscape.

Now the thing is, nicotine has very similar effects. When we vape electronic cigarettes or drink coffee, the concentrations are low, and so far there has been no reported life-threatening side effects from the usage of electronic cigarettes.

So why is the FDA not recommending e-cigarettes?

As of April 2011, the FDA announced that they are planning to regulate electronic cigarettes as a drug in the USA, used for therapeutic purposes like helping people quit smoking. This is great news but it also means that prices of e-cigarettes and e-liquids could potentially skyrocket once the regulation goes through, not good for people like us who love vaping. Regulation would also mean strict quality control over the manufacturing of e-juices and personal vaporizers and that will help eliminate any possible health risks.

Other countries like Australia are not following suit though. There are several reasons for this:

  1. They think that electronic cigarettes could be potentially be addictive to children, and kids may take up vaping. (So is alcohol but it’s your responsibility as a parent not to let them near these substances. Pure stupidity in my opinion).
  2. No extensive research has been conducted to determine the long-term side-effects of e-cigarettes (see my argument in the following paragraphs).
  3. The manufacturing of e-liquids are not regulated, thus electronic cigarette cartridges may contain unknown chemicals which may end up being quite toxic as well.

While those are all valid points, the fact is that there are approximately 5.4 million deaths caused by smoking tobacco cigarettes each year in the USA. The death toll for electronic cigarettes since coming into the market in 2005 – zero.

Use these facts and make up your own mind about whether or not electronic cigarettes are safe.

My theory is that since regular tobacco cigarettes are taxed so heavily, the government relies upon these tax dollars for a lot of their funding. And since electronic cigarettes have been so effective in helping people quit smoking (myself included), they may be viewed as a major threat to their funding.

In my own personal experience, 95% of the people I know whom have taken up electronic cigarette vaping have quit smoking immediately – that’s how effective it is. Some of them have been able to give up e-cigarettes as well after a few months, with no withdrawal symptoms.

FDA-approved nicotine gum, patches and inhalers are not even close to being as effective in quitting smoking as electronic cigarettes in my experience, and all of them contain small traces of nicotine as well. After switching to e-cigs my lung function has slowly returned to normal (I have a lot more energy and can take much deeper breaths), I don’t suffer from wheezing each morning, and the smoker’s cough disappeared after the first week. And what I’m most happy about is the fact that my breath no longer stinks and the same goes for my clothing.

One of the electronic cigarette’s greatest strength is, unlike other nicotine therapy products like patches and gum, it allows smokers to keep their rituals – the hand to mouth habit. This along with the throat hit sensation is what makes it so successful in helping people kick the habit once and for all, requiring little or zero will-power.

Conclusion

It is a known fact that tobacco cigarette smoking kills. There is no doubt about that. At the same time, electronic cigarettes have not been tested for safety, so the long term effects are unknown. If you ask me, I’d rather take my chances with e-cigarettes because since I’ve quit smoking, I have experienced better health overall and that can only mean one thing… tobacco smoking is a lot worse for me.

As my buddy “Slothy” from the forum puts it, “I’m not sure how bad vaping will turn out to be, but logic says it’ll be by far the lesser of two evils“.

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