What’s Wrong With Smoking?
Anti-smoking activists like to highlight the dramatic use of ingredients found in tobacco cigarette smoke. Hydrogen cyanide, for example, was used in Nazi death camps, while another, formaldehyde, has been used to preserve corpses). However, it is the way you use tobacco cigarettes which cause the problem. When you burn tobacco, you produce smoke. As the smoke cools down, it produces both tar and hundreds of chemicals.
Electronic Cigarettes safety
In contrast, and after a number of analyses, we know exactly what is in electronic cigarettes. The principal ingredient is propylene glycol, which is used in dozens of applications, including medicine, asthma inhalers, cosmetics, foods, to sterilise drinking water, in air-conditioners – and to produce stage smoke! Propylene glycol has been used since the mid-20th century, and is generally considered safe for inhalation. It’s even been used to sterilise the air in children’s wards. However, a small minority of people may be allergic to it. (If you are allergic to propylene glycol, try using vegetable glycerine instead.) Vegetable Glycerine has also been analysed by scientists, and considered safe for inhalation. Most e-cigarettes also contain nicotine. While not entirely healthy (its effects are similar to caffeine), nicotine is not carcinogenic, and carries a fraction of the risk of burning tobacco.
What Do Scientists Think About The Electric Cigarette?
Scientists we have spoken to have generally said that while not safe in absolute terms, electronic cigarettes are a lot safer for you than cigarettes. Perhaps the most dramatically expressed opinion of an expert is that of David Sweanor, who told me: Rather than the unattainable standard of ‘safe’ we should be thinking in terms of ‘safer’…. Despite the risks associated with soccer, I would, for instance, prefer my children play soccer rather than play with live hand grenades.
The UK government’s Nudge Unit agreed, stating: There’s no doubt it can save many lives and hundreds of millions of pounds Professor John Britton, chair of the Tobacco Advisory Group of the Royal College of Physicians Source, believes: If all the smokers in Britain stopped smoking cigarettes and started smoking e-cigarettes we would save 5 million deaths in people who are alive today. It’s a massive potential public health prize.
Electronic Cigarette Safety
What we know about electronic cigarettes is based on science, and analyses of the ingredients. As the devices have been used for less than 10 years, we don’t have empirical evidence of the longer term effect of e-cigarettes.
Effect on Heart
A 2012 study by expert Konstantinos Farsalinos found that vaping had no acute effects on cardiac function, and only very slight effects on blood pressure and heart rate.
Effect on Lungs
Dr Murray Laugesen, who conducted one of the first analysis of electronic cigarettes, found that in contrast to smoking, people vaping absorb nicotine in the airway passages rather than the lungs. Studies into the effect of vaping on lungs so far have only found a slight increase in airway resistance (an effect which can also be caused by humid air.) We also conducted our own survey of a thousand vapers to see how vaping effected their lungs. Check out the results here! Because of space, we have only listed a fraction of the studies conducted here. For a fuller list, see this post on Ecig Alternative, the site ECigarette Research or this PDF by the Consumer Advocates for Smoke Free Alternatives Association.
So Are E-Cigarettes Safe or Dangerous?So what’s the shocking truth?
The shocking truth is that despite the fact that e-cigarettes have the ability to save your life – as well as millions of others – they do not have the support they deserve. In New Zealand e-cigarettes containing nicotine are banned. Although the government admits they are safer than cigarettes, they worry it could affect their official policy of ‘denormalising’ smokers. In the Middle East the device is banned, with press stories claiming the device contains 100 or more times as much nicotine as a regular cigarette.
While the device is legal in the US, anti-smoking organisations are financed by pharmaceutical companies selling competing nicotine products to campaign against the device. And the EU commission is currently trying to ban the e-cigarette, with one MEP highlighting the loss of tax revenue caused by the popularity of the e-cigarette.Shockin