How Safe Electronic Cigarettes Are

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Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, eCig and electronic nicotine delivery devices, are becoming a widespread alternative to cigarette smoking. Sold at mall booths, on the Internet, and at some convenience stores, electronic cigarettes allow the user to consume nicotine by simulating cigarette smoking without producing second-hand smoke. An electronic cigarette, which resembles a metallic cigarette, contains flavored, liquefied nicotine swathed in a plastic cartridge that is placed into a battery-operated device. When the smoker activates the button, a vaporized puff of nicotine is released to be inhaled.

Electronic cigarette has no fire, no tar, no carbon monoxide, no ash, and no stub. It let you enjoy and satisfy those perceptible taste sensations without any threat on smoking and on tobacco. You can smoke eCig anywhere healthily without environmental pollution. It can help you reduce or leave smoking habits. Despite of its seemingly growing popularity, several countries, including Canada, Australia, and Brazil, have banned them [1].

In addition to the perception that e-cigarettes may be safer, it is reasonable that some smokers may feel more relaxed using the device because they are able to “smoke” in public places where cigarette smoking is not allowed. This claim is somewhat authentic because the e-cigarette emits vapor, not smoke. This is an area of current debate, in part because safety data are lacking and because the flavored liquid nicotine used in electronic cigarettes is not approved by the FDA. At present, the FDA intends to develop regulations for the manufacturing and sale of liquid nicotine and electronic cigarettes.

The health effects of using electronic cigarettes are currently unknown. Several studies regarding the long-term health effects of nicotine vapor both inhaled directly and second hand are currently in progress, although it should be noted that second hand side stream smoke is non-existent due to on-demand operation and that vapor is generated rather than smoke.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have issued warnings about the lack of scientific and clinical trial data to support the safety of electronic cigarettes. Yet, many reasons are offered for the use of these devices. According to an Internet survey of 3587 electronic cigarette users

  • 84% of those surveyed perceived e-cigarettes to be less toxic than tobacco smoke;

  • 77% used them as a smoking cessation tool or to prevent relapse;

  • 79% used them to deal with cravings; and

  • 67% used them to deal with withdrawal symptoms.

The FDA is inviting the public, both users of electronic cigarettes and healthcare specialists, to report any adversative effects or possible quality control problems associated with the use of electronic cigarettes.

At this time, conclusive evidence supports the safety and efficiency of electronic cigarettes, either for leisure use or as a smoking termination aid. However, it is likely that some researchers and manufacturers will board on further clinical trials. Patients who are motivated to stop smoking should be encouraged to discuss smoking cessation therapies with their healthcare providers and be informed of the multiple FDA-approved options and behavioral modification therapies available for smoking cessation.

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