Electronic cigarettes – a safe alternative?

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Electronic cigarettes have been deemed a safe and cheaper alternative to tradition cigarette smoking but is that really the case?

The FDA has not yet put any regulations on e-cigarettes and because they don’t contain tobacco, they are not subject to the tobacco laws.

There have been some studies done but since the product is still so new, no one knows what, if any, long-term effects they can have on people.

E-cigarettes were first introduced in the U.S. in 2007. The little devices often look like a regular cigarette, but they don’t contain tobacco and are not smoked. Instead, a liquid nicotine is added to a pipe-lined tube and is heated up to turn into a vapor. The user then inhales the vapor along with the chemicals in the liquid (e-juice as some call it.)

Even though there aren’t any FDA regulations on e-cigarettes yet, some cities have passed laws prohibiting the use of them indoors, just like traditional cigarettes. Some believe that a second-hand vapor can be passed along to others in the area, much like second-hand smoke.

There are no age restrictions on the purchase of e-cigarettes therefore minors can buy them quite easily (they are available on several online web sites.) Some experts think this might cause younger people to become addicted to nicotine and eventually begin smoking tradition cigarettes. Manufactures of the product say they aren’t marketing to kids (just like tobacco cigarette manufactures say) but they sell a wide variety of flavors that appeal to kids — like chocolate and strawberry.

The list of pros and cons of e-cigarettes is lengthy and there is so much debate on the safety. Until there are more studies and conclusive results available, who is to say whether they are safe or not?

One considered pro would be that there is no secondhand smoke. Great, right? Not quite. There isn’t smoke but there is vapor and this can be inhaled secondhand by a non-user which can cause transfer of nicotine and irritation to eyes, nose and throat. Not to mention the possibility of inhaling tin or other metals from the heated unit itself.

Some smokers have been able to “quit” smoking with the help of e-cigarettes. So they’ve kicked one bad habit but replaced it with another of which we don’t know the long term effects. Rational thinking?

Quitting altogether is much easier said than done. We already know the long-term effects of cigarette smoking, and none are good. However, would you rather smoke knowing the risks or opt for this new “technology” without knowing what could happen in the future?


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