Cigarettes. The essence of glamor and rebellion in the 50’s and 60’s , the symbol of rock and roll decadence: the eternal presence of a Marlboro burning dangerously low in the fingers and lips of the young and beautiful. Fast forward half a century or so and it sometimes seems that we have achieved the impossible. We eat better, look better, and know better. However, no matter how many advances have been made, there has yet to be a product or device that will allow us to smoke cigarettes without damaging our health, although that doesn’t seem to stop manufacturers from trying to make one. The e-cigarette is the latest to claim to offer the enjoyment and glamor of the cigarette without the health consequences. But, beware, your e-cig may be toxic.
How Do E- Cigarettes Work?
Electronic cigarettes are known as ENDS ( electronic nicotine delivery systems) and include e-pipes, e-pens, e-hookahs and e-cigars. The FDA defines e-cigarettes as devices that let users inhale aerosol which contains nicotine and other substances. They usually run on batteries and release a chemical filled aerosol when the e-liquid is heated.
What Do E-cigarettes Contain?
The e-liquid in the e-cigarette cartridges is the main ingredient in e-cigarettes. E-liquid is made by extracting tobacco from nicotine and mixing it with a base, most commonly propylene glycol. it may also contain coloring, flavorings, and other chemicals.
Although the FDA is still evaluating all of the chemicals in e-cigarettes, the US Surgeon General has concluded that they are most likely to contain carbonyl compounds, nicotine, and volatile organic compounds.
According to the US Surgeon General, exposure to nicotine can harm a developing fetus and result in decreased lung and brain function in newborns. Use of nicotine during pregnancy can lead to preterm delivery, stillbirth, low birth weight, and is known to cause sudden infant death syndrome. Nicotine use during adolescence has been associated with behavioral and cognitive impairments, especially concerning memory and attention span.
FDA tests conducted in 2009 found that even e-cigarette cartridges labeled “nicotine-free” had some level of nicotine. In the same vein, a 2014 study found the amount of nicotine reported on e-liquid refill packages was often substantially different from the amount in the product.
Information released by the CDC shows that exposure to poisoning from e-cigarettes is increasing. While, according to one study, most calls to poison center involving such poisoning reported accidental ingestion of an e-cigarette or its liquid, one sixth of them were related to people inhaling those items. Skin and eye exposure were also reported. Symptoms of nicotine poisoning most often begin with vomiting and nausea and escalate to respiratory depression and seizures. According to the US Surgeon General, acute toxicity and possible death are particularly true for children.
Can e-cigarettes Help you Quit Smoking?
The FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and research says, “No.” It is more likely that, instead of quitting, e-cigarette users are only adding them to their use of conventional cigarettes. A survey conducted in 2015 showed hat 58.8 of e-cigarette users were still smoking traditional cigarettes. The American Lung Association does not condone the use of e-cigarettes as an effective method for helping smokers quit.
Do you have experience with e- cigarettes? What do you think? Is it worth the risk? Let us know!