E Cigarettes – no smoke, all fire?
Everyone offers their two cents to the smoker looking to quit the habit. Well meaning advice could range from taking up a hobby to chewing nicotine gum or wearing a nicotine patch. Electronic cigarettes may prove to be a useful aid to slowly wean smokers who have tried and failed at quitting cold turkey.
Giving up a harmful habit is easier if the process is less stressful. E cigarettes are made to simulate the experience of smoking without the harmful effects of actually inhaling smoke. While some users report that the seemingly better alternative has helped them battle their craving for a smoke, it is yet to be proven that E cigarettes are a completely safe replacement for cigarettes.
So how do e cigarettes work?
E cigarettes basically work using a battery operated heating element that turns the liquid contained in a cartridge into vapor. The liquid comprises of an array of chemicals alongwith nicotine and small traces of the same substances found in a normal cigarette. The cartridge can be replaced as often as required.
Conventional cigarettes vs E Cigarettes
Nicotine is the main cause of addiction to conventional cigarettes. While using less harmful replacement methods such as a nicotine patch, for example, may take care of the nicotine craving, it does little to address the behavioral aspects of the addiction. Smokers miss the entire smoking experience, not just the nicotine. E cigarettes aim to satisfy the nicotine craving while emulating the feel of holding and experiencing a conventional cigarette.
Since e cigarettes involve vaporization instead of combustion of nicotine, the tar deposits in the oral cavity and lungs of a smoker will not be found in users of e cigarettes.
The repulsive smell of tobacco and second hand smoke are other issues that e cigarettes do away with. E cigarettes offer their users the flexibility of choosing different concentrations of nicotine in the cartridges. Users can gradually phase out their dependence on nicotine until they are ready to completely quit the addiction.
While e cigarettes do contain varying levels of nicotine and other chemicals, the main ingredient is propylene glycol which is used in beauty products, food coloring and other products in safe quantities. It is believed that the exposure to chemical and nicotine vapors from an e cigarette is hardly as detrimental to health as the smoke that emanates from a conventional cigarette that burns a concentrated mix of nicotine and over 3000 chemicals.
In the long run, the monthly cost of replacing the cartridge of an e cigarette works out to be considerably lesser than that of the number of boxes of cigarettes bought to last a month.
According to a study by researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health, 31 percent of respondents surveyed reported successfully stopped smoking for a six month period using e cigarettes. Even traditional nicotine replacement therapy products such as gums, lozenges, patches and puffers only had a success rate of between 12 and 18 per cent.
The downside of using e Cigarettes
Young people who are not allowed to smoke conventional cigarettes may be unwittingly drawn to e cigarettes as they seem harmless due to inadequate health warnings and regulation on their sales.e Cigarettes are available in many flavors as well, making them even more attractive to youngsters who may be unaware of the nicotine content in them. It may in fact, be the a youngster’s first step towards smoking because however negligible, e cigarette cartridges still do contain nicotine.
There is an acute lack of empirical evidence backed by scientific and/or medical research to determine how safe or harmful e cigarettes really are. Until this issue is addressed, it is really a case of ‘buyer beware’.