E-cigs have come to be known as the alternative to traditional cigarettes. They are said to help people who want to stop smoking, are termed as safer, and generally less harmful. The truth is, these products have not been here long enough for us to know what their long-term effects are. The fact that they are unregulated by the FDA means that it is a somewhat free market where manufacturers can set and play by their own rules. There are a lot of myths surrounding e-cigs. Below we explore 6 facts about e-cigs:
1. E-cigs are not necessarily safer than their traditional counterparts
Recent studies have revealed that the vapor that is released by e-cigs does contain impurities like heavy metals, formaldehyde, and propylene glycol. When vaporized, propylene glycol irritates the eye and the respiratory system. Multiple isolated pneumonia cases have been associated with E-cigs. There are no studies to show the effects of heating or vaporizing some of the chemicals found in e-cigs yet.
2. Ecigs are not yet regulated
There are some proposed regulations laid down by the FDA. E-cigs are not regulated with regard to ingredients or even labeling. Manufacturers could list ingredients that are not actually contained in the product. There are now over 500 brands and 7700 flavors available in the market. Who knows which brands and flavors are made by reputable manufacturers? A study in 2014 revealed a lot of inconsistency in the ingredients found in nicotine, even where the same brand was evaluated.
3. E-cigs do not help people quit smoking
Nicotine is the addictive substance in traditional cigarettes. Most E-cigs do contain nicotine. How does a product with the same addictive substance help you stop getting addicted to cigarettes? A 2013 study showed that people who are using E-cigs continue to use traditional cigarettes as well. Worse still, the fact that some E-cigs users feel less ‘satisfied’ makes them smoke more, consuming even higher nicotine levels.
4. Second-hand vapor does have some negative effects
Vaping does result in emissions of liquid particles and other gases and chemicals that can harm the lungs. It is important to note that e-cigs vapor contains much fewer substances, though. Even if e-cigs are used in designated areas, the vapor travels to other places exposing more people to the chemicals in the vapor.
5. There is e-cigarette waste
E-cigarette products are disposable. The user will throw away the battery and residual fluid which should be a cause of concern for environmental safety.
6. Minors do access E-cigs
Some manufacturers clearly state that their product is not for sale to minors. This, however, does not mean that minors do not access it. Anyone can purchase E-cigs online. A minor will probably use their parent’s or another adult’s information or debit card to do the transaction. Just like any drug that minors can access E-cigs, especially online.
All in All
The facts about E-cigs discussed above show that they are just traditional cigarettes with a fancy way to inhale them. Efforts are being made towards more research on the ingredients and their effects. The FDA is also working towards regulation. The unfortunate thing is that the vaping market is to a large extent a free market and manufacturers may take advantage of this to offer products with harmful ingredients.