The Daily Mail UK reports that electronic cigarettes are not benefiting cigarette smokers in the ways that they were originally thought to. Now there are a number of questions circulating about these e-cigs and whether or not they are actually more harmful to the health and wellbeing of smokers than originally believed.
The Prevalence of Electronic Cigarettes
At present, there are thousands upon thousands of smokers who are utilizing electronic cigarettes. This is because they are trying to quit a smoking habit they already possess, they are trying to prevent a serious smoking habit from forming or they think that the electronic cigarette is a safer alternative to traditional cigarette smoking.
News on the Subject
According to the Italian Health Ministry, the electronic cigarette may be less toxic in comparison to traditional cigarettes, but it is certainly not completely innocuous. One of the biggest problems with it is that something which was designed to help people who are already addicted slowly ease their reliance on tobacco cigarettes is now being used for other purposes. These purposes may be looked at as being off-label uses for the popular electronic smoking devices.
Since they became prevalent back in 2007, there has been a lot of debate about electronic cigarettes and how safe they actually are. The main focus of these devices, of which there are multiple brands and styles available, is to deliver the addictive substance nicotine through vapor inhalation rather than through smoke. There are currently estimated to be 650,000 smokers worldwide who are using these devices in order to help them overcome an addiction to standard tobacco cigarettes.
The Problem – The Italy Observatory on Smoking, Alcohol and Drug Use in the National Health Institute was responsible for working on the report released through the Italian Health Ministry. The director of the observatory, Roberta Pacifici, claims that she is not entirely convinced that these electronic cigarettes are safe. This is not the first time people have wondered aloud about the safety or effectiveness of these devices. There are other problems at hand as well. Consider the following information:
- Because electronic cigarettes do not contain any tobacco, they are not subject to tobacco laws in the United States and they are not regulated by the FDA either. What this means is that they are purchasable without providing a proof of age, making it especially easy for teens to purchase electronic cigarettes, especially online.
- Some people are using the electronic cigarette because the device is cheaper than continuing to buy packs of cigarettes. Rather than using this device to stop smoking entirely, people are simply using the electronic cigarette as a replacement for tobacco cigarettes.
- While the use of electronic cigarettes to aid in smoking cessation makes sense because it is a healthier alternative than simply cutting smoking down cigarette by cigarette, it is not necessarily an outright healthier alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes. The addictive substance in cigarettes, nicotine, is still present in the electronic cigarette even though the electronic cigarette does not contain tobacco or other agents. So while the electronic cigarette may seem more natural or safer, the nicotine still poses serious problems.
- Back in 2009, the United States Food and Drug Administration analyzed components in electronic cigarettes and found that many of them contained tobacco-specific nitrosamines or TSNAs in trace amounts. While these TSNAs are found in higher concentrations in traditional tobacco cigarettes, their presence in electronic cigarette cartridges is still worrisome.
- More recently, in March of 2013, researchers at the University of California examined the content of aerosols in electronic cigarettes and found particles and nanoparticles of some pretty worrying substances, including silver, aluminum, iron, silicate, tin, nickel and chromium. These elements were found in concentrations on par with or even higher than those found in smoke from conventional cigarettes.
There is still a lot to figure out when it comes to the health and safety of electronic cigarette use. There are both pros and cons of using these types of devices, but because they contain nicotine, it is safe to assume that they are as addictive as traditional tobacco cigarettes are. Tobacco cigarette addiction and electronic cigarette addiction can both be extremely harmful. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to nicotine, the right substance abuse treatment facility can provide you with the help and assistance that you seek. Call today to find out more about your recovery options.