Many people switch from tobacco to electronic cigarettes (e-cigs), seeking healthy alternatives without dangerous complications. Researchers estimated that almost 500 vapor pen brands with over 7700 flavors are available today. But are you really receiving a nicotine hit without the damaging effects of normal cigarettes’ toxic chemicals? Not according to recent studies. Despite the popularity of this growing $3 billion global market, evidence shows that these modern substitutes aren’t emission-free.
Studies Test Solvents and Particles
Unlike classic cigarettes, electronic types don’t burn dry tobacco leaves drenched with almost 600 additives, of which 69 are carcinogenic. Battery-powered devices heat e-liquids containing nicotine and flavorings, which creates an aerosol mist that you inhale, or “vape,” to simulate smoking’s physical sensations. More upscale models allow you to adjust the battery voltage, which regulates the heating element’s intensity. As the e-liquid gets hotter, the nicotine hit’s effect gets stronger. But when the wire that vaporizes the liquid overheats or you crank up the voltage, studies show that it produces harmful substances in higher amounts.
Research has disclosed that elevated temperatures affect solutions’ glycerin and propylene glycol solvents, converting them into carbonyls that regular cigarettes contain.Japanese scientistsdetermined that the level of cancer-causing carcinogens in one brand of vapor pens is 10 times greater than conventional tobacco.
Carbonyls included carcinogenic chemicals like formaldehyde and suspected hazards like acetaldehyde. Formaldehyde, a common embalming fluid and building material substance, was much greater in e-cigarette liquids than the tobacco variety’s chemicals. But levels fluctuated during analysis. Aninvestigationdiscovered that e-liquids also contain acetone, benzopyrene, silicate, diverse metal particles, and tobacco-specific nitrosamines.
Another study showed that upping 3.2 e-cig voltage to 4.8 V when using e-liquids with the same two solvents produced nearly the same amount of formaldehyde from smoking classic cigarettes. Yet using lower voltages generated up to 800 times less formaldehyde than tobacco cigarettes. Even though this seems much safer, the vapor particles’ sizes and delivery process into your lungs can cause irritation and disease. The median size of particles from inhaled standard cigarette smoke is 0.3-0.5 microns. Tests show that it’s 0.18-0.27 microns for e-cigs. And around 40 percent of those ultrafine particles can penetrate your lungs deeply and embed in your alveoli, where your gas exchange is vital.
U.S. researchers revealed that e-cig vapor exposure makes methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) more difficult to eradicate. In mice with pneumonia, three times more MRSA cells survived in their lungs after e-cig vapor exposure, compared to controls. Cigarette smoke upped that tally to four times with a 30-percent greater mortality rate. MRSA poses a huge public health threat. If this pathogen infiltrates your bloodstream, lungs, or other areas of your body, its impact can be more dire than decreasing your immune system’s infection-fighting ability. This superbug can be life threatening.
Researchers Compare Electronic and Tobacco Cigarettes
E-cig supporters claim that these devices are safer than the toxic chemicals and gases in traditional tobacco, which are major causes of cancers, heart disease, strokes, and deaths globally. To determine e-cigs’ addictiveness and effectiveness as smoking replacements, researchers studied nicotine delivery to subjects’ bloodstreams.
Experienced users vaped first-generation small cigarette-like devices and new-generation styles with electronic circuits and high-capacity batteries to supply higher energy levels to refillable atomizers. The one-hour sessions used an e-liquid containing 18 milligrams per milliliter of nicotine.
Then the investigators compared participants’ plasma nicotine levels for each e-cig type. New-generation e-cigs released 35- to 72-percent more addictive nicotine than original styles. Using first-generation devices and liquids for five minutes delivered 25- to 33-percent of the nicotine from smoking one tobacco cigarette. The researchers report that the nicotine concentration they used probably compromises the e-cigs’ efficacy as smoking alternatives. They note that liquids need to contain higher nicotine levels of about 50 mg/ml to deliver it more efficiently and approximate tobacco cigarettes’ nicotine supply.
While some research shows that e-cigs produce most of their harmful substances in lower amounts with less particles than old-style cigarette smoke, their emissions accumulate in enclosed atmospheres. Non-using adults and children may inhale volatile organic compounds circulating in indoor air. Secondhand exposure to e-cig vapors might lead to adverse health effects, according to the German Cancer Research Center, which refers to them as uncontrolled experiments. Chantix (Varenicline) offers another way to quit smoking. It blocks the pleasurable feelings that this unhealthy habit creates so your cravings fade.
Officials Comment on E-Cig Usage
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found that over 263,000 youths used e-cigs in 2013. That’s a triple increase from around 79,000 for 2011. Yet smoking regular cigarettes has declined drastically among kids since the 1990s.
The World Health Organization (WHO) advocates government officials banning e-cig sales to minors and usage in indoor public areas due to the serious threats they pose to young people and unborn babies. This health agency contends that nicotine exposure has the potential to produce long-term brain development consequences for adolescents and fetuses. WHO reports that enough evidence exists on the damage that e-cigarettes can cause to warn youngsters, teenagers, women of reproductive age, and expectant mothers against their use.