Are Electronic Cigarettes Safer Than Regular Cigarettes? |

Photo Source: Monica Grigsby via Flickr, adapted (added title)

These days there is a lot of buzz about the electronic cigarettes available. The big selling point is that these do not create smoke and therefore there is no second-hand smoke to endanger other people’s health. Vapor lounges, stores that carry e-cigs and such, are all the rage around St. Louis. It seems a new one pops up every day near me. There is even someone in my family (although I’m not naming names) who smokes both regular cigarettes and electronic cigarettes. Ugh. So I wanted to know more about the electronic cigarettes. I did a little research and thought I would share what I found with all of you.

vapor lounge sign

An electronic cigarette is a device that looks similar to a regular cigarette but is a small battery-operated heating element and a cartridge that can contain nicotine or other chemicals. There is an atomizer also and when that is heated it changes what is inside the cartridge into a vapor so they can be inhaled. The cartridges are refillable.

electronic cigarette parts

Photo Source: University of Hawaii Windward Community College

Even though the ecigs do not produce smoke, that does not mean they are harmless. The user is still ingesting nicotine and other chemicals. The National Institute of Health has also found that when they have tested some electronic cigarette products that the vapor contains other known carcinogens and toxic chemicals along with the nicotine. There is also the availability of people to put other drugs in the cartridges besides nicotine. The refills themselves can be of questionable sources and quality. Users can be exposed to toxic levels of nicotine when refilling even.

electronic cigarette varieties, refills, and accessories

Photo Source: The View from Fez

Since these products are not marketed as tobacco products or as having any therapeutic use, they are not regulated by the FDA. That same lack of regulation also means that there are no guidelines or measures of the liquids in the refills either. The FDA has proposed changes to extend it’s regulation to electronic cigarettes but it is not a law yet.There are just a few states that have banned the sale and/or possession of these products to minors.

Many people have turned to e-cigarettes to quit smoking but there seems to be limited success and since you are still getting nicotine it really does not seem to be the best method. Most health agencies are still recommending other more proven methods to quit smoking instead of using electronic cigarettes.

While I was a smoker for many years and I quit several years ago, I do still crave a cigarette occasionally. However, for me I think smoking a regular cigarette or an ecig would be a very slippery slope that might lead me to become a regular smoker again. Definitely not something I want. I have been watching Mad Men on Netflix and it seems like everyone in the 60’s smoked, and they smoked a lot. Growing up lots of my family members smoked too and I even remember running into the quick shop to buy cigarettes for my parents as a kid – they smoked True Greens. Now days though I am sometimes more shocked to see people actually smoking still. And as a reformed smoker I am one of those annoying types who cannot stand the smell of smoke too (sorry smoking friends). While the ecigs eliminate that smoke, they still are not eliminating the health risks.

Where do you stand on smoking either regular cigarettes or electronic cigarettes? Have you tried ecigs yourself?