Electronic cigarettes were at one time little more than a novelty… but those days are long over. The electronic cigarette market is growing at an astounding pace, and it is estimated that it will be a $70 Billion business by the end of 2017.
With that being said, however, there is an enormous debate now raging across the internet as to whether or not E-cigs are safe. They have been defended by supporters and attacked by opponents, and have even made headlines in several major news publications.
But what is the truth about Electronic cigarette safety? Is there something that E-cig makers aren’t telling us, or are all of these opponents just blowing smoke for no reason?
These are great questions, and in this article we are going to do the best job possible of answering them.
First, let’s examine what we do know. We know that one study, conducted in August of 2013 by the Drexel University School of Public Health, said that “exposures from using e-cigarettes fall well below the threshold for concern for compounds with known toxicity.” This is generally the study used to prove the fact that E-cigs are, in fact, a much safer alternative to regular tobacco-filled cigarettes.
But opponents will be much more likely to cite a study from 2009, in which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said that they found evidence of various toxins and carcinogens in two different E-cig brands. To be fair, however, it should also be mentioned that the FDA report pointed at 9 different contaminants, all found within these two brands of E-cigs… but that this number pales in comparison to the 11,000 contaminants found in a traditional tobacco-filled cigarette.
It was also noted that the levels of toxicity of those dangerous components found in E-cigs were “far lower” than those in their tobacco-filled counterparts.
In the end, most specialists agree that the jury is out on the ‘E-cig debate’, at least until more evidence can be obtained. Since E-cigs are not nearly as regulated as tobacco-filled cigarettes, it is much more difficult to hold them to any kind of health standard.
It should also be noted that breathing in anything other than fresh, clean air puts the human body at an increased risk. This is true of anything, and is not specific to E-cigs. On that note, it could rightly be said that ‘inhaling nothing at all’ is the absolute safest option.
But are E-cigs healthier than regular tobacco-filled cigarettes? Of course, most specialists won’t give you a specific answer, but it seems that the evidence definitely points thas way.
E-cigs do contain nicotine, and it is also true that the levels of toxins and/or potentially harmful components have not been consistently measured or regulated. But even with that being said, evidence definitely seems to support that, while E-cigs are not as safe as breathing in fresh, clean air, they are definitely safer than the smoke created from tobacco products.
Other Safety Concerns
There have been some reports of E-cig batteries exploding or catching fire, though this is not a phenomenon exclusive to E-cigs. Other electronic devices, such as cellular phones, have had similar issues in the past.
The best way to avoid problems with any electronic, rechargeable device (including E-cigs) is to make sure that it is being used correctly, that the battery-storage compartment has not been damaged, and that the device is not getting hot with regular usage. Lithium Ion batteries do tend to be more dangerous if they get short-circuited than other types of batteries, mostly due to the components inside of them.
Making sure that your device is plugged into the appropriate charger is also important, as the wrong charger can tend to cause the batteries to get hotter than they are supposed to get.
Another concern regarding E-cigs is the refill e-liquid. This can be bought in small containers or cartridges, and is usually stored on hand to be used when the E-cig needs a refill. While this e-liquid is usually turned into vapour and inhaled in trace amounts by users, the liquid could be very dangers to ingest directly… which raises concerns about children getting their hands on it.
For this reason, it is absolutely imperative that refill supplies, as well as the E-cig itself, be kept somewhere where children will not be able to gain access to them.
In the end, it is important that you make educated choices regarding E-cigs. Figure out what the risks are for yourself and try to stay abreast of new scientific findings. Learning the truth about something often requires a bit of work, but it is well worth it because it allows you to make decisions based on real data instead of second-hand rumor.
As with anything else, E-cigs should be regarded responsibly, and they should only be used when doing so will not break laws or put you at risk.
With that being said, there is a lot of evidence to support the fact that E-cigs are definitely a safer choice than tobacco-filled cigarettes… which have been proven, beyond the shadow of a doubt, to be dangerous to not only the user’s health and well-being, but also to the health and well-being of those around the user, breathing in the second-hand tobacco smoke.