Electronic cigarette: a Remedy or a Threat

As the controversy and heated debates around electronic cigarettes is growing rapidly, we decided to write an article, reviewing the majority of written material published in the web.

Summing up that material we can say that there are two major parties in the discussions over the e-cigarettes. One party, the general public, who tried the devices, consider the electronic cigarettes to be the most effective way to get rid of smoking, while the other party, public health scientists and officials express their concerns, saying that the devices have not been tested and proved safe for consumption.

So, let us review the advantages and the disadvantages of electronic cigarettes:

Advantages of e-cigarettes:
• Electronic cigarette are not covered by bans on smoking in public places, implemented in the majority of U.S. states, so they can be used everywhere.
• Do not provide second-hand smoke, harmful to people around the smoker, only have a odorless vapor mimicking the cigarette smoke.
• Electronic cigarettes are environment-friendly, as there are no cigarette butts or ash, and the batteries used in e-cigarettes are recyclable.
• While some brands provide refill cartridges with a certain amount of nicotine, other brands offer nicotine-free cartridges that only contain liquid propylene glycol to mimic cigarette smoke.
• Electronic cigarettes are not flammable, so they would not cause fires in contrast to cigarettes.
• Whereas common smoking cessation therapies satisfy only physiological part of smoking habit, electronic cigarettes resemble conventional cigarettes in appearance, so they could satisfy the psychological part as well.

Disadvantages of e-cigarettes:
• There is no reliable evidence that consumption of liquid and heated nicotine is safe for health.
• Some brands still offer cartridges with nicotine, which is an addictive substance.
• Electronic cigarette are prohibited in several countries, including Australia, Brazil, Panama, Canada, and Singapore, so there is a possibility to be fined if caught using an e-cig in these countries.

We intentionally did not mention the point regarding the composition of the liquid contained in electronic cigarettes, because it is the most controversial point in the issue with these devices.

Last year, The Food and Drug Administration experts have analyzed the contents of 18 cartridges of electronic cigarettes produced by the leading sellers. They found Dyethylene glycol in one of the samples, and tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNA) were discovered in all samples produced by one company, and two of the other company. The scientists were also concerned that the amount of nicotine in the cartridges was higher than that indicated on the packages of the samples.

So, the FDA hastened to release a statement, warning people that electronic cigarettes may pose more health risks than usual tobacco products, what has been massively criticized by the users of these devices.

Concluding this article, we should admit that there is no proof that electronic cigarettes represent a threat for their consumers, or they are an effective help in smoking cessation. But some benefits of these devices appear to be very clear – electronic cigarette do not produce second hand smoke, and they do not contain tar, hazardous to humans. So, it is up to you to decide whether to try this product, not approved by any reliable public health organization, but tremendously popular among thousands of people around the world.

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