Are E-Cigarettes Just As Harmful as Tobacco Cigarettes?


Recent reports suggest that E-cigarettes are a safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. However according to new research, that may not be the case. Some of the popular flavors contain chemicals that can potentially harm our bodies.

The Nicotine vapor in E-cigarettes is inhaled by smokers when they draw on the device, as they would a regular cigarette. E-cigarettes are flooding the market and are claiming to be a better substitute to tobacco cigarettes--but are they just blowing smoke?

E-cigarettes and vaping products do not contain or burn tobacco—so they’re not going to create the levels of chemicals that we see in cigarette smoke. So in that sense, you can say that E-cigarettes and vaping products could be a safer alternative for smokers to switch to... a harm reduction type of tool, for smokers who haven’t been able to successfully quit smoking.

On the flip side, studies have come out showing that it is better than smoking traditional cigarettes, calling them a premium, US- based, water-based vapor. No tar, carcinogens or any other disgusting toxins that are put in cigarettes. E-cigs are strictly water vapor.

They come in mouth-watering flavors of delicious chocolate, cola and pina colada AND there are no calories in vapor!!! The research team at Harvard School of Public Health tested 51 of these vapor flavors--39 of them included a common flavoring chemical called diacetyl, which has been associated with a chronic disease called ‘popcorn lung.’ This is the same chemical used in flavoring buttered popcorn. The concern is that the levels of these specific chemicals that are present should be listed.

After speaking to Dr. Olivia Wackowski of Rutgers University, she mentioned that they are looking for the presence of potential toxins like tobacco, like aldehydes or formaldehyde would be one example. Volatile organic compounds such as benzene and pyrene. Even heavy metals—because products such as these have metal parts in them.

E-cigarette use has skyrocketed over the last few years, with an estimated one-in-ten Americans now regularly vaping. The concern is that we know very little about these chemicals that are used in e-cigarettes and yet we have widespread exposure to them.

We do know that they contain certain types of toxins and chemicals, although at this point the levels within them seems to be much lower than what we see in cigarette smoke. However, with these products being so new, we don’t know if there any potential long term health risks. As far as some short term health risks, we do know that most of these products contain nicotine, so we know that a very highly addictive chemical.

We have also seen a rise in the popularity of vaping throughout Hollywood. The preferences of celebrities who choose to smoke have a clear influence on our culture, especially among adolescents. Even our seniors are loving this new trend of vaping!

Vincent Pacera of Elite Smoke Shop in Howell told me about how seniors have taken a huge liking to vaping. Their clientele is somewhere between 25 and up. They just want to start on a new path as they are tired of smoking cigarettes.

Like other industries, smoking is moving towards the direction of new technology. However, it threatens to reverse the hard-fought war against smoking. Despite the lack of proof of the safety of vaping e-cigarettes, their popularity is growing exponentially. However, future investigation may find the long term effects on vapor cigarette users, no better than tobacco.

For more on this story, check out the link above from 'Jersey Matters' WJLP New York/New Jersey.

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    Created by Kimberly J. Kravitz