Created in 2003 by Hon Lik, the electronic cigarette is a device that enabled numerous smokers to reduce and even stop smoking.
4000 harmful and deadly products traditional cigarettes have.
The e-liquid's neutral base is made from propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin and pharmaceutical-grade nicotine, and does not pose any risk for your health as these compounds are common consumer products.
Propylene glycol, for example, is used in:
- Food industries (ready-made meals)
- Pharmaceutical industries (medicine)
- Smoke machines
- Textile industries (polyester manufacturing)
As for vegetable glycerin (or glycerol), it is also used in many daily products such as toothpastes, soaps and even some medicine.
Finally, the nicotine contained in the e-cigarette liquids is found in such a small quantity (2%, the limit authorised by French law) that it is not harmful to your health.
However, it is necessary to carefully handle your nicotined e-liquids because they can be toxic if they stay in a prolonged contact with your skin or eyes. Protect yourself if you make your own e-liquids (DIYing) and keep your bottles out of children's reach.
Are electronic cigarettes carcinogenic?
Many serious studies have been made up to this day. Even if we lack the hindsight at the moment to draw any definitive conclusions, these studies have agreed that electronic cigarettes are not carcinogenic and that it is infinitely less dangerous for your body and health than tobacco cigarettes, which kill tens of thousands of Frenchmen every year.
Furthermore, prominent doctors and professors such as Drs Dautzenberg and Farsalinos have said to be in favour of the electronic cigarette as a reliable, efficient and safe method to quit smoking.
Finally, you certainly know about 'passive smoking', but there is no scientific proof indicating any confirmed 'passive vaping'. However, common decency and courtesy should encourage you to avoid using any electronic cigarettes in enclosed or tight areas, especially if surrounded by children and non-vapers!
Are electronic cigarettes dangerous for your health?
These last few years have seen a tremendous growth for e-cigarettes. But beyond its popularity, it is essential to know its effects on your health. The chemistry of the inhaled compounds and their harmfulness are central to this debate, which opposes two sides.
The e-cigarette is presented by its partisans as less harmful than classic cigarettes, since it is first and foremost the tobacco smoke's contents that cause the more or less severe health problems. They add that the nicotine inhaled with an e-cigarette is more enjoyable and certainly as efficient as nicotine substitutes in regards to quitting tobacco.
Its detractors, for their part, argue that the total absence of dangers linked to inhaling the electronic cigarette's substances has not clearly been demonstrated yet.
Let's see the potential effects of e-cigarettes on your...
If recent studies have still not demonstrated with certitude that electronic cigarettes are harmless, they admit however that the vapour it produces is less harmful than tobacco smoke - for the body in general and lungs in particular - as they contain fewer chemicals and in weaker doses. E-liquids are free from tar and carbon monoxide, for example. This reduction in potentially carcinogenic toxic products is evaluated at around 97% among vapers compared to smokers.
The link between the development of respiratory diseases such as asthma or chronic bronchitis and tobacco use has clearly been established in scientific studies, whereas some studies have shown clear improvement of the respiratory physiology among people who have swapped classic cigarettes for electronic cigarettes.
The main danger that can occur when vaping is caused by the e-liquid's toxicity (particularly the flavours that make them up) and heating temperature. However, public health authorities agree that e-cigarettes are far less dangerous than tobacco's effects on certain organs, notably the heart. On one hand, contrary to tobacco, vaping does not modify the myocardial function. On the other hand, if smoking tobacco has negative effects on the pulse rate and arterial pressure, vaping an e-cigarette only produces a tiny increase (around 4%) of the diastolic arterial pressure.
This limited dangerousness comes from the fact that the vapour produced by electronic cigarettes only contains a fraction of the highly toxic substances generated when heating tobacco. Furthermore, devices that allow the absorption of nicotine without any combustion, such as electronic cigarettes, could strongly limit the damages provoked by tobacco combustion on bodily functions, including the cardiovascular system. Finally, e-cigarettes can reduce the risks linked to tobacco, as you decrease the time and amount of tobacco smoked and the risk of suffering from a heart problem.
The vapour produced by e-cigarettes does not contain any carbon monoxide and therefore has no effect on the brain's oxygenation. According to some studies, the risk of stroke or embolism is not -or very weakly- linked to electronic cigarettes since it is not the nicotine that causes these health issues but the other compounds found in tobacco. Still according to these studies, there is no known neurological effect to date from e-cigarettes save for a drop in glucose in the brain (but all sources of nicotine create the same effect) along with the possible development or maintenance of a nicotine dependency.
Smoking has harmful effects on oral health, such as gum infection, bleeding, caries, yellowing, dental plaque, taste loss, and even throat, mouth, tongue or lip cancer. Smokers who wish to switch to e-cigarettes can avoid or considerably reduce these risks, since e-cigarettes do not contain any tar and do not give off any deleterious gas.
Are electronic cigarettes dangerous for pregnant women?
It is certain that a lot of future mothers opt for electronic cigarettes to give up classic cigarettes. This vaping device enables them to moderate their nicotine level and avoids them inhaling carbon monoxide and tar. It can certainly be efficient for this purpose, but study results to date recommend pregnant women to avoid vaping altogether. You must not forget that e-cigarette liquids contain vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, nicotine, flavourings and even a bit of alcohol, which is not recommended during pregnancy, even if it is present in a low quantity.
Can electronic cigarettes affect children's health?
As you will see in the following paragraph, any risks of passive vaping are near inexistent without any combustion. However, because e-cigarette vapour contains a potentially harmful substance (formaldehyde), at a much lesser concentration than in cigarette smoke however, it is better to avoid vaping around children.
On top of that, despite the fact that any rigorously reliable information is available yet about this subject, the small drops of liquid suspended in the gas produced by the e-cigarettes can cause throat and mouth irritations to children. It is also important to make sure the e-liquid does not come into contact with a child's skin, or worse swallowed.
What about passive vaping?
Contrarily to tobacco, breathing e-cigarette vapour shows little risk for the vaper's adult entourage, because this vapour disperses in the air within 30 seconds. The risk of unintended inhaling is thus limited. In contrast, the smoke produced by a classic cigarette takes about 20 minutes to disperse. You also need to know that e-cigarette vapour contains a dozen of chemical compounds at the most, opposed to tobacco's 80. On top of that, most of the e-liquid's substances are currently used in the pharmaceutical and food industries. The few toxic chemicals (such as formaldehyde) are only created if the e-liquid is strongly heated. To minimise this risk, you simply need to make sure the tank is always full and that the battery heats reasonably.