The Dangers of Electronic Cigarettes
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) were developed to provide tobacco users with a smoke-free source of nicotine, an addictive stimulant that is present in tobacco. Originally marketed as being safer than traditional cigarettes, these devices function by heating a flavored liquid that is then inhaled by a user (vaping). Unlike conventional cigarettes, e-cigarettes do not burn anything, so they do not release any smoke into the lungs of those who use them.
For this reason, researchers initially believed that a puff on an e-cigarette was much less toxic than a puff on a regular cigarette. But, this was before the toxicity of e-cigarette vapors was studied in depth. Emerging data shows that users of e-cigarettes actually inhale very high levels of nanoparticles, which can trigger inflammation and also have been linked to many serious and chronic health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and asthma.
Additionally, e-cigarette vapors have been found to contain at least trace amounts of the solvents in which the nicotine and flavorings were dissolved, which are known lung irritants. Even more troubling, the heat produced by an e-cigarette can trigger a thermal breakdown of these solvents, causing them to transform into toxic and cancer-causing chemicals like formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, which can then become deposited into the lungs’ smallest and deepest airways. In fact, if a user maximizes the power of an e-cigarette while using a vaping liquid that contains a common solvent mixture of glycerin and propylene glycol, the resulting level of formaldehyde is roughly equivalent to that found in tobacco smoke.
Scientists have also found that some dangerous germs produce a thick, protective biofilm coating when exposed to the nicotine-rich vapors produced by e-cigarettes. As a result of this response, the bacteria become resistant to antibiotics and more difficult to destroy. This can promote the spread of infection.
Since the introduction of vaping products, their use has steadily increased, and if it continues at the current pace, it could surpass that of traditional cigarettes within the next 10 years. Many people continue to erroneously believe that vaping is safer than smoking, but there is simply no data to back that up. If you have questions about e-cigarettes or would like help with smoking cessation, you can call or visit the healthcare professionals at South Tampa Immediate Care.