Smoking cigarettes is dangerous, that much is an established fact. Even small children know the many dangers that can be caused by smoking. But, are electronic cigarettes just as dangerous? Are there real dangers involved?
Most of the ardent and very vocal fans of e-cigs are quick to say there are fewer dangers, but how true are those claims? There are some interesting facts that people need to know before they start trying e-cigarettes on their own.
Know the Chemicals and Ingredients
For the most part, electronic cigarettes are made of various plastic parts and a battery. In addition, certain liquids are used to create the vapor that is used to mimic the actions and sensations of smoking. Propylene glycol is used in a number of different applications, including in cosmetics, toothpaste, shampoo and hand sanitizers. In addition, this chemical is used to make paint balls and de-ice airplane wings. But, propylene glycol, which is used in other food grade applications, is much safer than another chemical that has been found in certain e-cigarette brands. That chemical, diethylene glycol, is a major component of antifreeze and is highly toxic. Make sure that you know which chemical is being used in your brand of e-cigarettes before you buy.
The Question of Nicotine
There is a raging debate about nicotine. On one side, people are saying that nicotine is not the reason that cigarettes are dangerous and that it is perfectly safe. On the other side, people are saying that all nicotine, no matter where it is coming from or how it is delivered, is dangerous and addictive. Because there is no definitive answer on whether or not nicotine is harmful, let’s err on the side of caution and say that it is.
We know that cigarettes contain nicotine and a number of other chemicals. But what about electronic cigarettes?
Some brands offer zero nicotine flavors, and others not only offer zero but several levels of nicotine as well. You can gradually decrease the amount of nicotine that you are getting slowly if you would like to cut down.
The problem with electronic cigarettes and nicotine is simple: there is very little regulation for how much is actually contained in each one or each brand. While you might buy the lower level in one brand, who is to say it won’t be too much? Nicotine levels varies dramatically from brand to brand, and you might not know how each will affect you until you give them a try.
The Question of Other Flavors
One of the things that attract some smokers or former smokers to e-cigs are the many flavors that are offered by various brands. Critics say that those flavors might lead non smokers to take up the e-cigarette habit and that they may lure teens or children with flavors that sound like candy. Realistically, it is unlikely that many people will really find themselves rushing to get to certain flavors just because of their name. Some of the flavor packages are fairly pricey, so it is not likely that many children or young people are going to be getting them easily.
Smokers are finding themselves with fewer and fewer places to smoke. Did you know that in some places you might not even be considered for certain jobs if you are a smoker? But the problem doesn’t just stop with where you are allowed to smoke- there are other issues as well.
Smokers have to pay more for health insurance than nonsmokers do. But, so far, there are no such problems for the electronic cigarette users because they are not technically “smoking”. While there are some critics who are demanding that more legislation be written about them, so far, e-cigarette users are relatively safe from these problems.
On the opposite side of the coin, electronic cigarettes are facing a class action lawsuit because of some claims about false advertisement linked to the marketing of certain brands.
What about Physical Safety of the Electronic Cigarettes Themselves?
Finally, there is physical safety. While a cigarette can cause burns if you drop it or can cause house fires if you fall asleep while one is lit, the electronic cigarette stops heating as soon as the action of the draw is ceased.
Simply put, if you drop the e-cig, no big deal. You can plop it down and it won’t burn up the bed or the furniture because no one is activating the heating element. However, there was a report of an electronic cigarette with a faulty battery that blew up in a man’s face. That man in Florida lost a few of his front teeth, a good chunk of his tongue and suffered from severe burns on his face. In addition, his carpet, some chair cushions and some other items in his home were burned and damaged in this isolated, freak accident.