by Selina Thor
Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, e-cigs, vaporizers, or vaps, are becoming a new trend to help quit smoking. Electronic cigarettes consist of a battery, heating element, and cartridge. Unlike normal cigarettes, with e-cigarettes you exhale a vapor rather than smoke. Adults of all ages are using a variety of brands, sizes, and styles, with different levels of nicotine in these vaporizers. The nicotine liquids come in thousands of different flavor combinations, and levels of nicotine between 0-24mg.
Jeff Paganini, age 22, smoked cigarettes for six years. He successfully quit smoking and has been using an e-cigarette for six months. The theory that Paganini has, as well as many other e-cigarette smokers, is that you start with a 24 mg nicotine liquid, which is a similar amount of nicotine as a cigarette, and overtime decrease the amount of nicotine until you are using a 0 mg nicotine liquid.
Paganini stated, “It’s really been the nicotine that’s weaned me off cigarettes, you know the step down kind of deal I did. A lot of people in the trade (Local 6 electrical workers union) smoke and it’s a little social smoking kind of deal. Sometimes I still want a real smoke, but I have the willpower now to say no and use my e-cig.”
Paganini explained that the switch from cigarettes to e-cigarettes has given him more energy, as well as being able to breath better with reduced coughing. Although this technique has worked for him, it worries him that there is no real research or extensive knowledge on the effects of e-cigarettes
Currently, there are seven FDA approved medications to help smokers quit. Electronic cigarettes are not yet approved or regulated by the FDA. The FDA began lab tests of e-cigarettes in 2009 and found a multitude of cancer causing chemicals, resulting in the push to start regulating e-cigarettes. The American Lung Association’s Statement on E-Cigarettes addresses the potential harm of secondhand “smoke” in the following excerpt, “Two initial studies have found formaldehyde, benzene and tobacco-specific nitrosamines (a carcinogen) coming from those secondhand emissions. Other studies have shown that chemicals exhaled by users also contain formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and other potential irritants. While there is a great deal more to learn about these products, it is clear that there is much to be concerned about, especially in the absence of FDA oversight.”
Smoking cigarettes have negative effects on your health, but is there any difference in the health of e-cigarette smokers? Dr. Tamra Adams DDS, a general dentist practicing in San Rafael for the last 27 years, claims, “It has not been long enough to be able to observe a change in oral health of an e-cigarette smoker.” Dr. Adams also claims that the negative effects of cigarette smokers are clear and scientifically proven, the only way that we will know if e-cigarettes make a difference is over time.
E-cigarettes may help many people transition from smoking cigarettes to a different lifestyle, but it is still unknown if they have any lasting effects on your health.