Electronic cigarettes hit the market in 2007 and have increased in popularity ever since, largely because people think that they are safer than smoking regular cigarettes and the many flavors you can choose from. But are e-cigarettes a better and safer option for smokers? The opinion is divided and while some doctors say they’re safer, e-cigarettes could come with their set of health risks. Because e-cigarettes haven’t been around for long enough, it’s difficult to deduce the effects of long-term usage.
The Difference Between Electronic And Normal Cigarettes
The two work on very different principles. E-cigarettes use heat from a battery to produce a vapor from a flavored liquid that contains nicotine. Users simulate the effect of smoking by inhaling the vapor, a practice known as “vaping.” The long-term health effects of vaping are unknown. Cigarettes, on the other hand, are currently the No. 1 preventable cause of death in the United States.
The problem with cigarettes is you can’t just smoke nicotine when you light one.
The Nicotine Effect
The one thing common to both traditional and e-cigarettes is their nicotine content. But e-cigarettes contain between one-third to one-half as much as traditional ones. Nicotine is linked to multiple health problems, including increased heart rate, constriction of the blood vessels (which could lead to heart disease), peptic ulcers, erectile dysfunction, premature birth and sudden infant death syndrome. Not to mention nicotine is the reason why you’re addicted to smoking in the first place.
E-Cigarette Usage Stats
More than 2 million middle and high school students were current users of e-cigarettes in
11% of high school and 4.3% of middle school students were current users of e-cigarettes in 2016.
E-cigarette use rose from 1.5% to 16.0% among high school students and from 0.6% to 5.3% among middle school students from 2011 to 2015.
In 2013-2014, 81% of current youth e-cigarette users cited the availability of appealing flavors as the primary reason for use.
Can Vaping Help You Quit Smoking?
Some doctors do not discourage their patients from using e-cigarettes to quit smoking if all other quitting mechanisms have failed. However, doctors prefer other replacement therapies better. Most doctors have reservations about e-cigarettes because FDA does not list e-cigarettes as an approved method of smoking cessation.
The FDA approves using certain prescription medications, as well as over-the-counter products such as skin patches, lozenges, and gum. If you do decide to use e-cigarettes to help you quit smoking, you should stop using them as soon as you feel confident you have kicked the habit.
The FDA’s Position On E-Cigarettes
In 2016, FDA finalized a rule extending Center for Tobacco Products’s (CTP) regulatory authority to cover all tobacco products, including electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) that meet the definition of a tobacco product. FDA now regulates the manufacture, import, packaging, labeling, advertising, promotion, sale, and distribution of ENDS, including components and parts of ENDS but excluding accessories.
Examples of components and parts of ENDS include:
A glass or plastic vial container of e-liquid
Cartomizers and clearomizers
Digital display or lights to adjust settings
Flavorings for ENDS
However, products marketed for therapeutic purposes (for example, marketed as a product to help people quit smoking) are regulated by the FDA through the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). Beginning in 2018, the FDA has also stated that all newly-regulated “covered” tobacco products must bear the required nicotine addictiveness warning statement on product packages and advertisements.