E-Cigarettes, Are they safe for your health?
E-cigarettes are becoming popular among people that are trying to quit smoking; however, there are many uncertainties surrounding them. We have researched extensively to answer some of the commonly asked questions about e-cigarettes. Read answers that will help you make an informed decision regarding e-cigarettes and improving your health.
Important topics and questions we’ll cover are:
- Do e-cigarettes contain nicotine and are they FDA regulated?
- Do e-cigarettes contain tobacco?
- Are the chemicals in e-cigarettes dangerous?
- Can e-cigarettes harm teeth and gums; what about lungs?
- Are e-cigarettes a safer alternative to smoking?
Because e-cigarettes have become a popular choice for many, we feel that it’s important you are able to make an informed decision about the long-term effects of your health. Continue reading to learn more about the risks e-cigarettes might pose to your health.
Q: Does the FDA regulate e-cigarettes safety?
A: In 2016, the FDA gained the authority to regulate electronic cigarettes, but they are still not entirely regulated. Manufacturers of e-cigarettes will have two years after registering with the FDA to submit an application to remain in the marketplace. Until then, hundreds of brands and thousands of flavors will remain on the market untested until the FDA can fully evaluate them.
Q: Do e-cigarettes contain nicotine?
A: Nearly all e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is a highly addictive substance that is cause for many health concerns. For instance, nicotine can interfere with fetal development and brain development in youth and can aggravate existing heart conditions. FDA lab tests found that in many situations even cartridges labeled “nicotine-free” had detectable levels of nicotine. An e-cigarette can have 0-72 milligrams of nicotine per milliliter of liquid whereas a traditional cigarette generally has a significantly smaller amount at 10-15 milligrams.
Q: Do electronic cigarettes contain tobacco?
A: No, however, e-cigarettes are still considered a tobacco product by the FDA. E-cigarette cartridges contain nicotine dissolved in a solution of propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin, which are common food additives.
Q: Are there chemical dangerous for my health?
A: Absolutely. Although e-cigarettes don’t burn tobacco, they still contain harmful chemicals. For instance, the Center for Environmental Health found formaldehyde and acetaldehyde in more than half of e-cigarettes tested. These chemicals cause irritation to the eyes and nose and increase the risk of asthma and cancer. Researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health also tested several brands of electronic cigarettes and refill liquids and found that nearly 75% contained the flavoring chemical diacetyl. Diacetyl is linked to Popcorn Lung Disease, a severe respiratory disorder. Until the FDA has fully regulated electronic cigarettes on the marketplace, many harmful chemicals will go untested with no warning to consumers.
Q: Is inhaling vapor harmful to my lungs?
A: It can be. Research shows that electronic cigarette vapor can be toxic to humans. While e-cigarettes do not produce smoke that burns your lungs, the vapor inhaled can diminish lung function, cause cellular changes, and create airway resistance. These have all been reported in patients who use electronic cigarettes. Lab results reveal that cells exposed to electronic cigarette vapor are showing similar unhealthy changes to those exposed to tobacco smoke. Vapor also boosts harmful bacteria in the body and increases overall inflammation of the body. Inflammation causes a weakened immune system creating a higher chance of autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease, diabetes, heart disease, Rheumatoid arthritis and many more.
Q: Can e-cigarettes negatively affect my teeth and gums?
A: Absolutely. Liquid nicotine restricts blood flow to the mouth consequently leading to a dry mouth and foul breath by reducing the production of saliva. Without saliva, bacteria, sugars, and acids have a greater chance to settle on teeth causing decay and periodontal disease.
Q: Are e-cigarettes a safer alternative to smoking? Can they help me quit?
A: The FDA has not approved any electronic cigarette as a safe alternative to smoking nor an effective method to quit smoking. In fact, research shows that nonsmokers who choose to use electronic cigarettes are more likely to begin using traditional cigarettes. On the other hand, there is no stable evidence stating that they are an effective method to quit smoking for existing smokers.
Wishing you health,
Dr. Brad Alderman
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