E-cigarettes employ a mechanism to heat up liquid nicotine, which turns into a vapor that smokers inhale and exhale, a process known as ‘vaping’.
As e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco and tar, they are currently marketed as healthier alternatives to conventional cigarette smoking.
However, recent studies have shown that people who smoke electronic cigarettes could be putting themselves at greater risk than regular smokers. This is because people who smoke e-cigarettes may inhale higher concentrations of nicotine and other toxins.
Researchers at New York University claim that e-cigarette smokers may absorb higher levels of harmful chemicals than those who smoke traditional cigarettes due to the ‘frequency of puffing’ and ‘depth of inhalation.’ In addition, surveys have shown that people who have never smoked traditional cigarettes are now starting to smoke e-cigarettes.
As there is currently no long-term study that demonstrates the health benefits derived from smoking e-cigarettes versus traditional cigarettes, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that “consumers should be strongly advised not to use electronic cigarettes until a reputable national regulatory body has found them safe and effective.”
It said, “The safety of electronic cigarettes has not been scientifically demonstrated [and] the potential risks they pose for the health of users remain undetermined. Furthermore, scientific testing indicates that the products vary widely in the amount of nicotine and other chemicals they deliver and there is no way for consumers to find out what is actually delivered by the product they have purchased.”
Dr Deepak Saxena, Associate Professor of Basic Science and Craniofacial Biology, said: “The issue is urgent as a recent survey conducted among students at eight U.S. colleges found that 12% of e-cig users had never smoked a conventional cigarette.”
Despite what manufacturers claim about e-cigarettes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American Lung Association have cautioned that e-cigarette users are unknowingly inhaling chemicals that may be harmful for the body. In addition, each nicotine cartridge in an e-cigarette can provide 200 to 400 puffs, equivalent to two to three packs of cigarettes.