At first glance most people would think that they are smokes, but as soon as you crack one open, you can see what separates an electronic cigarette from its tobacco filled counterpart. This scientific breakthrough uses a microscopic heating system to heat nicotine into a vapor form that users can enjoy without the risks of inhaling tobacco and tar. What are e-cigs all about? Are they safe? Are they addictive? What does the medical field have to say about them? In the paragraphs to follow we will attempt to answer these questions while giving an in-depth look at this new phenomenon. |
E-cigs were introduced in the United States in 2007. With zero first or second hand smoke being produced by them, they are definitely much more widely accepted than their tar-stained predecessors. Manufacturers and satisfied customers alike say that former smokers that use these products feel healthier, have more energy, and experience many benefits compared to traditional smoking. Still, the question remains, are they safe? The devices dispense a somewhat concentrated form of liquid nicotine by converting it to various aromas of sweet smelling water vapor.
As mentioned previously, the electronic cigarette looks just like a tobacco filled one. Instead of burning anything, however, it uses a battery to power a heating component and heat the vaporization chamber where the liquid nicotine is held. Puffing on the device heats it up. When you inhale, nicotine is released into the lungs. When you exhale, a smokeless vapor is released into the atmosphere. This vapor is perfectly harmless for the environment as well as for anybody that might be in the user's general vicinity. The nicotine levels in the e-cig vary depending on the nicotine cartridge that is used. There are cartridges that offer an amount of nicotine comparable to ultra-light tobacco products. There are cartridges that provide the same amount of nicotine as standard smokes, and there are some cartridges that provide even more nicotine than regular tobacco products. Not only that, but for users that are simply interested in the sensory feel of e-cigs, there are cartridges that do not contain any nicotine at all. Also important to note, the electronic cigarette can be reused again and again. The only thing that has to be replaced is the nicotine cartridge.
Okay, so the question remains, is the electronic cigarette safe? Without a doubt, it is a fair assumption that the e-cig is a much safer alternative to traditional smoking. There is no possible harm to anybody who might inhale second hand vapor. Also, by not taking in tar and tobacco, the risks of lung, throat, and mouth cancer might be diminished. Overall, however, the jury is still out on the effect of nicotine vapor on the lungs and in the bloodstream. There have not been any health-related problems to report since the device's debut in 2007, but there also have not been any medical studies done on the effect of long-term nicotine vapor exposure.
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