Apr 20, 2019 | Updated: 02:21 PM EDT

E-Cigarettes: Vaporizing the Competition

Mar 17, 2019 10:22 AM EDT

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E-cigarette user
(Photo : Image by Vapping360 from Flickr)

We are all familiar with the dangers of traditional cigarettes. And with the increasing bans worldwide on smokers it is no wonder e-cigarettes, more commonly known as vape or vaping, are beginning to be the go to alternative for smokers. But is it truly a healthier alternative?

Public health experts say, yes, citing it as 95 percent less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes. However, unlike traditional cigarettes, this is a market that is relatively young, with few long-term studies in existence discussing the negatives behind vaping. At the same time, there are plenty of statistics stating the differences between the e-cigarette's vapor and traditional tobacco cigarette's smoke, with vaping being hailed as a drastically safer alternative. Studies have proven that cigarette smoke contains over 7000 chemicals and 79 carcinogens. While e-cigarettes contain no tobacco whatsoever. In fact, e-cigarette vapor contains no carbon monoxide, 98 percent less metals, 98 percent less carbonyls, 98 percent less tobacco specific nitrosamines, 98 percent less volatile organic compounds and 98 to 99 percent less polyaromatics. In vitro studies conducted in test tubes have concluded that e-cigarette vapor is 98 percent less toxic to cells than traditional cigarette smoke.

With potential evidence that e-cigarettes are somewhat harmless to the person vaping, what about people that come into contact with the vape? Is there a dangerous element to passive or second-hand vaping? Studies are showing that not only is second hand vaping non-existent, vaping actually has no effect whatsoever on the immediate atmosphere, as 97 percent of the vapor is water and is dissolves into the air within 10 to 15 seconds.

But are e-cigarette users completely in the clear when it comes to the side effects of vaping? Igor Burstyn of Drexel University reviewed over 9000 different measurements of the chemicals in e-cigarettes from a wide variety of sources. He specifically looked at contaminants associated with a risk to health, and compared the values observed to the standards set for occupational workplace safety. The results analyzed the amount of these contaminants an e-cigarette user is deliberately exposed to through vaping. The conclusion: if these were an involuntary exposure in a workplace, taking place over decades, they would not justify any attention. Indeed, the values obtained were between one percent and five percent of the levels needed to cause a health concern in a workplace. Because vapor expelled by the user is immediately diluted by the ambient air, the risk to bystanders is 1/100th to 1/1000th compared to smoke. That is, essentially zero. What about the nicotine content in e-cigarettes? Although vaping will introduce nicotine to the human body, it is not a health concern beyond its stimulant effects. As stimulants can potentially harm individuals with cardiovascular disease due to the increase in blood pressure and heart rate.

As a cheaper, safer and increasingly readily available alternative to traditional cigarettes, it would appear that vaping certainly has a bright future ahead. In turn, it is safe to say that the market for traditional cigarettes could eventually go up in smoke.

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