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Smoking kills… Does "vaping" do the same?

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Let's start with our classical phrase:

Smoking is bad for your health and can cause negative health effects, such as cancer, diseases and death! Kicking the cigarette habit is one of the best things that smokers can do for themselves. Any type of nicotine substitute products, prescription medications and counseling can all help. But what about the newest tobacco substitute, the electronic cigarette? Do they really help rather than harm? Popularity of e-cigarettes are significantly climbing up due to marketing campaigns that actually promote them as a healthier option to the traditional cancer rods. Moreover, the popularity of electronic cigarettes are increasing among ladies and especially teenagers who are looking to experiment smoking. So, let's go ahead and clear the "vape" cloud to reveal the truth behind it.

There is a reason why name e-cigarettes as electronic cancer rods…

Cigarette smoking leads to the death of millions of people every year. Can you think of something that is similar to what you smoke now but only safer? Moreover, if they were also helping you quit the actual cigarette, what would you think?

These words are actually whispered marketing claims of electronic cigarettes.

Electronic cigarettes were initially marketed in 2003, and now the e-cig market reached a market share more than a billion dollars, with hundreds of brands and more than couple million users.

They come in different sizes and colors; if you haven't searched through the market you can hardy imagine how many different types there are in the market. Some are flavored with regular tobacco scent and some taste like fruits or herbs. They don't make you smell like an ashtray, and you can even vape without others noticing. Moreover, they don't stain teeth, so that you wont be blamed. "Vaping", the term for e-cigarette use (¨smoke¨ the vapor), has gained a status because of being ¨healthier¨ than its traditional herbal alternatives. I don't know if this is really true, since the market now has herbal alternative smoking choices. The most problematic issue regarding the natural alternatives is that they produce actual smoke while the herb is burning out. Maybe the questions should be forwarded on the difference between chemical vapor vs. carbon monoxide.

Majority of e-cig users think that vaping doesn't do damage as much as regular smoking, claimed by a study published at American Journal of Preventive Medicine. In the same study, it was shown that most likely young women would use them. On the other hand, e-cigs are becoming more popular with teenagers, irrespective of gender. Additionally, although e-cig users consist of already smokers in majority, there is now a group of nonsmokers in the buyer's isle considering trying. Since the U.S. laws prohibits cigarette selling to people under the age of 21, the teenagers become the target in this market. Hopefully, in some areas selling these to anyone is banned. The type error in the hypothesis of e-cigs is that although they are designed for you to quit or provide you a safer alternative, in the long-run they might make you actual smokers as well, habitually. Aside all the claims and Aristo style hypothesis, the crucial question is not clearly answered: Are e-cigarettes really safe? Or are they just an exchange of an unhealthy habit with a so-called ¨healthy¨ one? A research published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine concluded that electronic cigarettes might really help smokers quit. Although, the conclusion was not clinically relevant when compared with medicinal therapies that are currently in practice. The World Health Organization (WHO), FDA, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are all not sure about their safety, since we do not have long-term follow-up data. All we know currently is that the vape results in a spasm in the airways. All organizations have claims that mention their concerns but when it comes to restriction they stay out of it. Recently, American Cancer Society called for restrictions and FDA is in decision-making process of regulating electronic cigarettes.

- What's an E-cig?

The structure is very simple, although they come in different shapes and sizes there are two main mechanisms. It doesn't matter that some look like cigarettes, pipes or cigars, while others are camouflaged as pens or other more socially acceptable items. There are some bizarre designs hopefully that would make people stay away. Whatever the shape, they all are built as a 2 or 3 parted design having a battery-operated heating component, a replaceable cartridge that contains nicotine and other chemicals, and an atomizer that converts the chemicals into an inhalable vapor. In some designs the atomizer and the cartridge is combined and named as cartomizer. When you start sucking through the mouthpiece, the battery in the further end ignites to heat the atomizer stuck in the poly cloth that encapsulates the vaping liquid in the cartridge compartment. The nicotine including or nicotine free vaping liquid start to vaporize and you basically inhale that. It is not a smoke but a vapor of chemicals. While it depends on the brand and size of the cartridges, an e-cigarette provides 250 to 400 puffs (one real cigarette is about 10-15 drags). Some are disposable some are rechargeable. Refillable cartridges are used in rechargeable ones. Although e-cig companies advice not to refill the cartomizers (pre-assembled atomizer and cartomizer), due to economic reasons people use them in an improper fashion, which may increase their health risks.

The advantage of e-cigs is not having actual tobacco and thousands of chemicals as ingredients that are carcinogenic, which you would get with a traditional cigarette (think ammonia, arsenic, tar). However, the most important ingredient in both versions is nicotine, which can have some nasty long-term effects.

The addictive stimulant, nicotine, causes vasoconstriction (constricts blood vessels) and thus resulting in elevation of blood pressure that in-turn results in limitation of blood flow to the heart.

As I mentioned earlier, there are literature showing nicotine causing airway problems. Despite the lung related diseases nicotine, is also linked to a variety of medical conditions including poor sleepp quality, depression, diabetes and even cancer. Remember our classical phrase again: ¨smoking kills¨. Of course nicotine is not the solely factor that causes these disease, actual smoke has lot of different toxins that makes nicotine's job a little easier! The most problematic part of e-cigs is that you never know how much nicotine you take, especially if you refill the cartridges. Although vape liquid producing companies standardizes the nicotine content in the liquid, cartridge refilling cant be standardized. Not only the amount in the cartridge, but amount of nicotine consumption is even altered with the power in the battery of an e-cig. Since the nicotine content is not standardized, technically you can find nicotine from 1 to 100 milligrams in a simple cartridge. For the ones that do not know, there's about 1-4 milligrams in a traditional cig. An analysis report published by FDA has shown that nicotine doses of between 26.8 and 43.2 micrograms were recorded in each puff. This report also concluded that they have detected nicotine in products that were labeled to be nicotine free.

Since the scientific scale has two trays, researchers remain divided over e-cigarettes' formulations and safeness. Electronic cigarette vaping liquid is usually a mix of water, propylene glycol, and flavoring chemical. Propylene glycol is in our lives as a food preservative in dressings, ice creams, and sauces. On the other part, chemically it is used as an ingredient in antifreezes as well. CDC recognizes propylene glycol as safe when it is used as a food preservative, and WHO officially reports that it is an irritant for the airways.
Now, with the expansion of the market and questions being raised about propylene glycol, the e-cig industry has developed the vegetable glycerin based e-cig or vaping liquid. Don't let the name vegetable deceive you. It still contains the addictive chemical nicotine.

And then there is the possibility of additional chemicals not found to date in e-cigs. FDA witnessed research results showed that some electronic cigarettes contain carcinogens. The main carcinogen was thought to be formaldehyde but the concentrations of formaldehyde and other chemicals seem to be very low when compared with traditional cigarettes. Even though, we still don't really know the clear-cut of long-term health risks regarding e-cig use or its ingredients.

Dangerous trail of the market

Aside from ingredient concerns, another problem is that e-cig firms are marketing to nonsmokers including teenagers. Since it is currently the tobacco in cigarettes that is regulated, presently there is no governmental law regulating the sale of e-cigs to people 18/21 and over. Marketing e-cigs freely to teenagers in-turn increases the market size of e-cigs when compared to traditional ones, and thus will add fortune to the members of the big tobacco lobby. Alongside with other health issues, nicotine can be addictive as cocaine. Many doctors actually worry that the use of e-cigs might lead users to actual smoking. In other words, if people get addicted to nicotine by e-smoking, physically faking the actual smoking act, they might advance to experimenting it with poisonous real cigs.

According to the reports, research estimates show that to date more than 1 million people who didn't smoke has tried vaping through these electronic rods.

Those who desperately want to quit the smoking habit consist majority of the e-cig users, most probably they want to quit but they are afraid of physical withdrawal. Although some research shows that they might be helpful in quitting, to date FDA has not approved them as a quitting tool. A company-funded research stated that about 70 percent of people who substituted their tobacco smoking habit with e-cigs quit smoking after 90 days. A study in the medical journal "The Lancet" claims a more caucious perspective by stating that only 7 percent of e-cigarette users quit actual tobacco cigarettes at the end of 6-month follow-up! Although there is a 7 percent chance they could help quitting entirely and will be protect you from poisonous toxins, they still are equally addictive. They might help you quit within the first year but we still do not know the long-term outcome of going back on the actual habit. But the most important rule is that if you aren't addicted to smoking, you shouldn't start vaping an e-cig!

- Social Smoking is Still Bad!

In addition to beating up your lungs, real cigarettes - even just one - can mess with your body on a cellular level, leading to:

- Infertility

Inhaled cigarette smoke ages your ovaries, impairs estrogen production and damages egg DNA.

It can also lead to infertility and early menopause.

In men, it will decrease the amount and quality of sperm, cause veno-vascular damage resulting in varicocele and thus reduce the fertility index.

Colon Cancer

A woman's risk for colon cancer shoots up 10 percent if she is a smoker, while in men it goes up by about 8 percent.

Breast Cancer


Dirty chemicals in cigarettes may push breast cells toward cancer. A new analysis revealed that women who smoked had 24 percent higher chance of developing the disease, per a study in the "Journal of the National Cancer Institute."

DNA Damage


Researchers in the journal "Stem Cell" found pre-cancerous changes in smokers' lung cells even when chest X-rays were normal.
Translation: Smokers might appear healthy but their cells can tell a more morbid story.

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