Vaping may be a fad you're on board with, making fun of or have no clue about. The polarity around this huge trend is just as electric as the cigarettes with facts and statistics coming out every month saying something different. While vapers claim e-cigarettes are healthier than smoking, other's are saying it's not the whole truth.
E-cigarettes are electronic canisters filled with nicotine liquid that's heated to produce a vapor for smokers to inhale. This has been dubbed "vaping" with those partaking in it known as "vapers". It's become popular because of custom and indie vape shops producing different vape device designs and flavored liquid with various levels of nicotine. Some devices look remarkable like cigarettes while others differ greatly. And because it's water vapor, it doesn't have the same smell or negative connotations as regular smoking.
Or at least, it didn't. These days most people associate vaping with smoking and a lot of places have banned vaping to avoid public confusion with regular smoking. These include public transit, airplanes and many restaurant and businesses. The debate is strong on both sides but the real question is - are e-cigarettes as dangerous as regular ones?
Why People Smoke
There are a number of reasons why people begin to smoke. You've probably heard them all argued against from anti-smoking campaigns or talked about by friends who have the habit. But smoking has been a part of social culture since 500 BC.
Native Americans have been smoking tobacco and other herbs for centuries for spiritual, cultural and medicinal purposes. The act was introduced along with the plant to Europe by Christopher Columbus and it made it's way around the world. Smoking was prevalent in other cultures too, just in different ways. Cannabis was popular in the Middle East and Opium spread from China. When the world connected after the first World War, smoking pipes and cigars spread socially and culturally.
Because life expectancy went up in the 20th century, the same time smoking became more widespread, marketers began advertising the "great health benefits". Despite findings as early as 1929 about the dangers of tobacco smoking, it wasn't until the 50's that America finally cut back.
So why do we still smoke today? Well society standings aside, tobacco contains nicotine which is highly addictive. Even though some may want to stop, they find it hard to.
The Switch to Electronic
The idea of electronic smoking has been around since the 1930s but it wasn't until 2003 when a pharmacist in China developed an electronic cigarette that they came to market. The whole history on them is a long battle between "is this smoking?" and "how do we regulate it" which you can read here
. The main take is that electronic cigarettes let people smoke without the harmful, well, smoke.
What The Studies Show
While many are using e-cigarettes to quit regular smoking, one has to wonder how far a step down it actually is. This safety evaluation
of the health and risks looks at numerous studies to compare and evaluate validity of health for vapers. Here's the good and bad of it.
The GoodThere are far less chemicals found in the liquid in e-cigarettes than a regular cigarette. Many of the cancer-causing chemicals typically found in smoking were not there or were in much lower levels deemed not to be harmful.Based on a 15-a-day smoking habit, e-cigarettes have a 1800 times lower nicotine exposure rate than regular smoking.The vapor released contains 6-18 times lower particle count than regular cigarettes, making them "cleaner".There were lower adverse effects with vapor on lungs and respiratory system than typically seen with regular smoking.
The BadNicotine levels can be up to 121% higher than what's claimed on the label.While certain chemicals used in the liquid are FDA approved like food-flavoring, there's been very little research in what these chemical do and how they react in the body after being heated and inhaled as opposed to ingested. Cough was recorded as a side-effect of vaping.Studies are very young and cannot reveal long-term effects.
One of the biggest concerns for e-cigarettes was the inability to know what's in them. At least with cigarettes people knew what they were putting in their body and we had science so the choice, albeit skewed by drug addiction, was in the hands of a knowledgeable smoker. With vaping, people were and are still concerned about the ingredients and their interaction with the components of the machine parts. The good news is that the FDA acquired all oversight for e-cigarettes including the liquid and devices. Much the way that cigarettes are now heavily regulated and riddled with warnings, it's safe to suspect vaping to go the same way. The popularity of it and the concern of the public (and the amount of money businesses stand to lose or gain) are pushing for more studies on everything for this hobby so there should be more information regarding true health effects in the very near future. Along with less false claims or underage vaping.
To Quit or Not To Quit
There is also the matter of addiction. Many people turn to e-cigarettes as a way to cut back or quit smoking. While they may stop using regular tobacco products, there are still receiving nicotine when they vape. Many consider the form of nicotine to be more addictive and, as stated above, sometimes in higher concentrations than they realize. While the cited study above says that nicotine alone doesn't appear to have any strong adverse health problems, it's still an addiction that has it's own demands and monetary responsibilities. According to this study
, nicotine's effect on the body only lasts about 2 hours making it a constant and daily need. People aren't "quitting" then, simply trading down for something healthier. Nicotine is also tied to risky development in pregnancy and effects brain development all through adolescence.
If you do make the move to e-cigarettes, make sure to go with a trusted brand. There are plenty of sites to help you make the switch over. If you'd rather quit altogether, we've got our own category
to help you stop smoking.
So, are you on the side of vaping or prefer other methods of quitting? Let us know what you think about today's article by dropping us on line on our Facebook
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