The popularity of e-cigarettes has exploded in recent years, and health professionals and regulators are working furiously to keep themselves and the public accurately informed on these nicotine products. The industry has now topped $2 billion, and the debates over the benefits and possible health effects of e-cigs are gaining more and more prominence as the products are become more widely and aggressively marketed.
The health risks of smoking are obvious and serious, and any pulmonologist will stress the harmful and even deadly consequences. However, the evidence is less clear regarding e-cigarettes, and some medical experts are wary to endorse them.
Data collected on e-cigarettes so far seem to suggest that they do avoid some of the drawbacks of smoking traditional cigarettes. The nicotine cartridges used for “vaping,” as smoking e-cigs is called, does not generate the same toxic chemicals released when conventional tobacco is burned. Bystanders as well as smokers can benefit from the reduction in second-hand smoke. Many users also report a greatly decreased use of conventional tobacco products, and some intentionally purchase e-cigs to help them quit altogether.
One of the main worries of opponents is the sheer lack of knowledge on the long term health effects of these vaporizers. Since they are not marketed as cessation tools, no governmental body or other official organization in the United States formally regulates their production. Also, while the cartridges may not contain the same additives as regular tobacco, the nicotine in them is still addictive.
More and more studies are being initiated to more thoroughly examine the possible effects of e-cigarette consumption. As new findings begin to emerge and more public health officials voice their opinions, the fierce debate is sure to continue. Consult a pulmonologist or other physician for a professional opinion on the use of e-cigs.
To learn more about the effects of e-cigarettes or for resources on how to stop smoking, browse our extensive library of articles in our resources section.