The harmful effects of smoking cigarettes have been well established. Electronic cigarettes, commonly called e-cigarettes, have emerged in the past few years as an alternative to cigarettes. E-cigarettes work by vaporizing a liquid that contains nicotine and flavorings, usually called e-liquid or e-juice. When the vapor is inhaled, nicotine is delivered to the lungs without the user ever inhaling any smoke from burning tobacco.

E-cigarettes have become increasingly popular, especially among adolescents. As more people turn to e-cigarettes as cigarette alternatives, many are beginning to ask if they are safer than traditional cigarettes. While vaping is generally considered to be less harmful than smoking, use of e-cigarettes is not completely safe.

The harmful effects of cigarette smoke

Cigarettes contain around 600 chemicals. When burned, more than 7000 chemicals are produced and then inhaled into the lungs. At least 69 of these chemicals have been linked to cancer. Cigarettes smoke has also been linked to other health problems, like heart disease and diabetes.

The chemicals in e-juice

The chemicals in e-juice (for example slim’s ejuice) vary between flavors and brands, but all varieties contain fewer chemicals than traditional cigarettes. While many of these chemicals are not considered to be dangerous, small amounts of carcinogens, heavy metals, and metal particles have been found in commercially available e-juice. Even though there is no burning tobacco, certain chemicals found in e-juice decompose when exposed to the heating element in the vaporizer, producing potentially harmful chemicals like formaldehyde.

Since e-cigarettes are relatively new, the long term effects of their use is not completely understood. In general, inhaling chemicals and particles into the deep lung on a regular basis can pose a health risk.

Is nicotine safe?

Nicotine is the chemical that makes traditional and e-cigarettes addictive. It produces a relaxing or stimulating effect in the user. Nicotine can elevate blood pressure and complicate diabetes. Nicotine exposure has also been linked to sudden infant death. The brain continues to develop into adolescence, and nicotine exposure has been found to interfere with brain development. Therefore, it is especially important that younger people, through adolescence, avoid nicotine from any source.

E-cigarettes come with a new danger: nicotine poisoning. If the e-juice is swallowed or spread on the skin, the levels of nicotine entering the body can be toxic. Early signs of nicotine ingestion include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure, and confusion. At high enough doses, it can cause coma and death.

The verdict on e-cigarettes

In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration determined that e-cigarette regulation falls under their jurisdiction. Studies of e-cigarettes and their effects have determined that e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, since there are fewer chemicals in e-juice vapor than in tobacco smoke. However, e-cigarettes should not be considered completely safe. E-juice has been found to contain chemicals which can be harmful when inhaled into the deep lung. It is especially important that younger people avoid nicotine from any source, since it can be harmful to fetuses and adolescents.