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Are E-Cigarettes the Healthier Alternative to Cigarettes?

Wednesday 9 September 2020
Smoking

Table of Contents


I. What are E-Cigarettes?

II. How do E-Cigarettes Work?

III. Long-Term Effects of E-Cigarettes

IV. The Vaping Dilemma

V. Are They Healthier Than Cigarettes?

VI. How to Quit E-Cigarettes


What are E-Cigarettes?

Since e-cigarettes came onto the market, there have been many misconceptions about these devices. E-cigarettes are known by several names, including e-cigs, e-hookahs, vapes, vape pens, mods, or tank systems. These devices come in different shapes and sizes, and the health effects of these devices are currently under heavy investigation and study.

The health and safety of e-cigarettes is a hot topic in the medical community. The majority of e-cigarettes are packed with nicotine, so the side effects are similar to those of tobacco cigarettes. E-cigarettes may not be as packed with chemicals as cigarettes, but that does not mean that they are harmless. E-cigarettes can become addictive and cause respiratory disorders, and people may need to take prescription medications like bupropion, Chantix, and clonidine to help their nicotine addiction. Read on to learn more about e-cigarettes and how they compare to tobacco cigarettes. [1] 

How do E-Cigarettes Work?

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat liquid into an aerosol. This aerosol can be inhaled and exhaled by the user. This liquid is often flavored, which appeals to some more than the taste of cigarettes. E-cigarette liquid typically contains nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerin, flavorings, and other chemicals. Research has found that these flavoring chemicals are linked to lung disease. [1]

a person refilling their vape cartridge

Cigarettes are a tightly-rolled bundle of tobacco, and when burned, cigarettes create more than 7,000 chemicals, which your lungs then inhale. Over 69 of these chemicals have been proven to increase a person’s risk of cancer greatly. E-cigarettes may not be as chemically dangerous, but they still contain several substances that are not healthy for the body. Many e-cigarettes contain heavy metals, and these particles can be inhaled deeply into the lungs. [2]

Long-Term Effects of E-cigarettes

Many people have been misinformed about the benefits of e-cigarettes. Contrary to popular belief, e-cigarettes are not recommended as a way to quit cigarette smoking. E-cigarettes are fairly new to the market, and the long-term implications are not fully clear. Researchers think that long-term use of these devices can pose health risks to the users. Recent reports have found that serious lung disease can occur in its users. If you are experiencing lung disease, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting
  • Fever, weight loss, and fatigue
  • Trouble breathing, chest pain, and cough [3]

The Vaping Dilemma

E-cigarettes have become increasingly popular with younger people, which can pose problems for undeveloped brains. JUUL and the use of its copycat variations are on the rise, growing 78 percent among high schoolers and 48 percent in middle schoolers from 2017 to 2018. If young people consistently inhale nicotine and its accompanying chemicals, the brain's nerve cell functioning can alter and change brain chemistry. This can make adolescents more susceptible to other addictive drugs. [4]

a rack full of different e-cigarettes

E-cigarette companies are rebranding cigarettes as sleek "vaping devices." These devices are enticing to younger people, especially adolescents and young adults who are non-smokers. Vaping devices are often appealing to these age groups because they are easy to use and less cumbersome and smelly than cigarettes. E-cigarettes can cause medical and developmental problems in young people, as well as nicotine dependencies. E-cigarettes differ from traditional cigarettes because of the way nicotine is delivered to the body. The liquid chemicals involved with e-cigarettes deliver a bigger dose of nicotine than regular cigarettes. This can cause difficulty with concentration and memory, along with nicotine toxicity. [5]

So... Are They Healthier Than Cigarettes?

Researchers are still looking into this question. Electronic and regular cigarettes have their downsides, but e-cigarettes may be less harmful than traditional cigarettes. This information is to be taken with a grain of salt because doctors and researchers have found that anything that reduces the amount of tobacco you smoke is potentially good. Doctors do not want you to abuse electronic cigarettes, but they may be used briefly to get off traditional cigarettes if done correctly. Of course, all forms of e-cigarettes have the possibility of addiction.

If you are trying to quit cigarettes, it is best to talk to your doctor about the best options. Your doctor will let you know if e-cigarettes may help you while also informing you about the dangers of this method. [6] 

How to Quit E-Cigarettes

Nicotine is highly addictive, so several steps must be taken to live a vape-free lifestyle. There are many reasons to stop smoking. Quitting e-cigarettes can save you money and improve your relationships with your friends and family. Vaping can disrupt everyday life, so it is essential to focus on the positives that will come after you cut this habit out of your life. Medications like Chantix have not been studied for their use in quitting e-cigarettes.

a woman holding a vaping device

Triggers: If you want to kick e-cigarettes, it is important to know any situations that may make you want to vape. It is essential to avoid any situations or scenarios that can trigger you to pick up your device. This is very important in the early stages of the quitting process.

Temptations: It may be a good idea to avoid friends or groups of people that still use e-cigarettes regularly. You may have to temporarily break from these people while you get your nicotine addiction under control.

Prepare for cravings: If you use e-cigarettes regularly, your body becomes reliant on nicotine. Your body will crave this substance, and you will experience withdrawals if you are trying to cut vaping out of your life. Having strategies for handling nicotine withdrawal will help you stop using e-cigarettes. You may find it helpful to seek counseling and talk to your doctor about other methods to quit nicotine, like nicotine gum or hypnotherapy. [7]

The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.