Knowledge about the dangers of cigarettes has led to a significant decline in smoking over the past couple of decades, but smoking certainly isn’t a thing of the past. Some people struggle with a smoking habit after years of use while others take up the habit as a lesser evil alternative to drugs or alcohol.
Whatever the reason for smoking, most smokers wish they didn’t do it. Quitting is hard, however, so smokers have turned to a relatively new alternative: e-cigarettes. Some claim e-cigarettes have helped them kick the tobacco habit, but doctors are skeptical of the safety of such a new device. So the question is: are e-cigarettes a viable alternative to smoking, or are they just as dangerous as their tobacco counterparts?
Tobacco Cigarettes vs. e-Cigarettes
Many years ago, no one knew that smoking was dangerous. In fact, cigarettes were once believed to be good for your health. Today we know better, but it just goes to show that without long-term studies on the effects of a substance, it’s impossible to say what the repercussions of using it will be.
Even so, it’s hard to argue that tobacco smoke with all of its cancer-causing chemicals is better than nicotine alone. E-Cigarettes contain vaporized, flavored nicotine. By logical reasoning, it would seem that e-cigarettes are a much safer alternative to tobacco products. While that doesn’t mean they are 100% safe, they may be safer.
Since they are not a tobacco product, e-cigarettes are not regulated by the FDA. That means that minors can legally purchase the device, which can lead to a nicotine addiction. Many people are trying to enact legislation that would limit the sale of e-cigarettes as tobacco products, but since there is no tobacco, this has proven to be a challenge.
Ongoing Uncertainty in the Medical Field
E-Cigarettes have only been in existence for about 15 years, so only limited research exists about the safety of these devices. It is possible that serious, long-term consequences from e-Cigarette use could be lurking around the corner, but until we reach the point of sustained use over many years, we simply don’t know.
Some researchers believe that secondhand vapor could be dangerous, just as secondhand smoke is, while others are skeptical of the possibility. It’s difficult to get definitive answers from anyone, because no one wants to declare e-Cigarettes safe only to be proven wrong later.
For most people, however, e-cigarettes are an obvious solution to smoking, even if it is only the lesser of the two evils. What do you think? Is there a chance that e-Cigarettes could be just as dangerous, or even more dangerous, than tobacco cigarettes? Or should doctors embrace them as a safer alternative to tobacco? And most importantly, what does this say about nicotine addiction overall?
Posted on December 31st, 2013 in Blog