Are Electronic Cigarettes a Safe Alternative for Smokers?


Electronic cigarettes, mostly known as e-cigarettes, have recently been advertised as a “safe” alternative to regular cigarettes, however according to the recent study, this extremely popular trend is harmful to overall health of a person. Nowadays about 700,000 people use such electronic devices in order to give up smoking.

E-cigarettes deliver nicotine through a vapor. Although there is no combustion, the nicotine is still derived from tobacco. This way of delivery has been considered to be potentially safer than smoking tobacco products. The electronic cigarettes are brought from China and their nicotine content is not regulated before sale.

According to a research presented at the European Respiratory Society’s annual meeting in Vienna in February, 2012 revealed that an abrupt increase in airway resistance resulting in a lower level of oxygen in the bloodstream in electronic cigarette users. This could have negative effects on those with coronary artery disease who have obstructing plaques in their coronary arteries. The Athens specialists analyzed the effects of the e-cigarettes on 8 people who never smoked, together with 24 smokers -11 with normal lung function and 13 with asthma. The research participants all used an electronic device for 10 minutes. All participants had a sudden jump in airway resistance which was about 10 minutes. It was revealed that the jump was more noticeable in smokers than non-smokers, although the effect seen in people with asthma was less immediate in nature.

The European Respiratory Society smoking cessation guidelines do not recommend the use of electronic cigarettes. It was noted by the Society that some brands of e-cigarettes contain high levels of nicotine which is highly addictive.

According to Dr. Klaus Lessnau, a pulmonary and critical care specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said that “electronic devices are not recommended to quit smoking, there is just some degree of harm reduction compared to regular cigarette use.”

Dr. Lessnau added that there are no full studies to represent the harm from e-cigarettes, but he is sure that the impact on lung cancer will be significant.

In fact, incomplete conclusions can be made from the preliminary results of the small research presented in this article. However, findings from this research do add to growing evidence of the harmful effects of e-cigarettes.

Other methods that can help quit smoking such as nicotine gum, patches, and inhalers are known as nicotine replacement therapy, and are recommended as alternative to electronic cigarettes.

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One Response to Are Electronic Cigarettes a Safe Alternative for Smokers?

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