Electronic Cigarette – How Safe Are They?

Do E-Cigarettes Offer Safer Smoking?

The electronic cigarette, often referred to as an e-cigarette, offers an alternative to traditional smoking. Some marketers claim it offers a safer way to smoke, while other companies offer it as a device to help smokers quit the nicotine habit. Before deciding to try the e-cigarette, consumers must be aware of the delivery system, potential dangers and the FDA’s concerns regarding the product.

Electronic CigaretteHow They Work

E-cigarettes are battery operated and often designed to look similar to a traditional tobacco cigarette. Vapor is created by the atomizer, which heats nicotine-containing liquid. Once the liquid is in vapor form, the nicotine is delivered when users inhale the vapor. Smokers choosing this option can benefit from some of the elements included in traditional cigarettes, including tar, carbon monoxide and tobacco.

FDA Concerns

Although many manufacturers boast about e-cigarette benefits, the FDA has raised some serious concerns after analyzing several product samples. The FDA Division of Pharmaceutical Analysis analyzed sample cartridges from two top brands. Some samples included carcinogens, known as nitrosamines, which may cause cancer. One sample tested even contained a toxin called Diethylene Glycol, also found in antifreeze.

Another concern of the FDA is the amount of nicotine delivered with every puff. Cartridges tested emitted various amounts of nicotine, which leaves users unsure of how much nicotine they may be receiving when using these devices. Of course, since these products have not been submitted for the approval and evaluation of the FDA, many questions about the safety of e-cigarettes remain unanswered. Currently, the FDA has issued a warning regarding e-cigarettes and their potential health risks.

While the electronic cigarette does offer users a lower cost alternative to smoking, the few benefits offered are overshadowed by potential hazards. They can be used in many public places, but serious concerns from the FDA may be reason enough to avoid using these devices until further studies have been completed.

A Bit of History

Hon Lik, a Chinese druggist, invented the electronic cigarette in 2003. It was introduced in China in 2004 and would later become marketed globally in 2005. Currently, many private companies are developing and selling different versions of the e-cigarette.

Useful Resources:

FDA electronic cigarette report

e-Cigarette information and health concerns

Carcinogens in tobacco smoke

2 Responses to “Electronic Cigarette – How Safe Are They?”

  1. Corry says:

    I just want to share my experience with the electronic cigarette. I purchased my E-cigarette while overseas expecting that whenever I had the need to smoke this would be a great substitute and I would be on my way to quitting. My recommendation is “don’t waste your money”. I could only get around 5 to 6 puffs before the cartridge was empty and every second cartridge the battery needed charging. In my opinion it is not a good aid to quitting smoking.


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