Tools or threats: The Electronic-Cigarette proves to be just as harmful as real cigarettes

Laura Hunt

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Who actually enjoys smoking? The majority of smokers started the habit during their rebellious teens to fit in with the crowd, but why?

Cigarettes cost a fortune, rot your teeth, make your hands and breath smell, and of course, cause 90% of lung cancer, damages your heart and blood circulation, and can lead to many other illnesses such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema and pneumonia.

The majority of full time smokers complain about wanting to quit, and quite a lot of people attempt it. Some go cold turkey, while others depend on using nicotine products: The nicotine patch, nicotine gum, nicotine inhaler, and of course the most popular, the Electronic Cigarette.

The Electronic Cigarette
The Electronic Cigarette
Photo Credit: Johnny William (Flickr)

The Electronic Cigarette, known as the E-cigarette, is a battery-powered device that looks like a cigarette holder, which does not contain tobacco. It delivers nicotine through an e-liquid solution, which is heated by a battery powered heater, along with other chemicals in the form of a vapour. The problem with this device is we do not actually know what the other chemicals are.

A report by Laura Crotty Alexander, a pulmonary and critical care physician and scientist with the VA San Diego Healthcare System, reported that e-cigarette vapors can make bacterial infections resistant to antibiotics, by making dangerous germs harder to kill. Germs exposed to nicotine-rich vapors secreted a thicker bio-film coating which protects them.

Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, also found that E-cigarettes deliver high levels of nanoparticles, which can trigger inflammation and have been linked causing asthma, strokes, heart disease, and diabetes. So are they really safer then actually cigarettes?

The electronic cigarette can contain more nicotine than a regular cigarette. The amount of nicotine in the e-cigarette depends on the amount of nicotine in the liquid nicotine cartridge installed. Users choose from a range of strengths, as well as various types of flavours.

On 29th March 2004, smoking in the workplace in Ireland was banned. This ban included bars, restaurants, clubs, offices, public buildings, company cars, trucks, taxis and vans. Smoking indoors, apart from residential homes, was completely proscribed.

Smoking Ban
Smoking Ban
Photo Credit: Tom Magliery (Flickr)

However, the E-Cigarette gives people the freedom to ‘smoke’ literally anywhere, which in fact makes them inhale more nicotine then if they were solely just smoking cigarettes.

Another problem with the e-cigarette is its influence on the youth. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration)Center for Tobacco Products has publicised their intentions to expand their control over the electronic cigarette to ensure the same regulations are applied to them as to real cigarettes. However, they are widely accessible to anyone of any age online in sites like Foxy Cig, Black Hat and Electronic Cigarettes Inc. Anyone can lie about their age on the internet.

E-cigarette youth chart
E-cigarette youth chart
Photo Credit: The Wall Street Journal

The e-liquids as mentioned before come in a mass amount of different flavours, from bubble gum to liquorice, cotton candy to every fruit possible, making them actually nice to smoke, and easy to get attached to.

No wonder the number of youths smoking them are rising, they are easy to get and by the sounds of it, there are tasty!

So although they have become massively popular, and prevent people buying and smoking real cigarettes, are they in fact a safe way to give up smoking? Or are they merely a money racket that becomes another addiction?

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Laura Hunt