Electronic cigarettes are a relatively new device on the market, and like any recent innovation the national press occasionally publish scare stories touting the potential dangers of the product. But are there any grounds to suspect that e-cigs could do more harm than good?
There are two main charges levied against e cigarettes. The first is that their perceived “safe” image could encourage people who are currently non-smokers to give vaping a try. Although the amount of nicotine emitted by this type of vaporizer is relatively low, it would be enough to cause an addiction if used regularly.
However, most scientists are extremely dismissive of this concern. Recent studies into the use of e-cigs have shown that it is extremely rare for a person to try electronic cigarettes unless they are already smoking tobacco versions. Non-smokers, it seems, are no more inclined to pick up a vaporizer than a regular cigarette.
This means that the concerns associated with the nicotine in electronic cigarettes are ill founded. Since the amount of nicotine in a vaporizer is lower than a cigarette, their use is actually helping a smoker to wean themselves off their addiction. Furthermore, the devices allow smokers to get a hit of nicotine without inhaling the poisonous chemicals which are found in tobacco.
The second criticism from those who would have tighter sanctions placed on electronic cigarettes is that we do not know the long term impact of the devices. After all, people were not aware that tobacco was harmful to their health when cigarettes first became popular and widespread.
Again, this worry seems to be overblown. It is true that there is no absolute certainty that the devices are suitable for long term use, as they have only been available for such a short period. But the majority of scientists are convinced that ill effects are very unlikely in the long term.
Cigarettes are harmful because of the tobacco, and not the habit forming nicotine they contain. Since electronic cigarettes contain only the nicotine it is highly unlikely that they can be in any way damaging to the user’s health. There is also no likelihood of risk to any bystanders while a person is vaping, since the devices do not emit a smoke filled with toxic chemical compounds in the same way as cigarettes do.
In conclusion it can be said with confidence that electronic cigarettes certainly do more good than harm. They are popular only among those people who are already suffering from a nicotine addiction, and given the choice between a real cigarette and an e-cigarette there is no question about which one is healthier. At present there is absolutely no justification for proposing tighter regulation of the devices.
People will always be wary of new products. Since many things we now know are harmful for us were once assumed to be safe, this distrust is understandable. However, there is very little scientific basis for the claim that e-cigarettes could be bad for us.