Health Risks and E-Cigarettes
Comprehensive Cancer Centers always cautions against the use of tobacco products, as they’re the leading cause of countless health issues. For those who are smokers, the practice provides resources, such as the I Quit For Campaign, encouraging people to quit smoking.
A challenge in raising awareness about quitting smoking, or not starting smoking to begin with, has come from the growth of e-cigarettes. Many people see the product as being less harmful than cigarettes. This misguided belief has led to increase use of e-cigarettes to satisfy an urge to do something similar to smoking, without the user believing they’re incurring the same risks as tobacco smokers.
Smoking E-Cigarettes May Not Lower Exposure to Nicotine
Many who smoke e-cigarettes do so in hopes of avoiding the intake of nicotine, a well-known carcinogen found in tobacco products. Recent data has shown that e-cigarettes may not lower these risks as much as people would hope they would. The Truth Initiative published data regarding e-cigarettes and nicotine and found that nicotine levels in e-cigarettes are highly variable, with some reaching or exceeding levels found in combustible cigarettes. Their research also revealed that among younger users of a popular e-cigarette, only 37 percent knew that the product always contains nicotine. The study also revealed the following troubling insights:
- Labeling is not always a reliable indicator of nicotine content, as studies have found mislabeling to be a common issue for e-cigarettes.
- The way an e-cigarette is used or modified affects the delivery of nicotine to an individual user.
- Some e-cigarette products deliver nicotine almost as efficiently as a cigarette, and some manufacturers even promote the fact that they can deliver nicotine nearly 3 times faster than other e-cigarettes.
- A certain e-cigarette manufacturer claims the product has nicotine content like traditional cigarettes, and that it delivers the nicotine up to 2.7 times faster than other e-cigarettes, with the nicotine in a certain e-cigarette containing the same amount of nicotine in one cartridge as would be found in 200 puffs from a cigarette.
In addition to the health issues involved in using e-cigarettes, their use of nicotine can create addictions to the products, and perhaps serve as a gateway to increased use of nicotine through products such as standard cigarettes.
Increased Exposure to Different Sets of Chemicals
While e-cigarettes contain far fewer toxins than combustible cigarettes, they are not free of toxins and still deliver harmful chemicals. At least 60 chemical compounds have been found in e-liquids, and more are present in the aerosol produced by e-cigarettes. Researchers have identified several substances, which are either harmful or potentially harmful to e-cigarette users, including delivery solvents and propylene glycol, which can cause dry mouth and upper respiratory infections.
E-cigarette flavors have not been studied for toxicity if inhaled over long periods of time. Many e-cigarette flavorings contain chemicals that are known to be respiratory irritants, and research has found that some flavors are potentially more toxic than others. Researchers found that exposure to increased cinnamon flavoring caused significant cell death, compared with other flavors. Additionally, mixing multiple flavors can be more toxic to cells than exposure to just one flavor at a time. The repercussions of long-term exposure to the chemicals found in e-liquids and produced by e-cigarettes are not yet known, since products have not been on the market long enough to conclusively study their effects.
It was revealed that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was weighing a ban on flavored-cigarette liquids, given that many believe vaping devices may lead teens to a nicotine addiction later in life. There have been other recent concerns that vaping may cause seizures, especially among teens.
From a pulmonologist’s point of view, here is the bottom line: Don’t put anything in your lungs that shouldn’t be there, whether it is smoke stemming from a cigarette, marijuana, vaping, hookah or anything like it. Good clean air is best for your lungs and that’s that.
Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help
Comprehensive Cancer Centers has an entire division dedicated to the treatment and management of lung diseases, which may stem from smoking. Lung Center of Nevada offers consultation for those who are at risk of developing lung cancer due to smoking and monitors those patients using screening with low-dose computed tomography (CT). As part of the practice’s multi-specialty approach, we also provide seamless of care and access to medical oncology and radiation oncology serves should a lung cancer diagnosis occur. To schedule an appointment at Comprehensive, call 702-952-3350.
The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.