Are Electronic Cigarettes Really Safe?by CanadaEcigs.ca on 04/24/14
Electronic cigarettes are being marketed as the healthier way of smoking in public. However, nobody really knows how healthy these are because they haven't been around long enough.
Everybody has accepted that smoking cigarettes is bad for their health. The problem is that it's highly addictive and very difficult to give up. The thought of a non-harmful alternative sounds like heaven. Electronic cigarettes are in use by millions of people globally looking for a way to kick the habit. Electronic cigarettes do not produce smoke, they produce a vapour which can be inhaled. So, instead of smoking, you are vaping.
While e-cigarettes are becoming popular, they are also becoming controversial. The health effects of such products remains unclear. Consider for a second that smoking was once considered healthy, and was once prescribed by doctors for various ailments. Most of the controversial questions about electronic cigarettes concerns how safe they are for yourself, and others around you. People also have concerns that they aren't regulated in the same way as conventional cigarettes. As there is no age limit on purchasing an e-cig, some people have suggested that it could be the starting point to more harmful sources of nicotine by smoking.
Some countries and states in the USA are attempting to get tighter control and regulation over electronic cigarettes. There are talks of trying to banish people vaping to smoking shelters.
The problem is that people have accepted smoking regulation because of the danger to everyone nearby. There have been hundreds of studies into smoking and everyone accepts that it is dangerous. Smoking doesn't smell nice, is anti-social, can be dangerous and it can also cause all sorts of serious diseases.
Electronic cigarettes on the other hand look like a very clean and safe alternative. They don't smell, they won't catch fire if you drop them, and nobody else has to inhale your second hand smoke. This is the reason electronic cigarettes have so far managed to avoid the indoor smoking bans. This has caused confusion since all businesses have to decide their own policy regarding these electronic cigarettes.
A couple of months ago Health Canada commissioned a report looking into the number and safety concerns associated with e-cigarettes. At the moment, the popularity of these devices is booming. There are shops and websites specialising in selling the electronic cigarettes all over the world.
While most e-cigarettes are inexpensive and disposable, there are also some much more sophisticated models available. Handmade models can cost up to $400, and there's lots of people willing to pay this price. While these customised models are expensive and quite popular, there are some reports about them being unsafe or reliable. Some designers have not paid proper attention to the electronics. There have been some reports of the batteries exploding which is a concern.
The main reason people will consider buying an electronic cigarette is because it seems healthy. It is popular with people who know they shouldn't smoke, but can't give up. It is sold as a way to reduce the harmful products a smoker is exposed to.
An ecigarette uses a tiny battery to heat an element which vaporises a liquid which is then inhaled. The liquid used is propylene glycol, this is commonly used in fog machines, and also inside inhalers for people with asthma. This liquid is even used in hospitals as a way to clean the air. Propylene Glycol is not known to be harmful like tobacco smoke. However, it is a known irritant, so there are no guarantees that it is completely harmless. There are countless different flavors to choose from which are all made using food grade ingredients.
In Canada the electronic cigarettes just contain vapour and flavourings. However, in other countries it often contains a small measured amount of nicotine. Nicotine is what's addictive in cigarettes and is a stimulant. Canada has banned the sale of electronic cigarettes containing nicotine due to the doubts over the safety and addictiveness of such products. This is also because some people have suggested that electronic cigarettes could be a way for people to start smoking cigarettes.
The facts however look very different. The reason most people take up e-cigarettes is because they were smokers, or they are trying to give up. There have also been a number of studies by the US FDA who find that there are very low levels of toxins produced by e-cigarettes.
If any country wants to ban all tobacco products, then electronic cigarettes could certainly be used as a relatively safe alternative. However, at the moment Health Canada is not allowing the sale of nicotine containing electronic cigarettes. As they contain nicotine they fall under a medical category which can be regulated much closer.
It has been suggested that electronic cigarettes are not medical devices, or tobacco products and so fall under neither category. It could well be that there is pressure being applied by the tobacco industry to prohibit sale of electronic cigarettes.