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Take Aways

  • E-cigarettes are NOT a healthy alternative to smoking.
  • These are unregulated products that are sold using misleading claims.
  • There is no proof e-cigarettes can help you quit smoking.
  • There is some evidence to suggest second-hand vapors from e-cigarettes are harmful.

Electronic cigarettes (also known as e-cigarettes, e-cigs, vapors or nicotine vaporizers) are battery-powered devices designed to mimic the smoking experience without burning tobacco. They’ve exploded in popularity as a “safer” alternative to smoking, and e-cigarettes can now regularly be seen on TV and in the media.

E-cigarettes do not use tobacco, but instead heat a liquid containing nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals until it becomes a vapor, which can then be inhaled. It’s sometimes called “vaping.”

Users don’t inhale the same levels of tar and carbon monoxide that they would when smoking traditional cigarettes, but e-cigarettes are far from being a healthy alternative to smoking.

Nicotine is a highly addictive drug and toxic in high doses. It affects the brain, nervous system, and heart—raising blood pressure and causing an abnormal heart rate. Over time, nicotine use can lead to heart disease, blood clots, and stomach ulcers. Withdrawal from nicotine may make people feel depressed, tired, and irritable. All of these dangers apply to users of e-cigarettes.

Nicotine is not the only dangerous chemical found in e-cigarette liquid. According to a 2009 announcement, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found diethylene glycol, a chemical used in antifreeze and “detectable levels of known carcinogens and toxic chemicals to which users could potentially be exposed.”

These are relatively new products often sold with misleading claims, such as:

CLAIM: E-cigarettes help smokers quit.

TRUTH: There is no scientific evidence that using e-cigarettes can help you quit smoking and they are not approved by the FDA as a smoking cessation tool. Because e-cigarettes are marketed with flavors like chocolate and strawberry, they may actually encourage nonsmokers (especially kids) to try vaping.

CLAIM: E-cigarettes can be used anywhere, even in “non-smoking” areas.

TRUTH: Laws vary from state or state (or even within some states). In general, e-cigarette use is NOT permitted in the same places where smoking is prohibited.

CLAIM: There is no “secondhand” risk with e-cigarettes.

TRUTH: For smokers, the term “secondhand” refers to smoke coming from tobacco being smoked by another person or exiting the lungs of someone smoking. For e-cigarettes, “secondhand” would similarly refer to someone inhaling vapors because they are near people using the device. There has not been enough research conducted on e-cigarette use to determine whether secondhand vapors are harmful or to what extent. Yet, a 2012 study did find that exhaled vapors contained measurable amounts of carcinogens.

CLAIM: You can get “nicotine-free” e-cigarettes.

TRUTH: The FDA’s initial analysis of e-cigarettes in 2009 found low levels of nicotine in products labeled as “nicotine free.”

The FDA regulates tobacco products including cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco and smokeless tobacco as well as approved products for quitting smoking (gums, patches, medications). However, it does NOT currently regulate e-cigarettes. Manufacturers are not required to disclose the chemicals in its liquids or in what amount these are inhaled and exhaled by the user.

References

  1. FDA. E-Cigarettes: Questions and Answers.
  2. FDA. E-Cigarettes.
  3. American Legacy Foundation. E-Cigarette Fact Sheet.
  4. American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation.U.S. State and Local Laws Regulating Use of Electronic Cigarettes.
  5. Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights. E-Cigarettes.

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Comments

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  1. Yikes! I had no idea about any of this stuff. Super helpful article.

  2. I agree. How ridiculous! I could hardly see a smoker paying for a nicotine free cigarette!

    1. One of the hardest things for a smoker to give up is the habit or motions of smoking. I vape 0 nicotine regularly and haven’t had a cig in almost a year. Not one single puff nor have I had any craving for them.

  3. Thanks to vaporing i haven’t had a cigarette in 167 days. It May not work for everyone, but some people it does work for. I’ve gotten my nicotine level down to 6mg, so I’ve almost down to 0mg, and when thet happens I’m done vaping!!! And if people research it enough, it is only water vapor being exhaled. But there are so many different opinions about this…….so…..

    1. That’s great, Rosalee! Thanks for sharing your experience. No one solution works for everyone, but glad you found one that’s helping you quit.

  4. There is so many holes in this article I almost thought this was swiss cheese! First off you need science to prove that e-cigs can help people quit?! Look around you so many people including me have quit cigarettes we don’t need science for that just common sense…and to say about no nictoine liquid still contains low amount of nicotine haha I own a company that makes liquid I know exactly what goes in it and no there is no nicotine in no nicotine liquid! People need to get their heads out of their ass and do more research there is over 4000 chemicals found in a cigarette and only four ingredients in e-liquid I say ingredients because they all are the only chemical is nicotine and the gealth risk of nicotine is as bad as eating dessert or drinking a cup of coffee its not some toxic ingredient that is so bad for you!!! This article just needs to just burn up with the hard drive it was typed on you ignorant jerk! Do more research before you make these assumptions ohhh wait but the FDA said something just cuz one person says the FDA said something means nothing do your RESEARCH!!! My name is Matthew Peairs and #improof cig free for 7 months all because of vape!!!

  5. This article is absurd. I smoked for 17 yrs until July 3rd 2013. I haven’t had one hit of a cig since the day I started vaping. I know exactly what is in the eliquid that I vape and I feel so much better. This is nothing more than propaganda from a source that has no clue what they are talking about. Look around you there are people who quit smoking everyday with the help of ecigs. People post before and after lung X-rays showing marked improvement to lung functions. The sad part is people still see the FDA reference in this article and believe it to be true smh.

  6. Through vaping I have eliminated the 37 year cigarette habit. I was a 2 pack a day smoking and nothing would help me quit. Within one month I was off them. I am down to 6mg of nicotine and working my way to zero. Many people I know have quit using these and most have reduced their nicotine levels.

    Most of the liquids in the juice are food safe or in medicine. There is a lot of research but people don’t want to believe it. As long as they don’t understand it they will never believe the research. Our world is full of people that like to dictate what other should and shouldn’t do.

  7. this article is retarded it is quoting fda claims from 2009. 5 years later the juice has evolved. and there is proof that ecigs help you quit. where you ask right here I have been smoking since I was 13 i’m now 35, I have tried everything from gum to chantix with no help. About Oct. 2013 I picked up my first E-cig and started vaping with 26mg nicotine (because i was a 3 pack a day smoker) within 2 months I was down to 0 nicotine and stopped vaping. Stop believing lame articles that have out dated materials. P.S. I like how people are freaking out because the F.D.A. says its bad for you, but the F.D.A. also says junk food is bad for you and soda too and sugar substitutes yet they ignore those warnings.

  8. This is an incredibly absurd article on e-cigarettes. I am another one as proof that I can fight smoking and quit! 2 packs a week, to vaping, to now barely any vaping at all. my life and health has improved 10 fold – but wait, you need science, right? what a load of crap.

    stop trying to fearmonger the concerned parents of this website.

  9. let’s review – Justin Morgan, MD, is a board certified Pediatrician. Nowhere do I see he is a trained pulmonary specialist. MY WIFE HAS CYSTIC FIBROSIS and this has no effect on her; directly vaping or second-hand. Her PFT’s have INCREASED since I’ve quit smoking. this ‘article’ holds as much credibility as Dr. Jennifer Lincoln above giving me advice on how to improve my golf swing. She “had no idea about any of this stuff” and neither do you.

    You don’t even address THE TITLE OF THE ARTICLE which is vaping around children. You simply imply that MAYBE vaping around others is harmful, and all you have to say is “There has not been enough research conducted on e-cigarette use to determine whether secondhand vapors are harmful or to what extent.” In other words, you still really have no idea.

    How about you just stick to articles directly relating to your field of expertise?
    I’d wipe my butt with this article, but i’m trying to save paper.

  10. I find it very sad that someone with a Doctorate would fail to do their research and write an article full of information that is inaccurate, outdated, and intentionally misleading. The most irritating statement is the one so often repeated that “there is no information”about vaping. There have been numerous large scale studies done. All of which have proven that vaping and”secondhand” vaping is harmless.
    For anyone that wants access to ALL the information and see the truth… Go to ovalok.org. There you can find all the data from all the studies. Not just the cherry picked bits…. ALL the per reviewed data for full view.

  11. This article is false. I vape and ever doctor I know recommends vaping as a healthier way to quit smoking than the gum, patches, etc. I know people that don’t smoke but vape 0 nicotine. I think whomever wrote this article needs to do alot more research before they start blasting something they have no idea about.

  12. And just so its clear. There is no nicotine in what is exhaled from an ecig. Most of the nicotine is absorbed inside the mouth, and the rest in the lungs.

  13. Truth: Second hand smoke is the combustion of tobacco which creates carbon monoxide. This is big phrama promoting propaganda. Second hand smoke has NEVER been the smoke from the lungs but the combustion off the analog. And I make e-juice and to say there is no nicotine free juice is just false. Nicotine is a whole other product, when I mix it’s vg/pg and I ADD nicotine per mg. So that is a lie. This whole blog is bullshit and just a another false info site. I have facts to back my info.

  14. I used the e-cig for 1 year and in that year I did not touch a cigarette and I quit the e-cig to in that year, I have smoked for twenty years and I tried everything to quit smoking and the only thing that helped me do it was the e-cig. I still do it sometimes but at 0 mg so I agree with that guy that makes it Mathew P. you guy that are putting it down should investigate it some more because I will recommend it to anyone that wants to quit or someone that just want to smoke but they don’t want to smoke cigarettes.

  15. Hmm, nice collection of misinformation contained within this article. I just wish people would actually research subjects extensively before making pronouncements on facts.
    I shal start by saying the FDA study from 2009 has been thoroughly picked apart and the finding were the levels of toxins found were within the considered safe levels for exposure but that doesn’t quite grab a headline does it.
    As for other research quoted or hinted at I would recommend before passing judgement readers go to nicotinepolicy.net and read ALL the research currently available on nicotine and electronic cigarettes instead fo relying on here-say and others only quoting negative studies while ignoring all the positive studies. New research is arriving at quite a pace as researchers start to study nicotine separated from smoking of tobacco which changes the science considerably.
    The thing that annoys me most is the writer repeatedly using TRUTH during what is really an opinion piece and is not stating any truths as far as I can see.
    Go to the site I suggest and read it, it will take quite some time as it contains links to many research papers and articles and perhaps you will find some truth rather than rhetoric resting upon cherry picked information.

  16. Also add farting…

  17. Sorry, but this article is ridiculous. I simply can’t accept that someone that is educated enough to be a physician, would actually believe the falsehoods about electronic cigarettes. As someone that’s been involved in the healthcare industry for over 20 years, I’m here to testify that ecigs do actually save people’s lives. In addition, I have been using ecigs personally for over 2 1/2 years, and will say that there is literally not one factual statement in the article above. In fact, this article is so full of misinformation, that it leads me to the belief that the person that wrote it isn’t actually a physician, or was paid to put this out by someone. I once saw a GP on TV news show claim that he didn’t recommend ecigs to his patients because “when the vapor reaches your lungs, it’s thousands of degrees”. It’s about as hard for me to imagine someone with a license to practice medicine in the US could believe that a human could repeatedly inhale vapor that’s “thousands of degrees” and survive, as it is for me to believe that a medical professional with even cursory knowledge of the current literature could believe the misnomers presented in this article. Just a couple quick examples:

    Claim: “According to a 2009 announcement, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found diethylene glycol, a chemical used in antifreeze and “detectable levels of known carcinogens and toxic chemicals to which users could potentially be exposed.””

    Truth: The FDA did find trace amounts of Diethylene glycol in a single sample out of 20 of cheap China sourced product in 2009, but Diethylene glycol has never been found in another electronic cigarette since then, and there has been EXTENSIVE testing of product in the last 5 years. One common ingredient in the liquid in ecigarettes is propylene glycol, which is considered GRAS by the FDA, and is not only a common food additive, but is also found in virtually every asthma inhaler sold in the US. PG is actually an ingredient in anti freeze because of it’s very low freezing point, and is commonly found in the more expensive anti freeze that’s marketed as safe for pets and children.

    CLAIM: There is no truly nicotine free e-cigarette.

    TRUTH: That simply isn’t true. Trace amounts of nicotine, not dissimilar to the levels found by the FDA in “nicotine free” product back in 2009, can also be found in potatoes, tomatoes and other vegetables. We certainly wouldn’t tell patients not to eat vegetables because trace amounts of nicotine are common in many of them naturally.

    CLAIM: Second hand vapor from ecigarettes should be considered harmful, because there hasn’t been enough research conducted yet.

    TRUTH: There have been multiple studies conducted on second hand vapor both internationally, and in the US in the past two years or so. The most recent study I am aware off, was a peer reviewed study by Dr. Igor Burstyn from Drexel that was just released in early Jan. Dr. Burstyn found that though there were toxins present in exhaled vapor, they were both many orders of magnitude lower than similar toxins found in cigarette smoke, but that they all were at or primarily below EPA guidelines for safe workplace exposure. You can view that study here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/14/18

    CLAIM: Efficacy of electronic cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool has not been demonstrated.

    FACT: People addicted to cigarettes, are clinically speaking, nicotine addicts. If they start getting their nicotine from a source that solid science has demonstrated to be many fold less harmful than traditional cigarettes, both to themselves and bystanders, that seems like a good idea to me.

    I could go on, but you get the idea.