Now, I know I know all the tobacco users out there are already rolling their eyes…or a cigarette. In fact, I can see you through the screen with your addicted grin thinking to yourself: what is this quack going to talk about next? The dangers of teapots? Well, that will be a topic in the near future, but honestly this is something at least worth contemplating. Just like the recent boom in “legal high” products, e Cigs have taken a formidable portion of the tobacco market and transferred them over to the new safer vapor lifestyle. Sure it may be vapor and contain a hefty dose of nicotine, but has anyone ever questioned the safety of these products? What are the dangers of e Cigs? Because they largely go unregulated, e Cigs can have a multitude of chemicals that can remain unlisted on the label.
So the reason I even bring this article up is that I have a friend who also transitioned into the safer alternative, but he strangely developed a harsh, hoarse throat after using a few different brands of e Cigs. Now, he has been a smoker for many years and has never experienced this amount of pain in the throat. I too, when I tried his e Cig, noticed it was significantly more harsh than the conventional cigarette. So what gives? I thought these things are supposed to be a safe alternative. How come my throat hurts even more than smoking a conventional cigarette? I sought out to find an answer because there has to be something I’m missing.
Let’s discuss the major reason why one would even want to smoke: nicotine. Our beloved molecule nicotine comes into the picture yet again. This time it is disguised in the vapor form and nobody is supposed to know the dangers of the chemical! Here are some of the complications one may encounter from just nicotine exposure:
Pure Toxicity – LD50 of .5-1.0mg/kg: This means that nicotine can easily kill an adult human weight 80kg (or 175lbs) with as little as a .4mg dose. However, thankfully it’s not a huge risk unless your really fiending and are using gum, patches and cigarettes at the same time. It is very poorly absorbed in the lungs.
Cancer – Naturally nicotine is a cancer causing agent. Though, it causes intoxication, it can also contribute to many forms of cancers.
Developmental problems (teratogenic) for Pregnant women – I mean this is written on the packaging by the Surgeon General. This goes without saying that nicotine can cause potential birth defects and pregnant women should abstain from any drug whatsoever.
Cerebellum Toxicity – The region of your brain known as the Cerebellum, responsible for motor control and coordination amongst a whole host of functions, is directly affected by nicotine and may pose toxicity to it. In other words, nicotine kills your brain.
Increased heart rate (tachycardia) – well…duh it’s a stimulant. This also goes without saying. The whole point of this drug is to get a rush. That’s what a rush feels like: fast heart rate, light lightheadedness and a slight euphoria.
Increase blood pressure – well…duh it’s a stimulant see above.
I’m not going into the psychoactive effects as those are pretty apparent. These are the noticeable affects of using nicotine. So that list above is simply the list for nicotine toxicity. We haven’t even touched the other chemicals in e Cigs. Already, one can see that regardless of one’s decision to smoke, or vape, it’s not the smoke or vapor as so much the active ingredient in the product. Again, the whole reason for smoking is to get a dose of nicotine. Many fail to realize that that same thing we are going after, is toxic in all of its delivery methods.
Enter the e Cig. Insert corny 1980s martial arts music. No seriously, though, now it’s time to consider the additional chemicals one is exposed to when vaping with e Cigs. the FDA did a preliminary analysis of the e Cigs cartridges to find that some of them contained tobacco-specific nitrosamines or TSNAs. These are known carcinogens. Let’s rank another 2 for carcinogenic. Some e Cigs also contain the toxin diethylene glycol which tastes sweet, is odorless and is very poisonous. The bad thing it’s toxicity level is low enough that e Cigs can administer enough to be harmful.
Finally, one the most reasonable dangers of e Cigs lies with the proposed health claims. Because it is perceived as less harmful, users may start smoking it more frequently and more regularly with longer sessions, thus inhaling more nicotine. Look, nicotine is addictive whether you are smoking it in a cigarette form or an e Cig form. It is addictive and that is the bottom line. This can adversely affect the proposed purpose of smoking cessation as more users may find this as an appropriate vehicle to get high with.
Obviously, if one is going to smoke, the dangers of e Cigs are much fewer than that of cigarette smoking, however it is not without danger. The advertising on these e Cigs claim that they are completely danger free and have absolutely no side effects and no issues in their use. Listen, they are still addictive, they are still destructive and the best option is to avoid anything containing nicotine. However, if one consciously decides to partake in the usage of tobacco products, one must understand that e Cigs are not without hazards. They pose a significant amount of hazards on their own. It is safe to say, however, that e Cigs are the lesser of the two evils if you are deciding to smoke cigarettes or vape. The dangers of cigarettes far outweigh the dangers of e Cigs.
Edit 9/3/2013 Appearantly, these e Cigs can also explode in your face shooting flames 4 ft across the room! Who knew! The brand that blew up in this woman’s face was an eHit. Yet another reason to avoid these products.
In case you are wondering, I took the liberty of taking the e Cig apart to show you how simple these things really are.