Several years ago a new product was introduced in the United States that would eliminate some of the harmful side effects of smoking conventional cigarettes. The product is the electronic cigarette, also known as an electric cigarette or e-cigarette.
The electronic cigarette utilizes an atomizer which heats the battery powered device and creates a vapor, which by all accounts is much less harmful than cigarette smoke. This vapor is inhaled by the user and gives them the sensation of smoking, but without inhaling all the other known carcinogens in tobacco cigarettes.
Other negative aspects of smoking are also eliminated, such as second hand smoke, ashes, odor and the effects of the smoke from the cancer causing chemicals given off by cigarettes – a welcome relief to the smoker’s friends and family.
Is Vaping Harmful To Your Health….or Just Cutting Into Tobacco Profits?
Though electronic cigarettes do contain nicotine, they do not contain other ingredients inherent in conventional cigarettes that cause health problems. The battery operated device helps the cigarette smoker by providing a nicotine delivery system that is much less dangerous than tobacco cigarettes, thereby eliminating many of the harmful effects to the environment.
Tobacco cigarettes contain 57 carcinogens that do damage both to the person smoking, as well as to those nearby, thanks to the effects of second hand smoke.
Electronic Smoking And The FDA
The curious effect of the attempted ban of smokeless cigarettes is that the FDA is taking a hands off approach in regards to conventional cigarettes.
The FDA has stated that after testing 18 electronic cigarette cartridges, they discovered that one cartridge from one brand contained diethylene glycol, a humectant (which is found in ALL tobacco cigarettes, by the way.)
In their warnings issued regarding perceived electric cigarette dangers, the FDA made special note of the ingredient, singling it out as an ingredient in anti freeze. What they failed to point out was that diethylene glycol can be found in many products consumed on a daily basis by the public, including mouthwash, toothpaste, dog food and wine, among hundreds of other products.
I find it odd that the FDA would become so involved with this product, but their approach to regular cigarettes is not nearly as aggressive.
It’s Politics As Usual!
The electronic cigarette situation can be compared to the electric car’s demise back in the seventies. Back then, the electric car was killed by the powerful oil industry, but if it had been mass produced, the United States might not be so reliant on foreign oil today.
The attack on electronic cigarettes is more of a political issue than a health issue. The politicians have wrapped their attempt to eliminate this new threat to the tobacco industry under the shield of the FDA. Electronic cigarettes could be a safer, less expensive way to eliminate conventional cigarettes over time, and this might just explain why politicians with tobacco ties have made the unusual play to involve the FDA.
The FDA’s main line of defense is that they are concerned teenagers will use electronic cigarettes and become addicted to the nicotine – a key ingredient – but the FDA’s recent involvement does open a pandara’s box when it comes to cigarette smoking in general.
Tobacco cigarette companies that have no doubt used their political muscle to involve the FDA, may find that this ruling could eventually lead to their own demise. Electronic cigarettes may not be a perfect solution to wean the public off harmful, conventional cigarettes, but they are certainly better for one’s overall health, according to the few smokeless cigarettes studies that have been done so far.
So, is vaping harmful?
Well, apparently vaping is no more harmful than brushing your teeth or drinking a glass of wine. The nicotine included in the electronic cigarette may be addictive, but the absence of tar and smoke makes for a much less harmful and cleaner, less invasive product than the nasty smell and cloud of dingy smoke that envelops a room, making it difficult to breathe when a tobacco cigarette is lit up.