Electronic cigarettes: Healthier alternative to regular tobacco cigarettes?



Electronic cigarettes, popularly touted as healthier alternatives to regular cigarettes, has now been associated with a higher risk of coronary artery disease, anxiety, circulatory problems, depression and stroke. Electronic cigarettes heat liquids typically containing nicotine and some flavours to release steam or vapours which are then inhaled by the smoker. Many think that e-cigarettes can cut down the risk of health problems posed by regular cigarettes. However, a study by the University of Kansas in the US has debunked this belief. The study has found that smoking e-cigarettes, also called as vaping can increase your chances of suffering from heart attacks by 56 per cent, from strokes by 30 per cent, from coronary artery disease by 10 per cent and from circulatory problems by 44 per cent. Many e-cigarettes contain nicotine. E-cigarettes are known to release toxic compounds very similar to tobacco smoking. The study also noted that the health risks of diseases for those who smoke regular tobacco cigarettes are much higher as compared to those who use e-cigarettes. But, by no means does that mean that e-cigarettes are a safer option, according to some studies.

Recently, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed to curb sales of all flavoured electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) products such as electronic cigarettes, except tobacco, mint and menthol-flavoured products to teenagers. This reason was to ‘prevent youth access to, and appeal of, flavoured e-cigarettes and cigars,’ according to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, said in a statement. One of the main problems with e-cigarettes is that they can be highly addictive because of the flavours. A research found that flavours, especially fruit-based ones don’t just attract but also retain smokers into the vaping category.

Here are some health risks associated with e-cigarettes:

  • A previous study by the University of Nevada, Reno claimed that e-cigarettes release a large quantity of cancer-causing aldehydes which are absorbed into the lungs. in fact, non-cigarette tobacco users including those using electronic cigarettes are exposed to high levels of carcinogen, almost as much as a regular cigarette smoker exposed to. In fact, e-cigarette smokers were found to have greater exposure to Tobacco-Specific Nitrosamines (TSNA), another factor responsible for cancer.
  • E-cigarettes can also prevent faster skin wound healing. Regular tobacco cigarettes, too,  are known to delay healing of skin wounds and infections.
  • A Greek study in 2018 claimed that e-cigarette flavours damage the lungs by causing inflammation which is similar to or worse than regular cigarettes.

 



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