View attachment 46550 When it comes to e-cigarettes there has been and continues to be a lot of controversy.
- Are they safe? Well, no they are not totally safe, let’s face it, their primary ingredient is nicotine which is the addictive substance in regular cigarettes.
- Are they as harmful as regular cigarettes or potentially harmful but to a far lesser degree? Many schools of thought exist on this question but the vast majority of health professionals and scientists will say that E-Cigarettes are far less harmful than regular cigarettes.
- Are they harmful to others in terms of second hand smoke? The smoke affect consists of water vapor, flavored though it might be. There are no carcinogens of any type present in the exhaled vapor or smoke.
More on the above points below the orange fold.
First I will cover a little bit of personal background.
Like many from my generation I started smoking when I was 16 years old (I am almost 54 now) and though my consumption varied over time, before I quite I was at 2 and a half packs per day. By the time I had reached my early 40’s I could no longer take a lungful of air without triggering coughing spasms. If I caught a cold, my cough would linger for sometimes weeks even after the cold itself was completely gone.
By my late 40’s I was diagnosed with Bronchitis which is typically a precursor to the much more serious Emphysema and it was a true wake-up call for me! I knew I had to do something but like most smokers I had tried to quit countless times over the years and even decades and never lasted more than a few days before I was right back to smoking. As is common with smokers each failed attempt at quitting typically resulted in me smoking even more when I started up again. I was understandably gun shy and scared to try again, both for fear of major withdrawal symptoms as well as the knowledge that if I failed yet again I would probably end up smoking even more!
When I tried to get back into playing Racquetball (a sport I played heavily in my younger years) I typically could not last more than 30-40 minutes before I was so out of breath I had to stop. And this was playing with my husband who is not exactly into the sport and never even pushed me very hard!
I started researching more about E-Cigarettes and really liked what I read. I asked myself could this be the key to quitting? I asked myself that question numerous times and each time I answered YES to myself but was still scared to take that step. Once I even ordered E-Cigarette supplies but never even used it.
This went on for a couple more years when I finally got firm with myself and said Ok, this last order of cigarettes is it, after this runs out I switch to E-Cigarettes come hell or high water! So I ordered the E-Cigarette starter kit and when I ran out of my current supply of regular cigarettes I immediately switched to the electronic ones.
What happened next shocked me! Not only did I find that the E-Cigarettes satisfied my craving for nicotine but it was actually EASY to make the switch. Not even once was I tempted to go back to regular cigarettes! After all my attempts to quit in the past using medications, nicotine patches, you name it I had never expected this transition to be so easy!
Between 3-4 months after I made the switch I found that I was breathing easier and had more stamina. In fact by this time I could take a complete lungful of air and even hold it in for up to 30 seconds or so before exhaling and NOT have coughing spasms as a result! From that time forward I could consistently take a full breath and NOT cough. Now I know it takes 6-8 years for ones lungs to be completely cleansed and I can only imagine that if I felt this good after only a few months, how much better I would feel when my lungs are fully clear after several more years!
Not only that but in the meantime I found a Racquetball player in my age group who is really into the sport like I am. He pushes me HARD and I am able to consistently play for 2 hours and sometimes closer to 3 hours with only a short 1-2 minute break in between each game! Talk about increases in stamina and energy!!
I have now been solely on E-Cigarettes for right at 3 years and I STILL do not miss regular cigarettes in the least!
So to the question are they better for you? I would have to answer with a resounding YES!
And as a side note, after I had been successful in smoking E-Cigarettes only for close to 6 months, my Doctor updated my medical records to say Ex-Smoker!
- Nevertheless there is still a lot of controversy over E-Cigarettes and many are calling for FDA regulation just like regular cigarettes. Different reasons are cited such as:
[*]To prevent minors from purchasing e-cigarette supplies. Well I am all for laws restricting sales only to adults. Restricting sales to minors does NOT require FDA involvement and in fact quite a few cities and even a handful of states have done just that. See here.
[*]Apparently some are using vaporizer pens (part of the E-Cigarette delivery mechanism) to smoke synthetic drugs and according to this article from CNN this is causing spikes in Emergency room visits and problems for law enforcement. Though this is clearly a problem this is NOT a valid reason to allow the FDA to regulate this industry.People find all kinds of creative ways to use a product for other than its intended purpose and I say it is the wrong approach to push for massive FDA Government regulation of E-Cigarettes just to counter those who use it for illegal purposes!
Much of the push for FDA regulation is coming from none other than the tobacco industry! They don’t like it that they are losing ever increasing amount of market share as people make this switch!
In the end, if the FDA is allowed to regulate E-Cigarettes it will result in massive taxes being levied at the Federal level and probably also lead to similar taxes at the local level (whether it be city/county and/or state). By the time they are done with all that E-Cigarettes would likely end up being just as expensive as regular cigarettes and that would be a lose-lose for everyone!
Though health concerns alone should be enough for people to do everything possible to get off of the carcinogenic poisons present in regular tobacco products, the reality is that COST is also a major concern. For most people (myself included), both health concerns and cost are the most important motivating factors which causes people to quit or to switch to electronic.
Eliminate the cost savings and many will likely not make the switch and just stay with regular cigarettes and that will have a very adverse on the overall health of the public.
On the flip side of this coin though there are also a growing number of e-cigarette friendly businesses and some in the most unlikely of places. A couple of examples:
- Hospital – a couple of years back my husband had a severe case of Pneumonia and was in the hospital for almost a full week. Sometimes I took a break and went to the parking lot to smoke. I recall once when a hospital guard started walking toward me and then noticed something and asked me if I was smoking an e-cigarette. I said yes, and he said OK, carry on. Otherwise he would have scolded me and made me put out the cigarette.
- Restaurant – on 4 occasions my husband and I were eating at an outdoor patio area and I asked the waitress if I could smoke an e-cigarette. In all 4 cases she said yes and these were 4 different restaurants.
I’ve heard unsubstantiated stories that on occasion an airline has allowed someone to smoke an e-cigarette on the airplane.
- Other cities with ordinances against smoking with X feet of an entrance to a public business has allowed e-cigarette smokers to smoke unrestricted. I’ve done this myself and witnessed it many other times.
A study put out by Public Health England has officially stated that e-cigarettes are about 95% safer than regular tobacco smoking and even goes as far as to be encouraging e-cigarettes to be licensed and to be offered for free by stop-smoking specialists.
A key quote from the above referenced article:
While stressing that e-cigarettes are not free from risk, PHE now believes that e-cigarettes “have the potential to make a significant contribution to the endgame for tobacco."
In summary I fully support passing laws at Federal as well as city/county/state levels to outlaw sale of E-Cigarette supplies to minors. But this can be done easily without full blown regulation by the FDA. All we don’t need is to have the FDA regulate the daylights out of this and cause e-cigarettes to become just as expensive as regular cigarettes because if that happens then many will end up not making the switch and the health of many will suffer as a consequence. This type of overkill would end up being self-defeating and if the goal is to get as many people as possible off of the carcinogenic tobacco, FDA regulation would have just the opposite effect.
Regulating something like this would be no different than the Prohibition era!
I am just one among countless people who successfully made the switch from regular cigarettes to E-Cigarettes and though I recognize it would be better if I didn’t even do that much, I can personally attest to just how much healthier and energetic this change has made for my life!
By Allen Mew - Daily Kos/Oct. 24, 2015
Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.