Experts say electronic cigarettes could actually ne more damaging than regular smoking. E-cigarettes contain a heating element that turns nicotine-laced liquid in the cartridge into a vapour mist. This produces the sensation of smoking without the carcinogenic chemicals like tar, the Daily Mail reported. However, the chemical used to vaporise nicotine – the chemical propylene glycol could cause acute respiratory system irritation according to Dr Elisabeth Pott, director of the Federal Centre of Health Education in Cologne, Germany.
In 2009, USFDA analysed e-cigarettes and found they contained traces of carcinogen nitrosamine and other potentially harmful substances in products from several manufactures, in addition to ethanol and glycerine. E-cig firms maintain that the amounts are far lesser than regular cigarettes.
One issue is the lack of research carried out on e-cigarettes. Professor John Britton from the Royal College of Physicians’ Tobacco Advisory Group, is calling for regulation of e-cigarettes that would ensure a ‘guaranteed standard’. Britton said the devices should be regulated in the UK to a degree to make sure there are reasonable levels of nicotine in them. According to the report, e-cigarettes have been banned in Canada, Australia, and some American states.
What’s in an e-cig?
The e-cigarette basically consists of three parts: Cartridge, Atomizer and Power supply The cartridge’s a mouthpiece (like a cigarette’s butt) that usually holds the liquid that is to be vaporized. The atomizer serves as a heating element and vaporizes the liquid and each of them contains a power supply like a chargeable plug, USB drive or batteries.
Are they really less harmful?
E-cigs are primary used as a smoking replacement or a smoking cessation device to help smokers quit though the lack of studies and its relative novelty make it hard to judge its health effects. According to United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), known carcinogens were detected into the nicotine-cartridges and there were also concerns it could be marketed to younger people. However FDA methods have been derided in various journals for lack of evidence and which claimed that the nicotine content was a lot lower than actual cigarettes as were the health hazards.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also claimed that though they were usually marketed as devices for nicotine replacement therapy there were no studies to back up that claim and has refused to endorse the device.
Read more about e-cigarettes here.