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What Are Electronic Cigarettes And Are They Safe?

Electronic cigarettes, also known as e cigarettes, are becoming a popular alternative to traditional cigarettes.

ash tray full of cigarettes

Photo: Laura Chiméra (flickr)

E cigarettes are being marketed as an alternative to traditional cigarettes.

You may have seen them in malls, in advertisements, or in stores. E cigarettes are the latest trend in tobacco products.

What Are E Cigarettes?

E cigarettes are battery-powered tubes that look like real cigarettes. But instead of inhaling and getting a lungful of tobacco smoke, you basically suck in vaporized nicotine.

According to companies that make e cigarettes, since there’s no tobacco smoke, there are also none of the toxic ingredients that come with it, like tar and other cancer causing chemicals found in cigarettes.

Instead, with e cigarettes you just get nicotine. E cigarette makers claim it’s similar to wearing a nicotine patch.

Are Electronic Cigarettes Safe?

Many health researchers are dubious, though. A 2009 FDA study of e cigarettes found trace amounts of diethylene glycol a solvent linked to kidney failure.

And some experts worry that because e cigarettes are marketed as being clean and safe, they may attract young non smokers and lead them down the road to nicotine addiction.

Meeting Safety Standards

To be fair, the point is not that e cigarettes are necessarily a health hazard. Maybe they are, and maybe they’re not. We simply don’t know. Which is why many health experts are calling for e cigarettes to be regulated like drugs and required to meet federal safety standards.

Until that happens, trusting that e cigarettes are harmless means relying on the word of the companies that make and sell them.

Read More: Electronic cigarettes are increasing in popularity but may carry risks (Los Angeles Times)

  • L.Cristina Curatolo

    Why do not regulate foods, and foods additives, all those E numbers? For me e-cigarettes are a perfect bless! I do not need anymore to smell anybody in the family, at work, in public, nor to fight to send them out of the house…I do not risk the house to be set on fire because the smokers fall asleep with the cigar/cigarette in her/his mouth! And I do not care if he/she gets poisoned, if everybody else is safe! By the way: tabacco/ and nicottine, have great benefits for the human body too, like many other plants that bring benefits along with problems. There is NO PERFECTLY SAFE FOR EVERYBODY. Anything that exists on Earth is not only good or bad!

  • Shannon McGough

    According to my knowledge electronic cigarettes are much safer than tobacco ones, they helped my brother to quit smoking.

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