E-cigarettes: Are they healthy?
I appreciate that people understand how horrible smoking is for you, and they are always trying to find new ways to quit. Cold turkey is miserable and many people fail with that technique. Thus, the electronic cigarette was born. I think that a LOT of people are on the same page as I was, I had no idea what they were, why the were created, or what you were actually inhaling/exhaling. After some pretty exhausting research, I got the scoop, and font out if they are actually healthy for you.
What are electronic cigarettes?
Basically they are electronic versions of cigarettes, in that they are devices that simulate cigarette smoking by creating an inhaled mist that contains the flavor and nicotine of cigarettes without all of the carcinogens or actual smoke. A propylene glycol solution is humidified into a mist for inhalation, giving the sensation of inhaling smoke and also you do exhale vapors that look like smoke. There is a cartridge that you can replace in the inside, that holds the liquid (propylene base along with nicotine and other flavors- like Marlboro, Camel, Vanilla, etc). The base fluids are all FDA approved fillers that pharmaceutical companies use for medications, so they are generally considered safe for ingestion. They are usually battery powered and were created as an alternative to cigarette smoking or as a smoking cessation device.
Why do people use them?
Most people started using them as a cessation device; to quit smoking. But because they are a rather new product and there are no set governmental laws, so some people find that they are able to smoke electronic cigarettes where they cannot smoke real cigarettes. Some states have started cracking down, and internationally, many places have made them illegal. And, they are WAY cheaper than regular cigarettes. Obviously, I don't smoke and all state taxes are different BUT, most packs of cigarettes cost $8-$12 and a "starter kit" for an e-cigarette is between $50-$150 and each cartridge is about $1.50 and can be used up to the same about of time as 10 burning cigarettes. So, after your start-up fees it is much cheaper, I will give them that!
Are they healthy?
Bottom line, at this point you all know my feelings, if it isn't a food source, water, or clean air, I won't label it healthy for you BUT I do think it is better than grabbing that pack of Camels. And, this goes without saying, if you are pregnant or have any chronic conditions you shouldn't smoke, even e-cigarettes. Although, there is very conflicting research about how much better they are for you if you use them long term. They clearly have way less carcinogens than cigarettes, they are odorless, and the risk of the tobacco isn't there but you are still inhaling something that is regarded as safe by the FDA in another use, propylene glycol really hasn't been studied for long term use as an inhalant, so we don't know the effects that it may have on your lungs. Honestly, my best guess is that it will still cause lung cancer. You are inhaling something other than air, frequently, that is an irritant to your lungs....what else do we think will happen? It causes continuous injury to your lung tissue. That being said, it hasn't fully been studied for long term effects, but if you are using it as a conduit to quitting smoking, for cessation purposes, I say give it a go! (After talking to your HCP, of course!) Anything is better than being a smoker!
Yours in Good Health