electronic cigarette

Debating whether or not electronic cigarettes are healthy is a battle we can’t win. It’s messy and frustrating, therefore it’s not worth focusing on. Some people think that e-cigs are the best tech solution to traditional smoking, whereas others believe the devices are a real threat to the public health. There have been many studies, research papers and reviews published on the topic. Bottom line: if you’re a heavy smoker searching for a quick nicotine fix, and you’re trying to make a decision between vaping and smoking, experts would agree that switching to e-cigs is a lot less harmful. But then again, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re worth investing in.

However, if you used to smoke or don’t smoke at all, you might want to think twice before considering vaping. Even though electronic cigarettes might seem safer than traditional cigarettes, it doesn’t mean you’re safe. There’s not enough information on whether or not you should vape. Nonetheless, at this point there are over 500 e-cig brands with nearly 7,000 flavors populating the market. Some are different from others: certain e-cigs feature different nicotine amounts, as well as various carcinogens and toxins. Therefore, it’s difficult to say for certain whether they have a negative or positive impact on your general health.

A conflict of interests 

The research community is split in half when it comes to the level of safety of electronic cigarettes. Tobacco-control researchers have devoted their careers to uncovering the evils of the tobacco industry. Certain public health researchers actually believe that such devices shouldn’t be tolerated. However, there are those that consider them to be tolerable, especially since millions of people die annually from all kinds of diseases called by smoking.

electronic cigarette smoking

Most studies performed on e-cigs are actually randomized control trials that are just meant to convey they’re not healthy. It’s only natural for the tobacco industry to defend itself. There’s something we need to worry about when vaping. We don’t know whether or not e-cigs trigger the same diseases as traditional cigarettes. Because they haven’t been on the market for long we can’t claim they cause cancer; thus far, nobody who has been vaping died. There are substances that have been known to contain carcinogenic compounds in e-cigs, although not all brands are the same.

Can electronic cigarettes harm the environment?

E-cigarettes come in a wealth on types and forms. Some are bulkier, whereas others look just like a normal tobacco cigarettes. Whether these devices can harm the environment or not is debatable. It’s true that e-cigs feature different chemical levels and flavors, but it’s worth mentioning that the way the nicotine is dispersed is done completely different. E-cig marketers want us to believe that we have to reason to throw away a refillable cigarette. The problem is, it’s a trick. The life of an e-cig, regardless of its type (refillable or disposable) is measured in days; sometimes weeks.

In terms of the level of harm they can do, it’s worth mentioning that if users don’t recycle their e-cigs the environmental damage may be worse than paper cigarettes and cigarette filters. Inside a cartridge there’s a wadding that looks just like a conventional cigarette; on top of that, we have a metal or plastic housing rather than paper. Then there are the metal parts from the metal atomizers and consumed rechargeable batteries which degrade extremely slowly. In case you didn’t know, there’s no proper way to recycle e-cigarettes.

lady smoking electronic cigarette

Recycling e-cigarettes – a matter of concern 

Some e-cigarettes don’t have discernible disposal instructions. Inside every cartridge, the heavy metals contained are toxic – the circuits and chips may all have a negative impact on the environment as well. In a study performed by USC Biterbi, it was noted that e-cigs emit high levels of zinc, silver, and nickel (higher levels than traditional tobacco cigarettes).

Another pre-eminent environmental concern centers on the fact that many discarded e-cigs are not completely empty. They may still contain nicotine liquid; thus, the liquid pollutes the water and the ground around disposal areas. In raw form, nicotine is pure poison and its negative affects range from seizures and vomiting to death.

Most environmental dangers of e-cigs have to do with faulty imports from China, where nobody inspects or monitors the supply. We can’t say for sure that e liquids are much safer for the environment than traditional cigs. One thing’s for sure: they’re expensive, broken part cost money (and this can happen more often than you think), and last but not least, they don’t help mimic the habit of smoking because they’re heavy. Basically, they’re not a very smart investment.

This post was contributed by Daniel Lewis, a professional editor. His articles have appeared in some of the top blogs.

Dr Prasoon

Dr Prasoon

Author at BeingTheDoctor
Dr Prasoon, founder of BeingTheDoctor is a qualified medical practitioner who finds time to write articles on "health" and his "clinical experiences". He is currently engaged in providing primary health care services in rural India. Learn more in the "about" page.
Dr Prasoon
Electronic Cigarettes – How much Safer they are for the Environment
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