Here in Hagerstown Maryland we’ve noticed an increase in questions for the dentist regarding E-cigarettes. So the question is, to Vape or not to Vape? Is Vaping better for your health than traditional tobacco products or are we trading one harmful addiction for another? In a nutshell, WE HAVE NO CLUE! This phenomenon is still in its adolescent phase so all we really know is it’s all very confusing. And VERY opinionated! Google it, see how quickly you come face to face with a blog with a passion from both directions. I’m not a hater! I truly want to know more! Here’s what I’ve found so far…
The first person credited with putting an electronic smoking device out there was Herbert A. Gilbert In 1963, however at the time cigarettes were such a part of life that people were lighting up everywhere. Classrooms, restaurants, cars, homes, airports you name it. Then in 2003, the population was much more familiar with the ‘evils’ of tobacco, so when Hon Lik (Bejing China) invented the e-cigarette and marketed it as a safer and cleaner way to inhale nicotine, the crowds went wild! Vaping/E-Cig fans claim that this is an alternative way to kick the habit all together because you can control and ‘step down’ the amount of nicotine added to the liquid cartridge. They also claim that innovations in nicotine delivery have enabled smokers to obtain their nicotine without some of the additives and carcinogens found in cigarette smoke
The e-cigarette and AVP’s (Advanced Personal Vaporizers) are composed of three components: a battery, vaporizing chamber and a cartridge that contains the “Juice”. Ask anyone who uses either of these products and you’ll find out very quickly that they are very different, more info than I want to get into here, so let’s stick with the basics. The E-liquid nicotine or the “E-Juice” contained in the cartridge is a solution of propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerin, distilled water, artificial flavoring and nicotine. The vaporizing chamber converts the liquid nicotine in the cartridge into a vapor, which is then inhaled by the user. Upon exhalation and coming into contact with the moisture in the outside air, the vapor condenses resulting in a thick visible fog.
E-cigarette’s are publicized as a safer alternative to traditional smoking; electronic cigarettes are supposed to give smokers their nicotine fix without the cancer-causing side effects of tobacco. However, there are some serious concerns that the battery-operated devices may actually pose more dangers to users. There are many things we have yet to determine about the possible impact of electronic cigarettes on the health of the public, which is the bottom line here, ‘they’ just don’t know yet.
In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation, Division of Pharmaceutical Analysis (DPA) conducted a preliminary analysis of 18 of the various flavored nicotine and no-nicotine cartridges.37 The contents were tested for ingredients potentially being carcinogenic or harmful to humans. The samples detected:
- 1% diethylene glycol, which is toxic to humans.
- Tobacco specific nitrosamines, a chemical compound which are human carcinogens were detected in 50% of the samples.
- Tobacco specific impurities: anabasine, myosmine, and β-nicotyrine, which are all carcinogens.
- The e-cigarette cartridges that were labeled as containing no nicotine had low levels of nicotine present.
- Variability among nicotine levels that were labeled as containing the same levels of nicotine, ranging from 26.8-43.2 mcg nicotine/100mL puff.
Systemic effects of e-cigarette needs further research. Goniewicz, (Henry R, Henderson R, The Rise of e-cigarettes. Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. 2014; 12(5): 46-50.) evaluated the vapors from 12 brands of e-cigarettes. The study found the vapors contained 9-450 times lower toxic substances than that of traditional tobacco cigarettes. However, although data is limited, it is clear that e-cigarette emissions are not merely “harmless water vapor,” as is frequently claimed, and can have negative health impacts and be a source of indoor air pollution.43
Better than traditional chew-in-the lip or sneaking-out-for-a-heater? Probably. 100% safe, ‘harmless water vapor’… Probably not.
In June 2009, President Obama signed into law the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which gave the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products the authority to regulate the manufacture, labeling, distribution and marketing of tobacco products. But this does not encompass electronic nicotine-delivery devices, including e-cigarettes. The Food and Drug Administration did announce that the agency plans to propose regulating e-cigarettes as a tobacco product. Well go for it! There’s little research available on the health risks to users and non-users and almost nothing on the oral effects of the contents and emissions of these nicotine delivery systems; we say bring it on! The more you know 🙂
Do you Vape or use E-Cig’s? We want your input! Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts on the subject. Show me some passion!
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