You’re at your favorite restaurant, enjoying a meal. A diner at the next table is puffing on a cigarette, letting out a cloud of smoke. Because smoking isn’t allowed in the restaurant, you’re thinking about asking the smoker to put the cigarette out. But before you protest, consider this: Your neighbor may not be smoking at all.Electronic cigarettes, also known as smokeless cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or e-cigs, are an alternative method of consuming nicotine, the addictive chemical found in tobacco. Manufacturers often design e-cigarettes to look like regular cigarettes, but they contain no tobacco and don’t require a match — or any flame at all.An e-cigarette is a battery-powered device that converts liquid nicotine into a mist, or vapor, that the user inhales. There’s no fire, no ash and no smoky smell. E-cigarettes do not contain all of the harmful chemicals associated with smoking tobacco cigarettes, such as carbon monoxide and tar.Manufacturers and satisfied customers say the e-cigarette is a healthier alternative to tobacco cigarettes, which cause millions of deaths every year. Some users say e-cigs have helped reduce their “smoker’s cough,” sharpened their senses of taste and smell, and even improved their sleep.
The electronic cigarette was invented by Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik, who patented the device in 2003 and introduced it to the Chinese market the following year. Numerous companies are now selling e-cigarettes to customers around the world. But as e-cigarette smoking — or “vaping” as it’s sometimes called — has grown in popularity, some have concerns about its safety, including the possibility that the vapor created by the devices contains dangerous chemicals.Is the electronic cigarette a cleaner, healthier choice for smokers? Or is it a dangerous device with hidden risks? Both viewpoints have their merits, but on the next page we’ll start with the basics: how the product works, and why it’s popular.
Lighting a traditional cigarette causes the tobacco to burn, releasing smoke that contains nicotine. The user breathes in the smoke to deliver nicotine to the lungs. An electronic cigarette doesn’t rely on this process of combustion. Instead, it heats a nicotine liquid and converts the liquid to a vapor, or mist, that the user inhales. Depending on the e-cigarette, the user may simply inhale from the cartridge to begin the vaporization process, though some devices have a manual switch that activates the vaporizer inside.
An e-cigarette has three main parts:
The lithium battery powers the e-cigarette and can be charged using a charger similar to those used for cell phone batteries. The charged battery is connected to the vaporization chamber, a hollow tube that contains electronic controls and an atomizer — the component that creates the vapor. Before the user activates the device, he or she attaches a cartridge containing nicotine liquid to the vaporization chamber. The tip of the cartridge serves as the e-cigarette’s mouthpiece.
E-cigarette users inhale the way they would with a regular cigarette. This inhalation activates the atomizer to heat the liquid in the cartridge and convert the liquid to a vapor. Inhaling this vapor through the mouthpiece delivers nicotine to the lungs, and the user exhales vapor that looks much like a cloud of cigarette smoke.
Fans of e-cigarettes say they enjoy many of the same sensations as tobacco smokers — holding the device in their hand, inhaling and exhaling. Many e-cigarettes have a light-emitting diode (LED) on the end that lights up when the user inhales, simulating flame. (Artificial flame is the only safe kind when using an e-cigarette — trying to light the device could cause the battery to ignite and explode.)
The liquid or “smoke juice” that fills the cartridges is usually propylene glycol, an additive that the FDA has approved for use in food. (Fog machines that create a smoky atmosphere at stage shows also use propylene glycol.) Consumers can buy cartridges containing different amounts of nicotine, or no nicotine at all. Manufacturers usually add flavorings to the liquid. Options range from tobacco and menthol flavor to mint, chocolate, coffee, apple, cherry and caramel.
E-cigarette companies sell their products in retail stores, but also, increasingly, online. A wide array of models and brands are available. Some mimic the appearance of tobacco cigarettes, while others look like cigars, pipes and even pens. Prices vary, ranging from $40 to $120 for a starter kit, which usually includes a charger and a few cartridges along with the e-cigarette. Cartridges typically last about as long as a pack of 20 tobacco cigarettes and sell for about $10 each. Consumers also can purchase bottles of e-liquid and refill the cartridges themselves. This reduces the cost of use, generally making e-cigarettes cheaper to use than tobacco cigarettes.
But even if they’re affordable and fun to use, are e-cigarettes safe? Some health experts are concerned about marketers promoting them as a healthier alternative to tobacco. So before you trade in your pack of smokes for the electronic version, read on as we fill you in on the potential health risks of e-cigarettes.
Some studies have discovered toxic compounds in e-cigarettes, including diethylene glycol, which is also found in antifreeze. Quality control is one of the main issues health experts have with e-cigarettes. They argue that manufacturers may not disclose all of the chemical ingredients used in their products. This means it may be impossible for users to know exactly what they’re consuming. There is also not much known about the short- or long-term health effects of exposure to nicotine vapor.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted a small study in 2009 to analyze a sample of nicotine cartridges from two manufacturers. The results showed that the amount of nicotine delivered did not always match the amount stated on the label. The study also revealed that some cartridges labeled nicotine-free in fact contained nicotine. And cancer-causing compounds found in tobacco were also found in some e-cigarette cartridges, along with other toxins. One of the toxins found was diethylene glycol, a toxic chemical used in antifreeze. [source: FDA].
Despite these findings, electronic cigarette manufacturers claim that their products may have the potential to improve the health and lives of people addicted to nicotine. But many health experts say e-cigarette makers haven’t conducted the research needed to back up their claims. The World Health Organization (WHO), for example, says there is not enough evidence to show that e-cigarettes are safe.
Health experts are also concerned about companies marketing e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products like the nicotine patch or gum have been tested for their safety and effectiveness as smoking cessation aids. E-cigarettes have not. Some experts have expressed concern that marketers’ claims — or positive word-of-mouth from e-cig users — may convince people to use e-cigarettes to try to stop smoking, instead of a method that has been proven effective.
Another question is whether nonsmokers will be attracted by the novelty or the perceived safety of e-cigarettes and take up the habit, thus becoming addicted to nicotine. This is especially important where younger consumers are concerned — the candy-like flavors may particularly appeal to children and adolescents. And because e-cigarettes are sold online, young people may have easy access — most companies don’t check or confirm the age of their Internet customers.
While e-cigarettes may help consumers avoid many of the health risks of smoking tobacco, they still give users a dose of an addictive substance. Regulatory authorities are struggling to classify electronic cigarettes and introduce the right controls. If e-cigarettes continue to gain popularity, they may become a common sight in restaurants, movie theaters, offices and other venues. Is that a good thing for the public? On the next page, we’ll look at a few key issues that e-cigs raise about health, safety and personal freedom.
Here are some key points about e-cigarettes. More detail is in the main article.
Vaping: Is it really safer than smoking?
An e-cigarette is a long tube that usually resembles a cigarette, a cigar, a pipe, or a pen. Most are reusable, with replaceable and refillable cartridges, but some are disposable.
The first patent for a “smokeless, non-tobacco cigarette” was requested by Herbert A. Gilbert in 1963, but the current device did not appear until 2003.
The e-cigarette as we know it was invented by Hon Lik, a Chinese pharmacist, working for Golden Dragon Holdings, now known as Ruyan. The company started exporting into major markets in 2005 to 2006. There are now over 460 different brands on the market.
Most e-cigarettes have:
As the user sucks on the mouthpiece, a sensor activates a heating element that vaporizes a flavored, liquid solution held in the mouthpiece. The person then “vapes,” or inhales, the aerosol solution.
The nicotine content varies from zero to “extra-high,” or 24 to 36 milligrams (mg) per milliliter (ml).
The mouthpiece is a cartridge that is fixed to the end of a tube. A small plastic cup within the mouthpiece holds an absorbent material drenched in the liquid solution.The cartridge can either be refilled or replaced with another pre-filled cartridge when necessary.
The atomizer is a heating element that heats the liquid, causing it to vaporize. The solution can then be breathed in, or inhaled.
The battery powers the heating element. This is normally a rechargeable, lithium-ion battery.
The sensor activates the heater when the user sucks on the device. An LED may show when it is activated.
The solution, also known as e-liquid or e-juice, is made by extracting nicotine from tobacco and mixing it with a base, usually propylene glycol, and flavoring. Propylene glycol is used in inhalers, for example, for asthma. There is a wide range of flavors to choose from, with names such as traditional, watermelon, menthol, and lava flow.
Some flavors, such as a combination of tobacco and menthol, try to resemble traditional cigarettes. A number of them claim to mimic specific brands.use led
E-cigarettes create vapor made of fine and ultrafine particles of particulate matter, which have been found to contain propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine, flavors, small amounts of toxicants, carcinogens, and heavy metals(lead,+), as well as metal nanoparticles, and other substances. Formaldehyde: This is a cancer-causing substance that may form if e-liquid overheats or not enough liquid is reaching the heating element.
Here are 10 reasons why the authorities are concerned:Adverse Health Effects of E-Cigarette:
News outlets and social media sites report widespread use of JUUL by students in schools, including classrooms and bathrooms.
|Chemical constituents||Permissible limit||Toxic effect||Molecular mechanism of toxicity||Reference|
|Acetaldehyde||45–270 ppm for 1 h||Eye, skin and respiratory tract irritation on acute exposure; pulmonary oedema and necrosis on higher exposures [46, 47]||Readily binds to protein and DNA, forming damaging adducts and impairing normal function and enzyme activity||[48, 49]|
|Acetone||750–1000 ppm per 8 h||Respiratory irritant in small quantities; CNS depression and cardiorespiratory failure in large amounts [50, 51]||Metabolism in high amounts is not possible, leading to its accumulation and toxicity|||
|Acrolein||0.1 ppm per 8 h||Highly toxic respiratory and cardiovascular toxicant [51, 52]||Highly reactive, leading to DNA and protein adduction, endoplasmic reticulum stress, membrane damage, mitochondrial disruption, oxidative stress and immune dysfunction|||
|Cadmium||5 μg m−3 of air for 8 h||Pulmonary changes with obstructive damage, renal dysfunction and teratogenicity in animals ||Interacts with DNA repair machinery, acts as a catalyst for ROS production, increases lipid peroxidation and induces apoptosis in cellular systems||[55, 56]|
|Chromium||0.5 mg m−3||Nasal ulcers and perforations, lung and prostate cancers ||Under physiological conditions, can produce reactive intermediates, hydrogen peroxide and GSH, which can attack DNA, protein and membrane lipids|||
|Formaldehyde||0.3 ng m−3||Respiratory inflammation, pneumonia and bronchitis, neurological symptoms ||Highly reactive electrophilic reagent that can easily attach to neutrophilic biological targets, leading to formation of harmful adducts and ROS|||
|Nicotine||0.5 mg m−3||
tachycardia, vasoconstriction, bronchorrhea, hyperpnoea [60, 61]
|Toxicity attributed to oxidative damage, lipid peroxidation and DNA adduct formation|||
|N-Nitrosamine||0.3 ng m−3||Carcinogen ||Forms diazonium or oxynium ions which cause alkylating DNA|||
|Toluene||200 ppm per 8 h||Neurotoxicity including euphoria, depression, cognitive impairment ||Metabolises to form hippurate ions resulting in metabolic acidosis and hypokalaemia|||
|Lead||50 μg m−3 per 8 h||Neurotoxin, cardiotoxin, behavioral and developmental changes ||Causes oxidative stress and ionic imbalance|||
Nicotine is both a sedative and a stimulant. When a body is exposed to nicotine, the individual experiences a “kick.” This is partly caused by nicotine stimulating the adrenal glands, which results in the release of adrenaline.This surge of adrenaline stimulates the body. There is an immediate release of glucose, as well as an increase in heart rate, breathing activity, and blood pressure.
Nicotine also makes the pancreas produce less insulin, causing a slight increase in blood sugar or glucose. Indirectly, nicotine causes the release of dopamine in the pleasure and motivation areas of the brain. A similar effect occurs when people take heroin or cocaine. The drug user experiences a pleasurable sensation.
Dopamine is a brain chemical that affects emotions, movements, and sensations of pleasure and pain. If your brain dopamine levels rise, the feeling of contentment is higher. Depending on the dose of nicotine taken and the individual’s nervous system arousal, nicotine can also act as a sedative.
Pharmacologic effects : When humans, mammals, and most other types of animals are exposed to nicotine, it increases their heart rate, heart muscle oxygen consumption rate, and heart stroke volume. These are known as pharmacologic effects.
Psychodynamic effects : Consuming nicotine is also linked to raised alertness, euphoria, and a sensation of being relaxed.
Concentration and memory : Studies have shown that nicotine appears to improve memory and concentration. It is thought that this is due to an increase in acetylcholine and norepinephrine. Norepinephrine also increases the sensation of wakefulness, or arousal.
Reduced anxiety : Nicotine results in increased levels of beta-endorphin, which reduces anxiety.
Nicotine is highly addictive : People who regularly consume nicotine and then suddenly stop experience withdrawal symptoms, which may include:
The American Heart Association says that nicotine consumed from smoking tobacco is one of the hardest substances to quit. It is considered to be at least as hard as quitting heroin. A 2013 studyTrusted Source showed that reducing the amount of nicotine in cigarettes also brings down their level of addictiveness. A study carried out at the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that nicotine consumption makes cocaine more addictive.
Nicotine causes a wide range of side effects in most organs and systems.The circulation of the blood can be affected in the following ways:
Side effects in the brain include:
In the gastrointestinal system, nicotine can have the following effects:
The heart can experience the following after taking in nicotine:
If a woman smokes while pregnant, the following risks are likely in the development of the child:
Other effects include:
Lungs – Symptoms include a dry cough, shortness of breath when using extra energy, and wheezing. … Eyes nose and throat – Diacetyl vapors can sting or burn the eyes. The vapors can cause your nose and throat to burn and feel sore. Skin – Diacetyl can irritate the skin.
There have been no reports of neurological changes due to propylene glycol in foods. Summary At toxic levels, propylene glycol has been found to cause seizures and severe neurological symptoms. There have also been cases of nausea, vertigo and strange sensations.
Health Effects. Occupational exposure to cadmium can lead to a variety of adverse health effects including cancer. Acute inhalation exposure (high levels over a short period of time) to cadmium can result in flu-like symptoms (chills, fever, and muscle pain) and can damage the lungs.
Chromium(VI) is a danger to human health, mainly for people who work in the steel and textile industry. … The hexavalent form is toxic. Adverse effects of the hexavalent form on the skin may include ulcerations, dermatitis, and allergic skin reactions.
06. Health effects of formaldehyde:
Aside from ALS(Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis-ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, or motor neuron disease is a disease that gradually paralyzes people because the brain is no longer able to communicate with the muscles of the body that we are typically able to move at will) risk or other nervous system consequences, formaldehyde is a respiratory irritant that causes chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing, and nose and throat irritation, according to the ATSDR. It can also cause cancer, and has been linked to an increased risk of asthma and allergies in kids.
07. Health effects of Toluene:
Toluene is a highly flammable liquid and it can cause mild damage to the skin and the eyes. However, the most-common hazard associated with this chemical is inhalation. Products containing toluene can produce dangerous fumes which can cause nausea, headaches, unconsciousness, and even death if inhaled.
Exposure to high levels of lead may cause anemia, weakness, and kidney and brain damage. Very high lead exposure can cause death. Health effects from short-term overexposure to lead : Abdominal pain, Constipated, Tired, Headachy, Irritable, Loss of appetite, Memory loss, Pain or tingling in the hands and/or feet.
Nitrosamines can cause cancers in a wide variety of animal species, a feature that suggests that they may also be carcinogenic in humans. At present, available epidemiological evidence from case-control studies on nitrite and nitrosamine intake supports a positive association with gastric cancer risk.
Exposure may also cause severe damage to the mouth, throat, and stomach; accumulation of fluid in the lungs, chronic respiratory disease, kidney and liver damage, throat irritation, dizziness, reddening, and swelling of the skin.
Exposure to Acrolein can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, headache, and passing out. Higher concentrations can cause unconsciousness and death. * Breathing Acrolein can irritate the lungs causing coughing and/or shortness of breath.
The most serious harmful health effects from exposure to nickel, such as chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function, and cancer of the lung and nasal sinus, have occurred in people who have breathed dust containing certain nickel compounds while working in nickel refineries or nickel-processing plants.
Phenol is corrosive and causes severe chemical burns on contact. Systemic effects can occur from all routes of exposure and may include convulsions, sudden collapse, coma, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, methemoglobinemia, hemolytic anemia, profuse sweating, hypotension, arrhythmia, pulmonary edema, and tachycardia.
Immediately or shortly after exposure to benzoic acid, the following health effects can occur: Eye damage. Irritation of the skin, resulting in a rash, redness, and/or a burning feeling. Irritation to the nose, throat and lungs if inhaled, which may cause coughing, wheezing and/or shortness of breath.
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