E-Cigarettes May Be Safer, But They’re Still Harmful

Rayshell Clapper for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the single most easily preventable cause of death and disease is to eliminate tobacco use. Smoking can lead to many health issues including respiratory, cancer, heart disease, and blood problems. Over 480,000 Americans die each year due to cigarette smoking, and 41,000 of these deaths happen due to secondhand exposure to smoke.
With the ever-growing popularity of the e-cigarette, it may be possible that the 41,000 secondhand smoking-related illnesses and deaths could decrease; however, e-cigs are so new that there is not much research about them.
The University of Southern California recently published research about secondhand e-cigarette smoke. The study found that e-cig smoke certainly has a decrease in exposure to carcinogenic particles, but it still is not without its own harm.
The study had volunteers smoke traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes in offices and rooms because these are the most likely places that people would be exposed to secondhand smoke. The researchers then collected particles in the indoor air to study the chemical content and sources of the samples. What they found proved that e-cigs are safer than traditional cigarettes, but they still have their own set of dangers.
E-cigs have a 10-fold decrease in the bad carcinogens. They have an exposure of close to zero for organic carcinogens. This is definitely good news and further supports the idea that e-cigs are certainly healthier for all than traditional cigarettes. But they are not without their issues in the form of toxic elements like chromium, nickel, lead and zinc. These metals are inhaled by the smoker but also exhaled in the vapor making them dangerous to others. Though the concentration is lower in e-cigarettes than in traditional cigarettes, e-cigs still produce these toxins for the smoker and those close by.
The good news for e-cigarette smokers to come out of this is that the toxic metals most likely come from the cartridges of the e-cig devices more so than the liquid that is vaporized. This means that through better manufacturing standards, these devices could lessen the impact of toxins even further.
Certainly the use of e-cigarettes has helped many to stop smoking the far more dangerous carcinogenic, traditional cigarettes. Naturally, the best choice is to quit smoking altogether. Once a smoker quits, he or she immediately lowers the chance of cancer, heart disease, blood issues, eye problems and breathing troubles. E-cigarettes are definitely safer and healthier than regular cigarettes, but they still aren’t as good as quitting completely.
Though the USC findings are a step in the right direction, there is still much that people do not know about the impact of e-cigarettes. It certainly is good to know that e-cigs are safer and healthier than traditional smoking and secondhand smoke, but until we know more about just how much safer and what other possible dangers e-cigs may expose us to, we should embrace the ideas that e-cigs are still understudied.
Any foreign agents in our bodies expose us to dangers, and though the dangers of e-cigs are less, we should still work to eliminate what we can in order to succeed in preventing illnesses and diseases. Tobacco-related illnesses and diseases are the number one most preventable illnesses and diseases. E-cigs still contain nicotine, which means they still have an impact on our health. This USC study shows the beginning of a greater understanding to that impact.
The research was published online August 22 by the Journal of Environmental Science, Processes and Impacts.
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