E-Cigarette

What is E-Cigarette?

Electronic cigarettes, also known as vaporizers, are battery-operated devices that people use to inhale liquid nicotine or other chemicals. Other devices, such as those with fillable tanks, may look different. Regardless of their design and appearance, these devices generally operate in a similar manner and are made of similar components.

How do E-Cigarettes work?

The nicotine in liquids is readily absorbed from the lungs into the bloodstream and stimulates the adrenal glands to release the hormone adrenaline. As with most addictive substances, nicotine activates the brain’s reward circuits and also increases levels of a chemical messenger in the brain called dopamine, which reinforces rewarding behaviors. Pleasure caused by nicotine’s interaction with the reward circuit motivates some people to use nicotine again and again, despite risks to their health and well-being.

What are the health effects of e-cigarettes? Are they safer than tobacco cigarettes?

Although some research suggests that e-cigarettes might be less harmful than cigarettes when people who regularly smoke switch to them as a complete replacement, but other researches suggest it can even prime the brain’s reward system, putting vapers at risk for addiction to other drugs.

Smokers of e-cigarettes are could experience greater exposure to the following substances:

  • Nickle
  • Chromium
  • Cadmium
  • Toxic chemicals
  • Nicotine levels

A recent study published in the journal of addiction medicine (Raymon et al 2018) reported nicotine labeling inaccuracies in current e-liquid solutions produced in the United States.

More research is needed on the health consequences of repeated exposure to these chemicals.

Can e-cigarettes help a person quit smoking?

E-cigarettes are not an FDA-approved quit aid, and there is no conclusive scientific evidence on the effectiveness of e-cigarettes for long-term smoking cessation. It should be noted that there are seven FDA-approved quit aids that are proven safe and can be effective when used as directed.

References:

  1. Villanti AC, Johnson AL, Ambrose BK, et al. Flavored Tobacco Product Use in Youth and Adults: Findings From the First Wave of the PATH Study (2013-2014). Am J Prev Med. March 2017. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2017.01.026.
  2. Leventhal AM, Strong DR, Kirkpatrick MG, et al. Association of Electronic Cigarette Use With Initiation of Combustible Tobacco Product Smoking in Early Adolescence. JAMA. 2015;314(7):700-707. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.8950.
  3. Bold KW, Kong G, Camenga DR, et al. Trajectories of E-Cigarette and Conventional Cigarette Use Among Youth. Pediatrics. December 2017:e20171832. doi:10.1542/peds.2017-1832.
  4. Rubinstein ML, Delucchi K, Benowitz NL, Ramo DE. Adolescent Exposure to Toxic Volatile Organic Chemicals From E-Cigarettes. Pediatrics. March 2018:e20173557. doi:10.1542/peds.2017-3557
  5. Hess CA, Olmedo P, Navas-Acien A, Goessler W, Cohen JE, Rule AM. E-cigarettes as a source of toxic and potentially carcinogenic metals. Environ Res. 2017;152:221-225. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2016.09.026.
  6. Raymond, Barrett, H.; Collette-Merrill, Katreena; Harrison, Roger, G.; Jarvis, Sabrina; Rasmussen, Ryan, Jay. The Nicotine Content of a Sample of E-cigarette Liquid Manufactured in the United States. Journal of Addiction Medicine: March/April 2018 – Volume 12 – Issue 2 – p 127–131.
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