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E-Cigarettes – Harmful or Not?

Most people perceive the term "stress" as a negative feeling that puts a physical, mental, or emotional strain on a person.

In 2017, the American Psychological Association posted some statistics that showed what most people stress about: 63% mainly worried about the future of the nation, 62% stressed about money, and 61% were concerned about work-related issues.

To deal with those stress factors, people turn to all kinds of stress-relief: from crossword puzzles, to jogging, to playing online casino games.....to smoking a cigarette - or ten.

In recent years, the war against nicotine cigarettes increased exponentially, and one of the main tools to deal with the issue was providing the chronic smokers with alternatives, such as the e-cigarettes (AKA, ECs).

This smoking alternative is considered harmless, which is why thousands of people, especially teenagers, took up with vaping. However, not all experts believe that ECs are as safe as they seem to be.

What are the experts saying nowadays? It is time to put this subject to rest once and for all.

What are E-Cigarettes?

Before we review the subject, it is important to understand what e-cigarettes are. ECs are electronic devices that allow you to heat some liquid and inhale the vapor (thus, the term vaping). The liquid might contain nicotine in some cases, alongside other components such as glycol and glycerol, and various flavoring elements.

What Do Studies Have to Say?

In recent years, a few studies examined the subject of whether e-cigarettes are a hindrance to your health or not. The conclusions in each study were different and contradictory to one another, which is quite confusing.

In August 2018, Martina Korfei published a study where she investigated the potential damage behind ECs. One of the articles Korfei reviewed stated that exposing mice to EC smoke caused their anti-bacterial and anti-viral defense mechanisms to falter.

Other studies state that smoking ECs can damage DNA in bronchial epithelial cells in mice.

Also, in an article published by Staudt et al. in 2018, an experiment on non-smoking individuals was conducted. At the end of the study, Staudt discovered that even short-term EC smoking, no matter if there is no nicotine involved, resulted in altered gene expression. The participants showed signs of increased inflammation and pro-tumorigenic signals that are associated with lung cancer, which wasn’t the case before the study.

However, other studies came to different conclusions. In an article published by Polosa et al. in 2017, it was stated that there is no difference between EC smokers and non-smokers when it comes to blood pressure, heart rate, weight, lung function, respiratory symptoms, etc.

In a systematic review published by Xing Liu et al. in May 2018, it was stated that although there are some adverse effects to EC smoking - such as coughing, throat irritation, and more – they usually disappear with time.

So even though e-cigarettes are being studied and thoroughly examined as we speak, there is still no knowing who is right and who is wrong.

In Conclusion

Looking at the latest studies, it is quite clear that there isn’t enough information regarding e-cigarettes that can help us decide whether ECs are harmful or not.

However, since some studies showed that this kind of smoking alternative might have a negative effect on our health, it is something that should be taken into account. Even if you do not smoke excessively, be careful.

Until more data becomes available, there is no guaranteeing that e-cigarettes are 100% safe, so there is room to be cautious here.

Hopefully, more information will come to light someday soon, making it easier to determine whether you should use ECs or not.

Sources:

  1. Staudt, M. R., Salit, J., Kaner, R. J., Hollmann, C., & Crystal, R. G. (2018). Altered lung biology of healthy never smokers following acute inhalation of E-cigarettes. Respiratory Research, 19(1), 78.
  2. Korfei M. (2018). The underestimated danger of E-cigarettes - also in the absence of nicotine. Respiratory Research, 19(1), 159.
  3. Polosa, R., Cibella, F., Caponnetto, P., Maglia, M., Prosperini, U., Russo, C., & Tashkin, D. (2017). Health impact of E-cigarettes: a prospective 3.5-year study of regular daily users who have never smoked. Scientific Reports, 7(1), 13825.
  4. Liu, X., Lu, W., Liao, S., Deng, Z., Zhang, Z., Liu, Y., & Lu, W. (2018). Efficiency and adverse events of electronic cigarettes: A systematic review and meta-analysis (PRISMA-compliant article). Medicine, 97(19), e0324.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.

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2019-05-23 15:16:48
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