The World Health Organization (WHO) and other government agencies including the California Department of Health, are working hard to pass laws restricting e-cigarette use and manufacturing. It is their belief that vaping is just as dangerous as cigarette smoking, and that the FDA should be able to regulate the ingredients used in e-liquids.
Currently there are no regulations in place that mandate standardized e-liquid ingredients or the sharing of those ingredients. Since e-liquid does not need to be FDA approved, and there are no labels which provide the user with information about its contents, users could be inhaling high levels of chemicals or nicotine without knowing.
Proponents of the sanctions believe that vaping is a gateway to cigarette smoking, and that e-cigarettes will reverse all of the hard work done over the years to decrease the use of conventional cigarettes. Many believe that the variety of fruity and sweet flavored e-juice products were created in an attempt to target children, and that e-cigarettes could lead to an increase of nicotine addiction in children. Reports show that California’s poison control centers have received an increase of 147 calls involving children and vaping from 2012 to 2014.
“As we have done with other important outbreaks or epidemics, we are taking this formal step of warning Californians about the health risks of e-cigarettes,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, State Health Officer and director of the California Department of Public Health. E-cigarettes, also called “vape pens” and “e-hookahs,” use a substance called e-juice, “which when heated emits a toxic aerosol, not a harmless water vapor,” Chapman said.
E-liquid has been found to contain at least 10 chemicals on California’s list of carcinogens, including: benzene, formaldehyde, lead and nickel. “There are myths and misinformation about e-cigarettes and many people do not know that they pose many of the same health risks as traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products,” Chapman said. “The public needs more facts, not more fiction.”
Still, other researchers warn that e-cigarettes could be used as a tool to help smokers quit. They believe e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, and that can reduce the amount of people who day each year of smoking related illnesses. Research conducted in Belgium recently demonstrated e-cigarette use can help smokers quit.
“The nicotine e-cig offers many smokers a successful alternative for smoking less – or even quitting altogether, “ said study authors Frank Baeyens and Dinska Van Guct. “E-cigarette users get the experience of smoking a cigarette and inhale nicotine vapor, but do not suffer the damaging effects of a tobacco cigarette.” In total, 44% of the 48 people studied had reduced their tobacco consumption or eliminated it completely at the end of the eight months.
It’s important to note that e-cigarettes are a relatively new product, and there may not be enough substantial research and evidence to determine the true health risks associated with their use.
While researchers can debate the pros and cons of e-cigarette use for smokers, there’s no debate that vapor provides no benefit to non-smokers.
Many public areas still allow vaping, which means that increased numbers of non-smokers are being exposed to the harsh chemicals and nicotine emitted from e-cigarettes. The impact of this increased exposure is yet to be determined.
With the size of the e-cigarette market at around $2.5 billion in sales and growing, it’s not likely that we’ll see a decrease in e-cig production any time soon.
What are your thoughts about e-cigarettes? Do you believe they help people quit? Do you hate the smell of vapor? Let us know in the comment section below or Tweet us @Dayton_Dandes we want to hear from you.
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