Are E-Cigs Really Safe?

By: Alli Gay ’15


(photo credits: HowStuffWorks)

Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigs and vape pens, were first invented in China and only recently introduced to the U.S. market in 2007. There are different kinds of electronic cigarettes, some that look and taste like cigarettes and some that do not.

The main differences between electronic cigarettes and traditional cigarettes are:

– Cigarettes require a lighter, while e-cigs are either rechargeable and refillable or disposable.

– E-cigs do not contain any tobacco products.

– E-cigs contain liquid nicotine and other ingredients, such as propylene glycol and flavors, that turn into a vapor in the
heating component of the device, which the smoker inhales or “vapes”.

When e-cigs first began to make an appearance in the U.S., companies marketed their products to have no negative effects on the smoker’s health. Marketers claimed that isolated liquid nicotine itself was comparable to caffeine in the way that it affects the human body. However, at that time there had been little to no research to back up this claim since the electronic cigarette was a brand-new product. All doctors really knew was that electronic cigarettes were most likely better for your health than cigarettes because they do not contain tobacco.

Doctors and scientists have since discovered that this is far from true. Dangers of E-Cigs Include:

– Liquid nicotine has been found to be lethal. It can cause harm when inhaled, swallowed, or even when it comes in
contact with skin. Only a tablespoon of an average e-liquid is enough to kill an adult male if ingested. In the past 4 years,
there have been over 215 calls to the Poison Control Center regarding poisonings due to e-liquids.

– E-cigarettes are made of different metals, which can be released and inhaled during the vaping process.

– The FDA found 1 percent diethylene glycol (DEG), a toxic chemical found in antifreeze, in several different cartridges of

– Formaldehyde, a carcinogen (cancer-causing chemical), is produced when the liquid nicotine is heated in the

– Researchers are finding that e-cigarette smokers experience reduced lung function, airway resistance, and cellular
changes. Smokers also experience headaches, eye irritation, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, and increased
heart rate and blood pressure.

Although e-cigarettes were originally marketed as being harmless, research has proven that this is far from true. While they are a little better for you than cigarettes, the negative effects that they have on people’s health are very dangerous.


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