E-cigarette era is now booming in the industry and appreciated by a billion cigarette smokers. Broadwell (2015) explains that they were invented in China and hit U.S market in 2006. It has led to a doubling of teen and tween smokers between 2011 and 2012 due to its skyrocketing market with its retail sales reaching to $1.7 billion. It has been proved as an alternative to traditional cigarettes and a device, which would help, quit smoking habits. E-cigarettes work like normal cigarette where the end glows as users inhale. After taking a puff at the end of the tube, the battery heats the nicotine-creating vapor, which is inhaled in the lungs. The process results in a smoke sensation in the lungs and mouth without actual smoking. Thus known as vaping. Exhaling involves emission of a cloud looking smoke. The vapor resembles the fog seen on rock shows.
E-cigarettes is a short form of electronic cigarettes devices having a battery inside which is the heating element, and full of liquid nicotine dissolved in water solution and propylene glycol. The nicotine is held by a cartridge, which also contains flavorings among other liquids. Vaping is a name given to using e-cigarettes. They are packaged in a white cylindrical tube, a red-glowing tip, and a brown filter. Others are darker in color.
Safety of e-cigarettes
E-cigarettes have nicotine, which is addictive as users attempt to stop using it. They experience withdrawal symptoms such as depression, anxiety, restlessness, and extreme irritation. It affects the heart and arteries (Broad well, 2015). Studies indicate that e-cigarettes might be safer and less harmful to use than regular cigarettes but their greatest danger lies with their smoke since they do not burn. Their harmful chemicals emitted are a fraction of chemicals emitted in real cigarettes. Although e-cigarettes reduce diseases and deaths from harmful chemicals, it is important to analyze their prons and cons especially for the benefit of those living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Their extra benefits could help them quit smoking or improve their condition.
Cons of e smoking
Propylene glycol an e-liquid ingredient contributes greatest trouble among smokers. It results in dehydration due to its ability to naturally trap water. It also leads to allergies because of its reactions. It causes irritations in the mouth and throat as well as nausea, hospitalizations and death. Further users present with aching jaws, heartburn, hiccups, belching and flatulence. They have severe headaches, high feelings, clammy skin, and excessive sweating. They also have high palpitations (Bullen et al., 2010). Explosions of batteries in e-cigarette bring severe injuries in the mouth, tongue, and teeth.
Their tastes are different from normal tobacco taste since it does not burn but vaporized. People looking to abandon use of cigarettes are not encouraged to use it. In addition, technical problems may result in failure to produce mist after puffing thus affecting the received doses. The greatest cause is the difference in manufacture standards required in pharmaceutical devices like inhalators (Farsalinos et al., 2014). Use of E-cigarettes lacks proper regulation and guidelines on the processing of manufacturers. Example there are no tobacco taxes to be paid after purchasing e-cigarettes, they can be bought from any retailer and in any flavor preferred by the user. E-cigarettes’ lack important health warnings, clear stated instructions, proper labels, method of use and safe methods of disposal. The cartridges are in great danger of leaking and cause toxins exposure to nicotine.
E-cigarettes lead to acute effects on the pulmonary system within first five seconds of smoking. Within a short period of smoking e-cigarettes, the lungs experience increased impedance, resistance in the peripheral airway flow, and stress in oxidation process among healthy smokers. Ingredients contained in E-cigarettes are among those known to be toxic to human being’s health. They have nicotine, which is addictive and affects brain neurotransmitters and lead to addictive cravings as well as behavior. They emit carcinogens and other toxic metals that are more dangerous than tobacco. In addition, it is not a requirement for manufacturers to submit clinical study data thus the public fails to know the concentrations of harmful chemicals are present and amount of nicotine inhaled (Farsalinos et al., 2014).
E-cigarretes have an addictive nicotine thus could be a gateway to use by children and attract non-smokers because of their candy flavorings. In addition, they do not leave a tobacco smell in the mouth thus; it is harder to be noticed. Children are at higher risk since their parents do not recognize their use of e-cigarettes. They are highly advertised on media, which popularizes smoking among people of all ages. E-cigarettes affect the development of the brain in children and teens. E-Cigarettes increase nicotine levels in blood and the ability to peak high levels of nicotine concentration.
Pros of e-cigarettes
E-cigarettes have only nicotine, which is unlike other addictive ingredients in normal cigarettes like those that tar, tobacco, and toxic chemicals contained in traditional cigarettes. The harmful ingredients cause cancer, lung diseases, and heart diseases (Broadwell, 2015). E-cigarettes produce low amounts of carcinogens compared with traditional cigarettes. Traditional cigarette contain approximately 4,000 to 7,000 harmful chemicals produced by the smoke in tobacco unlike e-cigarettes, which use vapor technology and produce fewer carcinogens.
Due to their nicotine patches, those who wish to quit smoking prefer them. They assist them reduce their smoking habit and are able to quit.
They have less harm to neighbors and second hand users since they do not smell. Although they have similar sensation and experience, they are socially acceptable due to their flavorings that have no unpleasant odor and do not stain teeth and fingernails. They are cheaper than traditional cigarettes due to their vaping habits.
E-ciggarretes assists people wishing to quit smoking. Studies done by (Bullen et al., 2010) indicate that desire to smoke cigarettes diminished as they continued using the cartridges. The desires reached their lowest levels after 5 minutes of puffing normal cigarettes and after 10 minutes of vaping e-cigarettes. Over a period of 60 minutes, users of 16mg e-cigarette showed no desire to continue smoking unlike those using traditional cigarettes. In addition, they experienced fewer ratings of restlessness, irritations, and difficulties in concentration and withdrawal symptoms.
Comparison with other products
E-Cigarettes have moderate increase to levels of nicotine in the blood. Usual cigarettes have the highest levels seconded by nicotine ENDDs and lastly the inhalator. A higher C max is observed in usual cigarette compared with other types. Irritations are commonly observed while using inhalators with rates of (88%) than when using 0mg ENDD having 22% prevalence rates. There is a statistically significant difference between active ENDDs and placebo ENDDs. Nausea is experienced among ENDD users unlike in other products.
Comparison of pharmacokinetic properties include, usual cigarettes having a mean t max of 14.3 and a mean Cmax of 13.4. 16mg ENDD having a mean tmax of 19.6 and a mean C max of 1.3, while nicotine inhalator having 32.0, mean t max and 2.1 mean C max (Bullen et al., 2010). ENDD has similar characteristics to a Nicolette inhalator since it has similar adverse events and user preferences. The difference is with irritations where the inhalator has higher irritations in the mouth and throat unlike the e-cigarette.
In conclusion, e-cigarettes are acceptable and tolerable by most users, which reduce the desire to smoke than inhalators and usual cigarettes. E-cigarette exhibits a better pharmacokinetic profile than inhalator and tobacco cigarettes and has least adverse effects, concluding that e-cigarettes have the potential to help people quit smoking as compared to nicotine inhalators.
Bullen, C., McRobbie, H., Thornley, S., Glover, M., Lin, R., & Lauqesen, M. (2010).Effect of electronic delivery device (E-Cigarrete) on desire to smoke and withdrawal, user preferences and nicotine delivery: randomized crossover trial. Tob Control, 19 (2), 98- 103.
Broadwell, L. (2015). Pros and cons of e-cigarettes. Med shadow. Retrieved from http://medshadow.org/features/are-ecigarettes-safe/pros-cons-e-cigarettes/
Farsalinos, K., Tsiapras, D., Kyrzopoulos, S., Savvopoulou, M., Voudris, V. (2014). Acute effects of using an electronic nicotine-delivery device (e-cigarrete) on myocardial function: comparison with the effects of regular cigarettes.BMC cardiovascular Discord, 14-78. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24958250