Electronic cigarettes, referred to as e-cigarettes, have recently become popular among smokers searching for alternatives that they feel may be safer and better for their health. The problem is that very little research has been conducted to prove the potential health effects that e-cigarettes may cause. Furthermore, e-cigarettes are fairly new to the market; meaning researchers are unable to identify any potential long-term effects as well.
Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine have discovered that highly reactive free radicals are produced by e-cigarettes. Specifically speaking, these free radicals cause damage to the body’s cells, which leads to cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most current and former smokers most likely have used e-cigarettes and more than 20 percent of young adults have tried e-cigarettes.
An e-cigarette works by delivering nicotine through water vapor instead of burning tobacco, which is the delivery method of a traditional cigarette. These battery operated devices are considered a safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes have become increasingly popular, even despite the fact that we know very little regarding their potentially harmful effects.
Many consumers have this perception that e-cigarettes are a healthier option because they do not produce as many harmful substances as traditional cigarettes. The free radicals produced by e-cigarettes are connected to an increased risk of developing heart disease, chronic obstructed pulmonary disease, and cancer. E-cigarettes produce tiny liquid particles that are suspended in vapor, known as aerosols. Researchers tested the amount of free radicals found in the aerosol emitted by e-cigarettes and found that the levels are 1,000 to 100 times less than that of traditional cigarettes. However, the findings are not enough to support whether or not e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes.
In conclusion, researchers found that the vapor emitted from e-cigarettes contain free radicals, which are known to have damaging health effects. However, further research is needed to determine the chemical structures found in these free radicals and exactly how harmful e-cigarettes could be to your health. Furthermore, researchers are unable to deem e-cigarettes as safe, simply because they do not contain any tobacco.
Gilbert, S. (2015). Penn State News. Retrieved from https://news.psu.edu/story/383055/2015/12/02/research/potentially-dangerous-molecules-detected-e-cigarette-aerosols