How safe really are E-Cigs?

Nowadays, you can’t walk from class to class, or dorm to dorm, without seeing people smoking e-cigs (electronic cigarettes). People smoke e-cigs so they can have the same pleasure of smoking, without any harm on their body.. But are they really keeping their body safe? The FDA considers an electronic cigarette to be a battery operated device that lets the user inhale a vapor which can contain nicotine or another substance (American Lung Association). They can come in many different forms: e-pens, e-pipes, e-hookah, and e-cigars. All of these are known as ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems). Some people think they are so harmless, that they can smoke them all day, every day. Doctors, dentists, and dermatologists have researched this device to see what e-cigs can really do to us.



Effects on the Skin:

Fitness Magazine posted an article, “Everything You Need to Know About E-Cigarettes and Your Skin” where Dr. Joel Schlessinger and Connecticut-based dermatologist Dr. Karen Soika of the Cosmetic Medic shared their research about how e-cigs affect the skin. They were first asked if an e-cigarette can affect the skin in the same way that a regular cigarette can. Schlessinger answered this by stating that any type of smoking can lead to a quicker result of aged/ wrinkled skin, under-eye bags, and dehydrated skin. He goes into the science behind this and tells us that this is because any form of smoking deprives the skin of oxygen and decreases the normal blood flow. This affects the circulation of the blood flow and this breaks down elastin. Smoking anything can also lower the amount of Vitamin C in the body which is necessary for the production of collagen. Schlessinger states that it is hard to tell the long term effects on the skin, from an e-cig, because it is such new technology but because there are similar chemicals, he believes that it is likely that it will do the same amount of damage to the skin over time. He says that puckering your lips around the nozzle constantly will cause many wrinkles around the lip area. He then goes on to say that a huge factor is the time period in which you smoke. The longer you smoke, the more your skin will be damaged. Dr. Karen Soika, The Cosmetic Medic talks about why you should be concerned about your skin if you smoke e-cigarettes. He was asked if smoking an e-cig can lead to skin cancer. His answer is that if you smoke a regular cigarette or an e-cigarette, you are two times more likely to get a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. They conclude that e-cigs are just as bad for your skin as regular cigarettes and that smoking constantly will guarantee a negative effect on the skin.

Effects on the Oral Health: One of the reasons why people smoke e-cigarettes is because regular cigarettes can make your teeth rot, change the color, and just negatively affect them in general. Oral Health group wrote their article, A Dental Perspective On Electronic Cigarettes: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, based off of the research done by Richard Holliday, (BDS (Hons), MFDS RCSEd, NHIR Academic Clinical Fellow/Specialty Registrar in Restorative Dentistry; Claire Stubbs, BDS, MFDS RCPSGlas, General Professional Trainee). In 2014, a lot of research was done and observations were taken to see how e-cigarettes affect the mouth. Many users filled out a questionnaire about the side effects that they experience when smoking an e-cig and the most commonly repeated side effect was that they felt an automatic sense of dryness and irritation in their throat. In France, there was a 5 year long multicentre prospective observational cohort study that took place to test e-cig’s effects. One outcome was hospital admission for oral cavity cancer. This goes to show how dangerous e-cigs can be to the mouth. Even in Fitness Magazine, Dr. Karen Soika states that smoking an e-cig also increases the risk of getting  oral leukoplakia which is the precancer to oral cancer. She also says that 75% of oral cancer is caused by any type of smoking.

Effects on General Health/Lungs:

Although it is said that e-cigarettes are much safer than regular cigarettes, e-cigs can still bring toxic chemicals, such as carcinogens, to the lungs. Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, found that e-cigs bring the body a high level of nanoparticles, which can increase the risk of asthma. There have been many studies that link smoking to breathing problems. Maciej Goniewicz from Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y, explains that the users of the newer and more improved e-cigarettes have a higher risk to the body. Second generation e-cigs allows their user to increase the voltage and temperature per puff, which leads to more nicotine going into the body and chemicals reaching the lungs. Many of the chemicals in e-cigs are mostly a concern when they actually reach the lungs.  Stanton Glantz believe that the particle size and amount of particles is a major factor in how much the body can be affected by this. Glantz found that many e-cig users will inhale large amounts of tiny aerosols, which are the most harmful size, which will be carried into the lungs smallest airways. This will cause a block to move air to the body and can cause more breathing problems.

There are not necessarily the facts to prove that e-cigs are MORE dangerous than regular cigarettes, but they sure can be as dangerous as them. E-cigs can negatively affect oral health, you skin, your lungs, and your body’s overall health. So kids, think again before vaping.


A Dental Perspective On Electronic Cigarettes: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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1 thought on “How safe really are E-Cigs?

  1. John Rutledge

    This is a very interesting blog post. And anything that is going into your lungs that isn’t air, can’t be good for you. But for e-cigs, the amount of short-term damage you are doing to yourself is very miniscule, but the long term is unsure because they haven’t been around long enough for us to conduct tests on them. Overall, using them instead of cigarettes is definitely worse for you than smoking an e-cig.

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