E-cigarettes are still the subject of controversy: are they healthy? And what is the result if compared to regular cigarettes? How does the “smoking” process occur in it? Do they emit toxic compounds?
Electronic cigarettes succeeded in persuading about 6.7 percent of smokers in France to switch to them and leave regular cigarettes, about 13 years after they were put on the market, and 15 years after their invention.
Currently, many doctors recommend them as a less harmful alternative to regular cigarettes, the average price of one pack of which in France is about 10 euros. However, these cigarettes still raise questions and are the subject of near-constant health debate.
There is now consensus in studies that vaping reduces the risk for smokers trying to quit cigarettes.
This is confirmed by Dr. Corinne Dubani, a specialist in pulmonology, who says, “If smoking is as dangerous as driving against the highway, then smoking e-cigarettes is like driving at 130 kilometers per hour instead of 120.”
However, smelling some of the odors emanating from those cigarettes raises a question mark about the substances they contain.
There is no smoke without fire
Electronic cigarettes do not emit smoke, but vapor. This is what you should know first.
When the consumer lights an ordinary cigarette and burns its tobacco, a process of chemical reaction begins to take place, between fire, heat and oxygen. Scientifically, this process is called “combustion,” and toxic components such as carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, benzene, nitrogen oxide, and tar are released from it.
This mixture of toxins contributes to the smoker’s infection, as well as those around him, but to a lesser extent, with cancer, respiratory diseases, and cardiovascular diseases.
But when you consume an e-cigarette, what happens is vaporization, meaning the substance changes from a liquid state to a gaseous state.
This process occurs due to the high temperature of the metal conductors (Résistance) to about 200 degrees Celsius, but the process is not chemical and is therefore less burdensome for the consumer.
Experts say that smoking electronic cigarettes reduces the amount of toxins consumed by the body by 95 percent compared to regular cigarettes, however, they do not advise non-smokers to consume electronic cigarettes despite the “clean operation”.
Do they cause diseases?
The liquids in e-cigarettes are composed of the synthetic organic compound propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine.
According to Charlie Biro, one of the specialists in the matter, the first compound provides, physiologically, the feeling that ex-smokers are looking for, while the second provides the consumer with a somewhat sweet taste and enhances the vapor production process.
Nicotine enters these two compounds in different degrees, as is well known.
In France, laws oblige manufacturers to avoid many compounds in these cigarettes, especially carcinogenic and toxic compounds and other compounds such as heavy metals, sugars, sweeteners, vegetable and mineral oils, vitamins, stimulant additives and formaldehyde compounds.
Dr. Dubani asserts that smoking e-cigarettes does not cause diseases in the respiratory system, but indicates that the vapor may lead to stimulation of the respiratory system, like sauna steam, which leads to coughing sometimes.
To further reduce the risk, especially the risk of coughing, experts recommend buying high-quality e-liquids that comply with the conditions set by the authorities, and also changing the metal connector regularly so that it does not overheat and cause fluid leakage.
So far, the only truly documented harmful effect of vaping remains in the oral domain, with the risk of gum disease, as the compound glycerin tends to dry out mucous membranes.