Electronic cigarettes – also known as vapor products – are devices developed to reduce the consumption of conventional cigarettes. It works by heating a small amount of flavored nicotine to generate an aerosol. The aerosol is inhaled and exhaled by users as if smoking. Electronic cigarettes are geared towards chronic smokers who want to either reduce their cigarette consumption or quit tobacco for good.
According to the Public Health England report, electronic cigarette use – colloquially known as vaping – is 95% less harmful to the body than traditional cigarettes.
History of Vaping
The device was developed in China by Hon Lik, a chain-smoking medical researcher who wanted to quit smoking but don’t know how. He developed the device in hopes of curing his nicotine addiction, an addiction that claimed the life of his father. After getting funding from a private company, the first mass-produced electronic cigarettes were sold in China. Eventually, the technology made its way to the west in 2007. By 2015, the electronic cigarette has grown into a $6 billion industry.
Facts About Electronic Cigarettes
Because electronic cigarettes are new, it’s a misunderstood product that generated a lot of misconceptions. Research about the technology is limited so the scientific community remains wary of endorsing vapor products as a smoking cessation aid. However, these are the facts that we do know about vapor products:
It Does Not Require Combustion
The main reason why smoking tobacco is so dangerous is the chemicals generated from burning dried tobacco leaves. Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, 7 of which cause cancer.
Electronic cigarettes do not require combustion. Instead, a coil heats up to vaporize the e-liquid or juice into water vapor. E-liquid is the flavored nicotine used to operate a vapor product. The lack of combustion reduces the risk of generating harmful chemicals.
May Contain Nicotine
The liquid used to operate a vapor product is formulated with four main ingredients: nicotine, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and food flavorings. Some makers add different chemicals to enhance the juice’s flavor.
Although nicotine is not a carcinogenic compound, it’s a highly addictive chemical. This compound, which is a byproduct of tobacco, is the reason why cigarettes are so addicting. Health experts fear that the nicotine in e-liquids could cause addiction among electronic cigarette users. This defeats the purpose of the device, which is to help people overcome an addictive habit. That said, some e-liquids do not come with nicotine at all.
Costs Less than Smoking Cigarettes
Although a basic electronic cigarette kit could set you back anywhere from $30 to $100, vaping is cheaper than smoking in the long run.
Smoking a pack of cigarettes is an expensive habit. In a year, a one-pack-per-day habit costs $1,000. Because vapor products are reusable, you just need to maintain the device, not replace it often. This contributes to the affordability and practicality of the device.
Vaping is not 100% Harmless
Although electronic cigarettes are 95% less harmful to the health than tobacco, they are not 100% risk-free. Some studies found that vaping products generate chemicals that are also found in cigarette smoke – albeit in very low doses. Health experts say that although the dose of these chemicals is so low that they do not pose any health risks, electronic cigarette use should be reduced as well. Other studies found that habitual vaping may cause lung disease or tissue damage. But more research is needed to determine the potential risks and benefits of vaping to the health.