There are a lot of reasons to quit smoking, or better, to not even start. Aside from the obvious health repercussions, and chemicals, toxins and carcinogens present in cigarettes, they’re also costly, inconvenient, and there is a growing social stigma attached to smoking in the United States. For these reasons, many people are choosing electronic cigarettes to fuel their nicotine habit, and finding that it is much healthier, safer, and even helping them quit traditional cigarettes. However, because electronic cigarettes are still developing, there are still plenty of questions about their safety.
Many people are concerned about the secondhand effects of using electronic cigarettes around children. While it is clear that smoking traditional cigarettes around children can lead to very harmful health problems in growing children, the effects of using e-cigarettes are not so clear. Opinions vary, and because the technology is still comparatively new, more research may be needed to accurately gauge the safety of the e-cigarette around children.
Unlike tobacco cigarettes, electronic smokes contain only a small amount of nicotine, water, and smoke flavoring. The e-cigarette transforms the water into a vapor, which is inhaled by the user. Any “smoke” that is emitted from the e-cigarette is actually a clear, smoke-free water vapor, which is thought to be completely safe around children. The minimal amount of nicotine in an electronic cigarette is inhaled by the user, and not released into the air. E-cigarette manufacturers and retailers assure the public that e-cigarettes are perfectly safe to use around children.
The other side of the debate, however, says that they may not be the completely safe alternative they are painted to be. Some anti-smoking organizations claim that because manufacturers are not required to disclose the contents of the vapor or the liquid before it is vaporized, that it can vary from perfectly harmless to almost as harmful as cigarette smoke. Some studies have shown various levels of formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and nicotine in the vapor that is emitted. Because the e-cigarette is currently unregulated, these groups argue, the safety claims of manufacturers and retailers should be taken with a grain of salt.
Even though it is unclear what future testing of e-cigarettes might tell us, two things are certain. First, e-cigarettes are still new. They will continue to undergo changes and updates to make them safer, cheaper, more convenient, and more widely accepted. More information is needed to determine whether they are completely safe for use around children. Second, it is clear that while certain questions may still be raised about the safety of electronic cigarettes, they are absolutely safer than traditional cigarettes. Using e-cigarettes eliminates the noxious odor that sticks to smokers’ clothing, as well as the yellowing of the fingernails and teeth. It reduces or may eliminate the amount of cancer-causing agents and harmful toxins ingested by the smoker and released into the air. While more information is needed, it is safe to say that if you must smoke, an e-cigarette is a better alternative than a regular one.