Electronic cigarettes, which are also known as smokeless cigarettes, have become increasingly popular with smokers who are concerned about their health or are trying to quit the habit. Although an electronic cigarette looks and tastes very much like a regular cigarette, the small battery powered device contains no tobacco, tar or carbon monoxide and does not give off any unhealthy or unpleasant second hand smoke.
Although these e-cigarettes, as they are also commonly known, are considered to be safe, there are some possible side effects of electronic cigarettes.
Because these cigarettes are a relatively new invention, having been widely available only since around 2006, the possible side effects and the effects on health in general are still being studied to some extent. In addition, not everyone who uses them will experience the same effects from smoking an electronic cigarette, or suffer them to the same degree. If you have been smoking for many years and switch to e-cigarettes, you may find the side effects more severe or more noticeable.
However, many of those who make the switch from ‘real’ cigarettes to the electronic variety seem to suffer from no adverse or unpleasant side effects. Because e-cigarettes still contain nicotine, anyone using them is just as likely to experience some of the same nicotine related effects and symptoms as they would get from smoking an actual cigarette, and can also experience withdrawal symptoms when giving up e-cigarettes.
These electronic cigarettes still contain nicotine, although it is in a liquid form. However, it is very easy to inadvertently suck some of the liquid nicotine into your mouth, which can potentially be dangerous, and can harm the body’s respiratory system. To avoid doing this, most e-cigarette manufacturers recommend taking short drags on their product; ideally of less than a few seconds, although as many smokers know, this is not always an easy thing to do. Because they still contain nicotine in some form, they can still be addictive and many experts argue that they can even be more addictive for some people than actual cigarettes. One trend has been towards the introduction of artificial cigarettes that are entirely nicotine free, yet which still closely mirror the experience of smoking.
The nicotine and chemicals present in these virtual cigarettes can also cause various other side effects; it is not always obvious that these are being caused by smoking, making it difficult to diagnose accurately. Too much nicotine can cause headaches, which can vary in their severity, and the propylene glycol present in the device can also lead to a dry or sore throat or nose. These e-cigs also require an adjustment from inhaling smoke to inhaling vapor, and this can also cause a sore or dry throat in some smokers. Some smokers also report an unpleasant aftertaste, when they make the switch from real cigarettes.
Electronic cigarettes can also cause other side effects. The propylene glycol present in the devices can release lactic acid into the body, which can cause aching muscles. Switching from smoking real cigarettes to using the electronic ones can also lead to bleeding gums, the reason being that smokers often tend to have stronger gums. If you experience bleeding gums because of using one of these devices, the problem should disappear by itself after about a week or so. Other more minor side effects can include a feeling of tightness around the shoulders and neck, sinus congestion and dry eyes. Some smokers become jittery, and may notice that their hands are shaking.
One side effect of these artificial cigarettes is that they can perhaps encourage smoking among children and teens. Because they are widely advertised as being both safer and healthier than cigarettes, they are often perceived as not being cigarettes at all, or as being some type of fun product or gimmicky device. Some brands of e-cigarettes are even available in a variety of enticing flavors, such as mint, strawberry, chocolate and caramel, which can not only attract children to try them, but non smokers as well.
Although the side effects of electronic cigarettes are not generally severe, there are still risks associated with this product. You should always buy a reputable or trusted brand of electronic cigarette; there have been problems in the past with less reputable brands containing far more nicotine than they should, or was indicated on the packaging.
The FDA has not officially recognised the electronic variety of cigarette as being a much safer alternative to traditional cigarettes. It is certainly a safer and healthier alternative to real cigarettes, and many non smokers appreciate the fact that they are not breathing second hand smoke; you can also smoke them anywhere and they cost a lot less than real smokes. However, a much better solution for anyone considering these e-cigs would be to give up smoking altogether.