As scientists and medicos scramble to come up with evidence for or against e cigs, they realize something: the more they know, the more questions arise. For instance, are e cigs truly safer than cigarettes? Is vapor better than smoke? Does second hand vapor pose a threat to non-vapers?
What Consumers Know So Far
At this point, there is so much bias on both sides of the argument that it is difficult to determine the truth about e cig vapor. That it’s safer than cigarette smoke is not disputed.
All bodies involved, however, want to know if it is safe. They wonder if vapers are being negatively affected and if those around them are inhaling anything they should avoid.
An attitude that promotes e cigs as truly safe is an under-informed one. For smokers, vaping is probably a far better option. Testimonies give proof of lives changed and health improved exponentially. Proving that a non-smoker can take up vaping or inhale second-hand vapor and not be negatively impacted is much harder.
Research has revealed this much so far: the number of toxins produced by vapor are minute in comparison to those produced by cigarette smoke. That is, they exist but in such tiny proportions that many vapers, quick to defend their stance, argue that “less” means “zero.”
Individuals who have maintained some objectivity realize that there are potential dangers from vapor. Here are some of the facts they have learned.
For one thing, heating materials to temperatures high enough to turn a blend of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin into vapor can also cause the release of toxic fumes. This is of particular danger when items contain sub-standard forms of plastic, or any kind of plastic actually.
Lots of cheap devices do. When you are searching for tanks and atomizers, you’d notice that something made from stainless steel and glass is both more expensive and more highly lauded.
The neutrality of these media enhances their safety. Researchers have identified some carcinogens in vapor, but whether those were produced by e liquid or by a device is unclear.
Dangers of Nicotine Exposure
However much ex-smokers want to play down the role of nicotine in causing illness, it really is an addictive drug; a stimulant. They argue that no one wants to ban coffee, and energy drinks are sold over the counter, so why get so upset about nicotine?
Caffeine is an equally dangerous stimulant and (in the case of energy drinks), potentially more dangerous. Studies are underway regarding those products but pointing in that direction is a way to throw attention off of nicotine, not to prove anything.
Moreover, a lot of people forget about the nicotine in e liquid. Although it is an optional ingredient in many brands of liquid, most disposable e cigs contain at least some (1.2% or more).
The scientific community wants to determine whether inhaling nicotine via vapor is more powerful than ingesting it. Their concern is that vapers and second-hand vapers are processing more nicotine than they realize.
It is also agreed by scientists that caffeine is potentially dangerous for the same reason that nicotine should be viewed with concern. Both products can cause an addictive response, meaning brain chemistry changes. When one does not receive enough of this stimulant, he or she experiences withdrawal.
Nicotine has been shown to cause medical problems in some people who are oversensitive or have smoked/vaped for a long time. Certain individuals will experience an immediate reaction: perhaps arrhythmia, dizziness, vomiting, or worse.
Most people, however, are not stimulated to this point by inhaling second hand smoke or vapor. It is the toxins in smoke which cause cancer and lung disease. Researchers will continue exploring the issue, while the FDA makes their decisions about how to regulate e cigs.