Are e-cigarettes healthy? Find out what the experts have to say about e-cigs and the proposed FDA regulations.
E-cigarettes are often touted as a healthy alternative to traditional cigarettes, but are they really as healthy as manufacturers claim them to be? Or, are they just a high-tech way to get the younger generation hooked on nicotine?
How E-Cigarettes Work
Electronic cigarettes are designed to look just like regular cigarettes, but they don’t produce any smoke and don’t contain the same toxic additives found in regular cigarettes.
Here’s how they work: An atomizer heats up the e-liquid (which contains nicotine) and turns it into vapor. The vapor is inhaled and creates a vapor cloud that looks just like cigarette smoke.
Are E-Cigarettes Healthy?
Manufacturers claim that e-cigarettes are a safer and healthier alternative to cigarettes, but the FDA isn’t so quick to agree. The FDA analyzed two samples of e-liquid from two very popular brands, and found trace amounts of carcinogens and other toxic chemicals. Variable amounts of nicotine were also found, but manufacturers never claimed that their e-liquids didn’t contain nicotine. The FDA issued a warning regarding the safety of electronic cigarettes after analyzing the samples.
Unfortunately, research is lagging behind the growing popularity of e-cigarettes. The truth is that experts just don’t know how safe or healthy electronic cigarettes are.
Despite the FDA’s findings, other evidence suggests that these devices are safer than traditional cigarettes, and common sense would lead most people to agree with these findings. After all, e-cigarettes don’t produce smoke, and manufacturers claim that their e-liquids contain safe ingredients.
Quality Control and Regulation
Regulatory agencies are still not sure how safe e-cigarettes are, so quality control is still an issue that plagues the industry. A big part of the problem is lack of disclosure of the ingredients used in e-liquids. During the FDA’s analysis of e-liquid products, one product contained 1 percent diethylene glycol, which is a toxic ingredient found in antifreeze.
In 2014, the FDA proposed requirements for e-cigarettes along with a few other tobacco-related products. Under the proposed requirements, e-cigarette manufacturers would be required to disclose all of the ingredients in their products, and the FDA would have to approve them before they could be marketed. In addition, the FDA would prohibit e-cigs from being sold to minors.
Manufacturers claim that e-cigarettes are purely recreational and shouldn’t be subject to regulation.
Without further research, it’s difficult to determine whether or not e-cigarettes are healthy. There are experts on both sides of the fence. But as the e-cig biz continues to grow, regulation and more testing won’t be far behind.