E-cigarettes have been touted as healthier alternatives to conventional tobacco-laden sticks since their global market landing in 2003. E-cigarettes burn very small amounts of liquid tobacco to generate an aerosol mix of nicotine and artificial flavors that is inhaled or ‘vaped’.
However, multiple studies have deemed e-cigarettes to be just as likely to cause cardiac damage, and even cancer, with prolonged use. Consider a mental health specialist if you have trouble quitting.
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The E-Cigarette Debate:
E-cigarettes are growing increasingly popular among older and younger individuals, and are marketed as effective quit-smoking aids; and over 97% users agree. However, despite their ‘harmless’ public image, the globally influential FDA (Food and Drug Administration), has not approved e-cigarettes as a healthy quit-smoking tool.
The CDC believes e-cigarettes are less harmful than standard cigarettes, but are harmful nonetheless. Moreover, multiple past studies have linked e-cigarette flavorings and chemicals in the vapors to increased heart rate, heart muscle damage, and specific DNA damage leading to heart disease and cancer.
Published in the journal ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’, a 2018 study co-led by Moon-shong Tang from the New York University School of Medicine looked into the precise negative health effects of vaping.
10 male mice were exposed to e-cigarette vapor containing 10 mg nicotine for 3 hours a day 5 days a week. A separate group was exposed to filtered air. After 12 weeks, the group that inhaled e-cigarette vapor showed significant DNA damage in the heart, lungs, and bladder.
Moreover, the DNA repair process in lung tissue was also impaired, which further exposed the mice to lung damage and cancer formation.
A similar amount of nicotine-containing vapor was exposed to cultured human lung and bladder cells in the laboratory with similar results. The study concluded that e-cigarettes were carcinogenic (potentially cancer-causing) and did not, in fact, reduce the risk of developing heart disease and lung and bladder cancer as compared to tobacco smokers.
Most adults who use e-cigarettes continue to smoke regular cigarettes side-by-side, which nearly doubles the risk of a heart attack, according to another 2018 survey by researchers from UC San Francisco.
The study surveyed 70,000 people who smoked one or both products and had experienced at least one cardiac event in the past. It concluded that while e-cigarettes introduce lower levels of carcinogens into the system than standard cigarettes, they still contain ultrafine particles and multiple toxins, both of which can cause cardiovascular and lung disease.
Moreover, while daily e-cigarette use doubled the risk of heart attacks and cardiac disease, daily dual smoking of both cigarettes and e-cigarettes increased the number by 5 times. However, unlike the permanent damage caused by standard cigarette use, the risk of a heart attack associated with e-cigarettes starts reducing immediately after quitting smoking.
The Other Side:
Despite multiple studies and scientific evidence, there is strong opposition to the idea of e-cigarettes as a potential cardiovascular disease and cancer-causing agent among users, manufacturers, and even the scientific community.
Critics call these studies ‘false alarms.’ Peter Hajek, director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Mary University, London stated in his interview to The Guardian that these studies “don’t show that vaping causes cancer”, and that “it may be putting people off the switch from smoking to vaping which would undoubtedly be of great benefit to them.”
The evidence on the dangers of e-cigarettes provide a solid base, but more studies are needed for conclusive results. However, cigarette smoking has proven health risks, and should be entirely avoided. Consider medical assistance if you smoke and are having trouble quitting.
You can also book an appointment with a top mental health specialist in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your smoking-related concerns.