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E-Cigarettes May Not Be Better Than the Real Deal After All

ingredients in e-cigarettes
If you are a healthy person and puff on an e-cigarette for just five minutes, your lungs will undergo acute physiological changes. Now, imagine if you have COPD and use them regularly to help you quit smoking cigarettes?

As reported recently in Reuters Health, a new study finds that the electronic cigarette, which is marketed as a safer alternative to smoking tobacco, produces immediate changes in a person’s airways. Although there are no studies showing what the long-term health effects of the e-cigarette are, scientists and the FDA are saying that there are far too many unanswered questions about the safety of this product.
According to lead researcher Constantine I. Vardavas of the Center for Global Tobacco Control at the Harvard School of Public Health “This is the first evidence that just one (e-cigarette) use can have acute physiologic effects.”

During the study, researchers asked 30 healthy non-smokers to puff on an e-cigarette to determine the effects on their airways. After only five minutes, participants were given several types of breathing tests. Test results showed evidence of airway constriction and inflammation, two effects that would not be beneficial to people with COPD .

Whether or not the short-term effects of the e-cigarette could translate into long-term health risks has yet to be seen. “More studies on the long-term effects are needed,” Vardavas told Reuters Health.

But, there are always two sides to every story, and the e-cigarette is no exception. Ray Story, CEO of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association says “we already know e-cigarettes are much safer than the conventional cigarette because you’re not burning it, and you don’t have the five or six thousand ingredients in cigarettes, which are mostly dangerous chemicals.” According to Story, e-cigs contain only nicotine, water, propylene glycol, glycerol and flavoring. He further states “these ingredients are all FDA-approved.”

In fact, on its website, the FDA states that “e-cigarettes may contain ingredients that are known to be toxic to humans, and may contain other ingredients that may not be safe.” In 2010, the FDA tried to the stop the sale of e-cigs and failed. They even tried to regulate e-cigs as drugs. One thing is certain — it’s clear that the FDA and the e-cigarette industry have a relationship that is strained, at best.

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