What is electronic cigarette?

For a few months now, cigarettes have returned to bars, offices and public buildings. With the steam of e-cigarettes, the controversy over tobacco, nicotine and shared spaces has returned: are they harmful? Do they affect non-smokers?

Argentina is the third largest consumer of tobacco in Latin America and the Caribbean, with an annual number of 40,000 deaths from cigarette-related conditions.

However, tobacco is reluctant to leave the lungs of Argentines. Electronic cigarettes are a new smoking device that no longer produces smoke but steam. The person who smokes them – or goes – seeks in many cases to quit the cigarette, since they allow to progressively decrease the amount of nicotine consumed.

In other cases, cowboys do not want to stop smoking, but want to continue doing so but without harming their health: Is the electronic cigarette useful for stopping smoking? Is it possible to smoke healthy?

With little more than a decade of life, and only one year of introduction in our country, very little is really known about the electronic cigarette and its effects on our health and those around us. We present you three advantages, three disadvantages and three risks of the electronic cigarette.

Three advantages

1. Helps control nicotine consumption. Like the nicotine patches or gum, the electronic cigarette allows you to regulate the amount ingested; the novelty is that it also allows you to exhale “smoke”, as in a regular cigarette. This is the main argument of its advocates: that it is a useful tool to stop smoking gradually, without the anxiety that comes with sudden quitting.

2. It reduces the risks of smoke. Traditional smoking pollutes your environment and is dangerous to both the smoker and those around him. Much of the 400 toxic chemicals and 40 carcinogenic compounds released by smoking are consumed by the smoke. The electronic cigarette, however, does not generate combustion, significantly reducing the amount of chemicals incorporated into the body and the environment.

3. It eliminates the bad smell. One of the factors that generates greater social pressure to quit smoking is the smell that smoke leaves in the mouth, clothes, hands and even the furniture of smokers. The liquid that produces the vapor is unscented, so it leaves no unpleasant traces. It is also colorless, which makes the stains that tobacco leaves on smokers’ skin and teeth disappear.

Three disadvantages

1. Prolongs nicotine addiction There is very little evidence about the effectiveness of electronic cigarettes in quitting smoking. Addiction is not only chemical, but generally includes social and psychological aspects that the electronic cigarette does not eliminate but, on the contrary, imitates (such as “smoke” or oral consumption). Smokers, then, think they have found a harmless way to smoke and continue to use nicotine in this way, often at higher levels than when they were smoking.

2. There are no uniform and reliable safety standards. This is a product that is barely regulated, yet we use it to supply chemicals to our bodies. From sophisticated and expensive products to suspicious devices bought on the street, its use is very dangerous: there are reports of batteries exploding, of poisoning from cartridges that were leaking, and even of allergic reactions to the propylene glycol they contain.

3. All the risks of their consumption are not yet known. Scientific evidence about its effects is scarce: studies about its benefits for quitting smoking have been conducted on small populations, and its advantages over other techniques (such as nicotine patches) are not as conclusive.

It has mild pulmonary effects immediately after consumption and contains some carcinogens (such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde), although there is not yet solid research on their concentration and effective damage.

Learn more on wuft website about electronic cigarette.

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