- Dr. Bob
Health Going Up In Smoke
E-cigarettes have been with us since 2008. I once had them in the clinic to help people
stop smoking. They have increased in popularity to the point that the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) has decided to regulate them like they do cigarettes.
Before we go further, you need to know that the use of an electronic cigarette is still
safer than smoking a conventional cigarette, cigar, or pipe. When tobacco burns, what
is sucked into the lungs includes nicotine, which is a poison, as well as impurities such
as tar, ash, products from burned paper, and perhaps chemicals that were on the
tobacco leaves. The fact that it is commercially prepared does not mean it is clean. The
hazards of tobacco use are well known. No one in their right mind would smoke
Electronic cigarettes use electricity from a battery to heat liquids to create vapors that
are inhaled. This method is used to inhale nicotine, which is a poison that affects the
nervous system and the cardiovascular system adversely. There are over 500 e-cig
vendors and almost 8000 flavor that range from bubblegum to watermelon.
The e-cigs use propylene glycol and glycerin as vehicles (to make the mist/vapor) to put
drugs like nicotine into your system. This is not the harmless water vapor that many
vendors want you to believe. These two chemicals are processed by the body to
produce formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, and both products are known to produce
With this knowledge, saying that E-cigarettes are safer than tobacco is a little like saying
that football is safer than soccer because in football you have a helmet. Both habits
exist to deliver and addictive drug. Nicotine is a powerful addiction with terrible impact
on your health. In short, it’s bad for you.
By the way, one of the most frequent causes of injury from vaping is the fact that some
of the batteries explode. These are lithium batteries that can cause serious injury with
burns to your face and eyes. Imagine the surprise…
In the news recently you may have heard that the Illinois Department of Public Health
announced that we may now have the first death reported due to “vaping.” Apparently,
this will be the tip of the iceberg. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is now tracking
193 cases of respiratory disease across 22 states related to vaping.
The habit is multiplying among teenagers: high school students use this product at a
rate of 1.5% in 2011, but recent studies show about 16% of high school students admit
vaping. The product has not been around long enough for us to know the long-term
effects, so we have no idea how big a problem this may become.
So, if you smoke, just quit. If you think you are safe by vaping instead, you may not be.
Just ask yourself how smart it is to inhale chemicals into your pulmonary membrane so
that those chemicals can be pumped to your whole body—brain included---within eight seconds.
Ask yourself if you want your children or grandchildren to model after you and take up
this habit. And--ask yourself if you really want your health to go up in smoke.