E-cigarettes, or vaporizers, use a battery to heat a special liquid into an aerosol that users inhale. The liquid, known as e-liquid or e-juice, typically contains nicotine (which is extracted from tobacco), propylene glycol and flavourings. Some e-juices claim to be nicotine-free but even those with no nicotine contain trace amounts of the chemical when heated. These chemicals can cause harm to the lungs, particularly in young adults and those who already smoke. Additionally, e-cigarettes expose users to potentially harmful contaminants like heavy metals in the device, such as nickel, copper and silver.
While most studies on e-cigarettes have focused on the toxicity of e-liquids and aerosols, a few have also examined the actual material that makes up e-cigarettes and their components. For example, one study found that the nickel and silver particles in e-cigarette coils are toxic to lung cells. Another study showed that inhaling a single flavoured e-liquid can increase the toxicity of chemicals such as diacetyl and acetoin by up to seven-fold. However, the toxicity of these chemicals was only tested at very high concentrations in a lab setting. Inhaling these chemicals on a day-to-day basis would not expose the lungs to these levels of exposure and they would be exposed to other substances as well, such as aerosols from the electronic device itself and the atomiser.
Several studies have also shown that e-cigarettes can cause acute nicotine poisoning in children who accidentally swallow the liquid or inhale it directly from the vapor. Furthermore, the most popular e-cigarette, JUUL, has a high nicotine content and comes in pre-filled pods that are not child-safe, increasing the risk of accidental ingestion or inhalation. It has also been found that e-cigarette labels can be inaccurate, and many consumers find they have to refill their devices multiple times per day to get the same nicotine hit as a traditional cigarette.
Other studies have found that e-cigarette consumption can lead to thrombotic effects by promoting platelet activation, increased levels of the adhesion molecule P-selectin and oxidative stress in the bloodstream. Additionally, e-cigarettes can lead to a cytokine storm in the lungs with symptoms including inflammation and mucus production.
Overall, e-cigarettes are not safe and should only be used as a last resort for smoking cessation. It is recommended that smokers try other methods to quit such as quitting cold turkey, attending counseling and using medication. Quitting is a difficult process, but it can be done with the help of friends and family, support groups and free resources such as online, phone or text services. Also, making a list of reasons why you want to quit can help keep you motivated and on track throughout the quit journey. Most importantly, if you are thinking about trying to quit, talk to your doctor or therapist for advice. They can help you come up with a plan and offer tips to overcome any challenges that might arise. They can also refer you to other professionals if needed. 電子煙