Since they were first released in 2004, the use of e-cigarettes has grown exponentially around the world. Many smokers have even started giving up their traditional tobacco products in favor for the electronic substitute – a habit commonly referred to as vaping – to improve their health, despite the fact that many health experts remain unconvinced that e-cigarettes are any less hazardous.
While your female dentist in Coos Bay, Dr. Lori Lemire, would highly recommend that patients give up smoking any type of tobacco product in order to protect their long-term health, let’s take a look at what is currently known about e-cigarette use.
Benefits of E-cigarettes
The primary benefit of smoking e-cigarettes over traditional tobacco products is that e-cigs don’t actually contain any tobacco, a significant threat to our oral and overall health. E-cigs use a heating coil to warm water into vapor which acts as a delivery system for the nicotine found in cigarettes. Smoking vapor allows e-cigarettes the claim of being “smokeless”, while also removing many of the carcinogens associated with smoking.
A review conducted by Public Health England claimed to have found evidence suggesting e-cigs to be 95 percent less harmful when compared to traditional tobacco products. Vaping also comes in a variety of flavors, making the habit more palatable for users. Some smokers have even used e-cigs to help them quit smoking cigarettes entirely.
However, no established research has found that e-cigarette use can help improve cessation.
The Dangers of E-cigarettes
As the case with any heated inhalant, increased temperatures damage cell walls in the lungs, throat, and mouth. This damage can lead to lung, esophageal, and oral cancers.
Like cigarettes, e-cig liquids almost always contain nicotine, a habit-forming chemical. Nicotine consumption can increase an individual’s risk of developing gum disease and can also make the diagnosis of early stage gum disease difficult for dentists. E-cig usage can also lead to inhalant-related problems, such as emphysema.
E-cigarette use has proven popular among kids and young adults. Studies have found that teens are more likely to try e-cigarettes than traditional cigarettes. A stunning 19 percent of middle and high school aged kids surveyed admitted to having tried vaping, according to the National Youth Tobacco Survey.
Due to the current popularity of vaping, it may be more difficult for parent and teachers to dissuade kids from trying the habit.
A Significant Concern
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine detailed that e-cigs contain propylene glycerol. When heated at high temperatures, propylene glycerol creates formaldehyde as a byproduct. Commonly known as an embalming fluid, formaldehyde is a toxic chemical and carcinogen, and ranks as one of the last things anyone should ever inhale.
The study went on to claim that vaping or the use of e-cigs can release formaldehyde into the body each time the product is used.
While this type of claim could be potentially damaging to a products’ place on the market, many experts have countered the claims made in this study by explaining that e-cigs don’t produce the high temperatures required to release formaldehyde. Conventional cigarettes also have the potential for the release of formaldehyde, but again, they fail to reach high enough temperatures to cause this effect.
Regardless of whether vaping causes the inhalation of formaldehyde, inhaling any substance clearly leads to chronic health problems. It’s important that vapers be aware of the potential health issues associated with the habit and don’t operate under the false belief that vaping is safer and healthier than smoking.
Even though many tobacco researchers – a profession whose advice one should always take with a grain of salt – argue that e-cigarette use is 80 to 95 percent less harmful when compared to traditional cigarettes, vaping is still more harmful to one’s health than not smoking at all.