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Electronic cigarette smoking - is it safe?

by Vicki Mozo 
Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes made a buzz the first time they were out in the market and labeled as the ''safer'' alternatives to cigarettes or ordinary pipes. But are they really safe? 

The lack of reports on the potential hazards of smoking e-cigarettes is not enough guarantee that they are safe. Although there are no studies yet to verify that smoking e-cigarettes poses health risks, smokers must be warned. The device makes use of a ''juice'' which may contain nicotine.

What is e-cigarette?
E-cigarette is a battery-powered cylindrical device. It is made up of a battery, an atomizer and the cartridge (mouthpiece). The rechargeable lithium battery powers up the device. It is connected to the atomizer, which is the heating element producing the vapor. The cartridge is the mouthpiece component. It is connected to the atomizer and it is also where the nicotine liquid is loaded into. The heated liquid turns into vapor in which the smoker inhales to deliver the nicotine to his lungs.  The physical sensation, according to its users, is the same as smoking an ordinary cigarette. 

E-cigarette still delivers nicotine.
The fact that the e-cigarettes deliver nicotine to the lungs remains, no one can be absolutely sure that it is safer. Although not in the traditional fibrous form nicotine is still present in solutions called ''e-liquid'' or ''e-juice''. Companies marketing the device say that it is less detrimental to health since it does not have all the harmful chemicals or carcinogens present in tobacco. Further, they say that the vapor produced by heating up the nicotine liquid is a lot safer to inhale than the smoke resulting from the combustion of an ordinary cigarette. They also say that smoking e-cigarettes can help curb nicotine addiction. These claims are far from certainty. As long as the device delivers nicotine to the body, there is no guarantee that they are safer. There is also no guarantee that it helps smokers curtail the habit. Even the World Health Organization does not recommend e-cigarettes as an alternative and effective smoking cessation aid. 

Health risks
Smoking tobacco or e-cigarettes is a personal choice. However, one should consider that delivering nicotine to the body by smoking increases the risks to life-threatening diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, stroke, pulmonary diseases, lung cancer, and premature aging. And smoking e-cigarettes does not guarantee a habit made safe. 

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