E-cigarettes have become a very popular smoking method, especially among young people. In some cases people who have been trying to quit smoking are tempted to turn to e-cigarettes as an alternative or to transition from traditional cigarettes to not smoking. Nonetheless, how much do we really know about e-cigarettes?

What are e-cigarettes?

An E-cigarette is a device that operates by heating a liquid solution to a high enough temperature so that it produces an aerosol that is inhaled. It consists of three components an atomizer, power source such as a battery, and a container such as a cartridge or tank.  The user inhales a vapor from the e-liquid, hence the term “vaping”.

E-liquid is the vapour mixture that is used in e-cigarette products that typically contains nicotine, humectants (i.e., propylene and glycerine), and flavourings. The composition of the e-liquid may also contain some traces of harmful chemicals.

While many of the flavourings and humectants used in e-liquids have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for oral consumption, they have not been approved for inhalation. Thus, their health consequences are not well known when consumed in this manner

Differences between E-cigarettes and traditional smoking.

Traditional smoking

  • Delivers nicotine through burning tobacco which creates harmful toxins (such as tar and carbon monoxide)
  • Usually, the amount of nicotine in cigarettes is fixed. The quantity of nicotine you inhale depends on much you smoke

Vaping/ E-cigarretes

  • Vaping delivers nicotine in e-liquid, which is a much less harmful way because E-ciarettes do not
  • The amount of nicotine depends on the strength of e-liquid you choose, and how you vape.
  • Vaping may cost less in the longer run than smoking

Nicotine is the addictive component found in both traditional and electronic cigarettes.

Can E-cigarettes aid in quitting smoking all together?

For people trying to quit smoking, e-cigarette use alongside prescribed nicotine replacement therapy leads to a higher quit rate.

However, for people trying to quit smoking without medical help, e-cigarettes have not been found to raise the rate at which people quit smoking.

The effects of E-cigarettes on the body

One of the biggest effects of e-cigarettes is are threatening to addict a new generation to nicotine.

E-cigarette use among young people, many of whom were not smokers in the first place, has increased significantly over the years. Nicotine exposure can harm adolescent and young adult brain development, which continues into the early to mid-20s

E-cigarettes have an effect on the heart and lung and use of these products has been associated with increased odds of chronic cough, phlegm and bronchitis and asthma. Other associated symptoms include:

  • Cough, trouble breathing, or chest pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Fatigue, fever, or weight loss

Quitting smoking can be a difficult habit to break. Vaping or using e-cigarettes can be used as a transitioning tool because it contains fewer toxins that come from burning tobacco.

Although vaping is said to be less harmful, it can still negatively affect your health

Whether you vape for leisure or using it as a method to quit smoking, you should always remember that the goal is to completely “unsmoke” your life.

For more resources on quitting smoking, visit https://www.unsmoke.co.za/