Harm Reduction and Why E-Cigs Are Considered Safer By Many
Many people wonder if e-cigs are safe because there really has been very little scientific study into this question. E-cigs have only been around for about a decade, having been invented in China by a pharmacist in 2003. Before beginning vaping with e-cigs, it’s a good idea for smokers to read up on as much information as is available in order to move forward with confidence. In this article, we will present some very sound reasons why e-cigs are, indeed, a safer smoking alternative.
Because e-cigs are a very new product and the information available on them is often contradictory, many misconceptions and speculations have been bandied about in regards to their safety. The facts about e-cigs are actually quite simple and easy to understand. Electronic cigarettes are a nicotine delivery system that delivers the amount of nicotine chosen by the user in a safe, simple liquid mixture made up of four basic ingredients: water, food grade propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin, food grade flavoring, pharmaceutical grade nicotine. This liquid is heated by energy from a small yet powerful e-cig battery to become a tasty and satisfying nicotine vapor. These facts should make it clear that e-cigs are surely the safer alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes, yet many people still wonder. Here are a few more facts to consider when making up your mind.
Because of the possibility of lowered or even non-existent levels of nicotine, along with the absence of carcinogens, tar and pesticides found in tobacco cigarettes, e-cigs seem to be harmless to the heart. Greek researcher, Konstantinos Farsalinos, MD, of Onassis Cardiac Surgery has gone on record as stating that e-cigs can probably help current smokers move away from addiction to nicotine, thereby improving heart health.
While there may be some debate about the healthy aspects of using e-cigs, there is absolutely no debate about the unhealthy aspects of using tobacco cigarettes. Tobacco cigarettes are hazardous to the health of the smoker, those around the smoker, the environment at large and home and personal property. E-cigs, on the other hand, pose none of these risks. The simple nicotine/water vapor emitted by e-cigs delivers a chosen amount of nicotine to the user and affects no one else. Dr. Farsalinos has made comments to the effect that, even though there have not been extensive studies done on the safety of e-cigs, common sense would indicate that a simple, water vapor made of four FDA approved ingredients is safer than toxic smoke containing over 4000 carcinogens, chemicals and pesticides!
With e-cigs, the user chooses the amount of nicotine to consume. This is very different from tobacco cigarettes. People who use e-cigs (vapers) can start out at a level of nicotine that is comfortable and satisfying and then choose to reduce the amount in increments if they wish. The amount of nicotine can even be reduced to none at all. This leaves the vaper with an enjoyable, flavorful, affordable, harmless habit. It only takes common sense to tell you that this makes e-cigs a wise choice when compared with tobacco cigarettes!
Electronic cigarettes are an excellent tobacco harm reduction (THR) device. Dr. Klaus Lessnau, who specializes in critical and pulmonary care at New York City’s Lenox Hill Hospital, has stated that even though e-cigs may not be a device that improves lung health, they certainly are a device that reduces the risks associated with addiction to tobacco cigarettes. People who have a difficult or impossible time stopping smoking can at least reduce the amount of harm caused to their health by making the smart, affordable switch to e-cigs.
Everybody knows that the vast majority of preventable deaths and illnesses in the US are in some way tied to the use of tobacco cigarettes. It only takes common sense to see that switching from a product that is proven to be nothing but toxic and destructive to one that contains only simple, everyday, FDA approved ingredients would lead to general overall health advantages. In fact, Dr. Lessnau goes so far as to say that electronic cigarettes are a healthier alternative with the potential to substantially reduce the incidence of lung cancer in our society.
The vapor produced by electronic cigarettes simply contains fewer bioactive chemical compounds than the toxic smoke produced by tobacco cigarettes. It is an undisputed fact that the tar in tobacco cigarettes produces thousands of toxic substances when burned. These substances are known to cause lung disease and lung cancer. Although e-cigs do contain nicotine, which is known to contribute to the incidence of cardiovascular disease (stroke and heart attack) it is important to remember that, with e-cigs, the amount of nicotine is chosen by the vaper, and most vapers eventually reduce the amount to little or none.
It only makes sense to conclude that vaping with little or no nicotine will greatly reduce the vaper’s risk of cardiovascular disease. In fact a comparison of heart function between e-cig users and tobacco smokers has indicated strongly that the e-cig users exhibit better heart health. Anecdotal information gathered from e-cig users also strongly indicates that switching from tobacco cigarettes to e-cigs improves overall health. E-cig users state that they feel healthier and better after switching.
This anecdotal evidence is also backed up by Dr. Russell Luepker who is a spokesman for the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis’ American Heart Association. He says that smokers may feel better after switching not only because e-cigs contain fewer bioactive chemical compounds, but also because vapers simply like e-cigs better. Dr. Leupker postulates that the fact that e-cig vapor does not contain carcinogens, tar and pesticides combined with the fact that vapers enjoy using them may combine to help lower blood pressure and provide an overall feeling of happiness and well-being. This, of course, contributes to a healthy heart.
In the past, there was quite a bit of concern about the quality of products used in electronic cigarette liquids; however, today the better brands of e-cigs have strong quality control procedures in place. The very best and most established e-cig brands allow for online verification of the content of each batch of e-liquid produced. Vapers who make smart choices in e-cig brands can generally be sure of getting high quality e-liquids made of safe ingredients under pharmaceutically clean and controlled settings.
The benefits of vaping with e-cigs extend beyond the vaper. That same clean, simple vapor that the user enjoys also creates a cloud of harmless, nearly odorless vapor rather than the ominously murky toxic second hand smoke produced by tobacco cigarettes. Side-draft smoke from tobacco cigarettes has been proven to exacerbate respiratory illnesses in those around the smoker and even cause lung cancer in people and pets living with smokers. With electronic cigarettes, illness-causing, property-destroying second-hand smoke is a thing of the past.
When you switch from addiction to tobacco cigarettes to vaping with e-cigs, you are sure to be happy with this safer smoking alternative that benefits your pocketbook, your health and the health and well-being of those around you. Just keep in mind that the devices really need to be seen and accepted as part of a “Harm Reduction” view of things, to look at e-cigs contrasted to tobacco it is clear that there is little comparison – but frankly it would be hard to come close to matching the guaranteed harm that smoking cigarettes inflicts using an alternative which doesn’t involve combustion.
To understand what is meant by Harm Reduction I Recommend checking out http://www.tobaccoharmreduction.org/
The Following text comes from the site’s FAQ pages which I personally agree with as being a sensible stance on the whole and the most fitting way to look at the benefits of “electronic smoking” and ecigs:
Isn’t harm reduction a controversial idea? – Yes.
But it shouldn’t be. Most all of public health, and a large part of medical care, is devoted to harm reduction.
The term “harm reduction” is most often used in controversial contexts, like encouraging condom use and other safe sex practices, or providing heroin users with clean needles or methadone. Calling it “harm reduction” reminds us that though people would be at less risk of disease if they just avoided sex or gave up narcotics entirely, we cannot really expect that to happen.
In general, harm reduction is also our policy in matters of health. Even though driving is dangerous, we don’t suggest that people give it up. We do not even ask them to limit it to “necessary” trips. Instead, we have rules of the road that make it safer, encourage (or mandate) seatbelt use, and build cars with safety features. Similarly, we do not tell people they have to give up playing hockey, bicycling, or other sports, even though there is some risk, but we do try to encourage the use of protective equipment.
When physicians or public health practitioners try to get you to change your cholesterol, eat less meat, or exercise more, the target is to improve your health but seldom do they insist that you have only one choice: Do the best possible thing or forget it. Taking most health advice will reduce your health risks but not get them to the lowest possible level.
When it comes to diet, exercise, sex, transportation, sports, and even heroin use, public health experts generally agree that scolding people to do the healthiest thing possible is just not practical or reasonable (indeed, it would be downright cruel in most cases). Instead we realize that people will decide that the benefits of certain behaviors are worth some risks, so we try to help them reduce their risks. Of all the things people do, nicotine use is about the only one where health officials do not promote harm reduction, and think they have a right to just demand you do what they want; and will even lie to you to keep you from learning about reduced harm alternatives.
If you have been wondering if e cigarettes are safer than tobacco cigarettes, the answer is – it would certainly seem from even a quick look beneath the hype and scare headlines, the answer is “Yes!”