Although it is a consensus that is safer, some believe that it is even nonexistent, several research teams have begun to analyze the effect of secondhand vapor. According to England’s health sector’s research declared vape and e-cigarettes 95% safer than the conventional tobacco and cigars. But, it is still important to note that “safer” doesn't necessarily mean there are no dangers lying beneath.
In fact, many studies aim to prove that e-cigarettes may after all produce the same health hazards of regular smoking—from short term changes in the respiratory functions to potential threats of certain flavorings or juices that are linked to lung disease. Yes, technically e-cigarettes might have fewer carcinogens than regular cigarettes, they still contain nicotine, which can impair brain development and cause mood disorders in adolescents.
WebMD reports that electronic cigarettes may have fewer hazardous chemicals than regular cigarette smoke, researchers still don't put ‘vaping’ in the clear. Moreover, the health organization also warns the public of the hazardous chemicals in e-cig vapor actually make it into the lungs of people nearby, specifically in enclosed spaces.
"Generally speaking, e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes," said study author Arian Saffari, a graduate student and fellow with the department of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Southern California. However, "we can still find some hazardous material in e-cigarette smoke," Saffari noted. "And therefore we cannot leave e-cigarettes unregulated."
To explore this topic further, we need to establish, what are e-cigarette liquids made of? According to Info Electronic Cigarette, to create an e-liquid, nicotine is extracted from tobacco and mixed with a base (usually propylene glycol or vegetable glycol), and may also include flavorings, colorings and other chemicals.
With the ingredient list not more than five, it is pretty simple and straightforward. Except for the flavoring part. According to the organization, this “leaves a lot of room for interpretation.”
First, let’s break down the ingredient list:
Nicotine draw its popularity as the addictive substance found in cigars and tobacco. In fact, almost all e-cigarettes have them too. In 2009, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) conducted a lab test and found that cartridges labeled as nicotine-free had traceable levels of nicotine.
Moreover, a 2014 study found that the amount of nicotine in e-liquid refills is often substantially different from the amount listed on the package.
Propylene Glycol (Base)
Propylene glycol is the most commonly used base for electronic cigarettes. It is a humectant, meaning it keeps things moist. It is a very thick, yet runny substance that makes you It tends to burn through your liquid a little faster than you might otherwise.
The propylene on its own offers no taste, so it won’t interfere with the flavors of your liquid. It offers a strong, pleasing hit to the back of your throat, much like tobacco does.
Vegetable glycerin (Base)
The vegetable glycerin is now considered an alternative to PG because of the many recorded allergic reactions from the former. In comparison, this liquid base is a little thicker and sweeter. There is a distinctive taste to it that, while slight, will affect the flavoring a little bit.
Less people tend to develop or have allergic reactions with vegetable glycerin, but some people have complained about a phlegm buildup after using the vegetable base.
Now this is where things get more controversial. Not only are flavors used to target kids, but they may be harmful on their own.
A study published in the journal Tobacco Control revealed that supposedly high exposure levels to certain chemicals found in some flavorings could spur respiratory irritation. These chemicals that are used to flavor e-cigarettes are often the same kind found in flavors that are added to our foods. This implies that the FDA has determined that they are generally recognized as safe to consume.
However, the authors of the new study say the flavorings “raises concern for a user’s safety and the need for regulation is more important now than ever”. The researchers argue and aimed to prove that these chemicals may be more dangerous when inhaled through e-cigarettes and vapes, compared to as when they are ingested through food.
“Chronic inhalation of these ingredients has not really been studied much at all,” says study author Dr. James Pankow who is a professor of chemistry and civil & environmental engineering at Portland State University.
At the same time, the U.S. Surgeon General has concluded that flavoring is one of the main reasons youth and young adults use e-cigarettes. Data recorded show that there is an impressive increase in youth smokers when they have tried a flavored one.
In fact, Diacetyl, a buttery flavored chemical often added to food products such as popcorn, caramel, and dairy products, has also been found in some e-cigarettes with flavors. It can cause a serious and irreversible lung disease commonly known as "popcorn lung."
The debate whether e-cigarettes are the “healthier” alternative for smoking tobacco and cigarettes. But, whether these e-cigarette juices or liquids can be a threat to our health is also a discussion worth reading and knowing about.