What’s the fuss about e-cigarettes?

E-cigarette sales are soaring – and they have become increasingly more popular over the years – marketed as a safe and healthy way of getting your nicotine fix or as an aid to stop smoking free picture.

With no laws regulating these products, anyone can buy them. Dr. Lynelle Hoeks from Hello Doctor says “There is very little control on what exactly goes into them and what’s worrying, is that we don’t actually know what the long term effects of nicotine exposure in this way is.” Recently, Canada banned the sale of e-cigarettes and the USA is hot on their heels.

What is an e-cigarette?

Electronic cigarettes are an alternative method of consuming nicotine, the addictive chemical found in tobacco. E-cigarettes contain no tobacco and don’t require a match. Let’s have a look at what an e-cigarette is and how they work:

  • E-cigarettes are devices that emit doses of vaporized nicotine that are inhaled
  • It heats a nicotine liquid and converts the liquid to a vapor, or mist, that the user inhales along with PEG (propylene glycerol) which makes the “smoke” when the user breathes out.
  • Depending on the e-cigarette, the user may simply inhale from the cartridge to begin the vaporization process, though some devices have a manual switch that activates the vaporizer inside.

An e-cigarette has three main parts:

  • a rechargeable lithium battery
  • a vaporization chamber
  • a cartridge

Will it help me to stop smoking?

Most manufacturers do not market it for this use. They are marketing it as a safer alternative to smoking a tobacco product, one that you can use in public places and that does not have the many harmful chemicals that tobacco products have (so in other words a LESS harmful product). The World Health Organisation has in fact urged companies not to market it as a smoking cessation product.

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Dr. Lynelle also says “If you want to stop smoking, there are a number of recommended products on the market that your doctor can prescribe, ensuring that you kick the habit without replacing it with another.”

Are e-cigarette’s dangerous?

Is the electronic cigarette a cleaner, healthier choice for smokers? Or is it a dangerous device with hidden risks? We don’t have the answer to this question, as there are no long term studies to look at the effect of e-cigarettes on users and people around them. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security – be aware that they could be just as harmful as tobacco products. Rather quit your nicotine habit altogether.

If you’re struggling to quit, why not talk to one of our doctors for help? Simply sign up on our website, and download the free Hello Doctor app from the Google Play or iTunes store. With the app, you can talk to, or text our doctors, anytime, anywhere!