By Janeal Downs
It is no secret cigarettes are harmful to the body and have been linked to lung cancer. The commercials of people with holes in their throats, or pulling off their own skin to pay for cigarettes are hard to miss. “Nicotine is the known addictive substance in tobacco, and researchers are looking for other substances that may also contribute to tobacco dependence,” an article on the American Cancer Society’s website stated. There have been numerous resources claiming to help people addicted to cigarettes. The most recent and popular resource at the moment are electronic cigarettes. However, it is unclear how safe electronic cigarettes actually are.
What are E-Cigarettes?
Electronic cigarettes resemble real cigarettes and even glow and release smoke like a cigarette. In an article Webmd.com wrote “inside, there’s a battery, a heating element, and a cartridge that holds nicotine and other liquids and flavorings. Features and costs vary. Some are disposable. Others have a rechargeable battery and refillable cartridges.”
According to the same article on Webmd.com, nicotine inside the cartridges are addictive and people can experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using it. “E-cigarettes may be less harmful than cigarettes,” Assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, M. Brad Drummond said in the article. “But we still don’t know enough about their long-term risks or the effects of secondhand exposure.”
One obvious disadvantage is that e-cigarettes may also be addictive. The article also stated some fear because of the current lack of regulation, e-cigarettes may serve as a “gateway drug” and lead to nonsmokers and children using tobacco.
Michael Siegel, a professor in the School of Public Health at Boston University is quoted comparing tobacco and e-cigarettes to heroin users switching to painkiller methadone. “Obviously, it would be best if smokers could quit completely,” Siegel said. “But if that’s not possible, I think they’d be a lot better off with e-cigarettes. They’re a safer alternative.”