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E-cigarettes are better than cigarettes in general but not a safe alternative. This paper will show the dangerous chemicals in e-cigarettes, the potential of e-cigarettes, and the negative effects on using e-cigarettes. For people who try to quit smoking, and for those who are not addicted to nicotine, e-cigarettes are not the safer option.
There is no hard evidence showing nicotine cause long-term physical health issues; however, nicotine withdrawal could change brain chemistry balance and lead to psychological illnesses like anxiety, depression, anhedonia. Also, most people who smoke cigarettes have substance-abuse disorders (Benowitz,2010). Just like nicotine lead to cigarette smoking, it is also one of the addictive chemicals in e-cigarettes. Most e-cigarettes have flavors, like fruit flavored and candy flavored. The use of flavoring chemicals could cause serious health issues. In reality, chemicals like diacetyl and acetoin are in many food products, as well as e-cigarettes. These chemicals are used to manufacture e-cigarette cartridges with caramel, strawberry, cotton candy, and many other flavors. The long-term consequences of using flavoring chemicals include vulnerability to lung infections and other serious lung diseases like bronchiolitis obliterans. Moreover, in the process of smoking e-cigarettes, the heating and inhalation of the flavoring chemicals could make the body absorb the toxins faster, and in a higher concentration (Allen et al., 2016).
As we all know, many chemicals in cigarettes can cause devastating health effects. Many people think e-cigarettes are much safer than cigarettes. In reality, however, e-cigarettes contain many dangerous chemicals. In addition to flavoring chemicals, formaldehyde is a carcinogen found in e-cigarettes. There is strong evidence that shows a positive correlation between the use of inhaled formaldehyde and myeloid leukemia. Moreover, inhaling formaldehyde increases the risk of cancer 15 times than those who do not smoke (Jensen, Luo, Pankow, Strongin, & Peyton 2015). Furthermore, e-cigarettes contain a large number of other carcinogens and toxic chemicals. There are high levels of silicate particles and nitrosamines, which can cause cancer. Propylene glycol in e-cigarettes can reduce lung functions and cause some respiratory illnesses (Riker, Lee, Darville, & Hahn 2012).
According to the FDA and CDC, 20% of teenagers used e-cigarettes, and the number increases by about 80% each year. Teens who tried e-cigarettes are more likely to smoke cigarettes than those who never tried. One of the reasons that lead to the increasing rates of smoking e-cigarettes is the tobacco smell. Smoking tobacco cigarettes would leave the typical tobacco smell in his/her mouth and on his/her cloth. By smoking e-cigarettes, teachers and parents are unlikely to recognize the smell. Despite all the dangerous chemicals and carcinogens, nicotine in e-cigarettes still leads to addiction (Potera 2014). Stopping teenagers from trying cigarettes and e-cigarettes is something that needs public attention.
The reason people think e-cigarettes are a safe alternative to cigarettes is misleading advertising from the manufactures. Cigarette smokers think e-cigarettes can help them quit smoking. Some studies show e-cigarettes have the potential of being a part of nicotine replacement treatments. However, the e-cigarettes on the market today are not ready to be a tool to help people quit smoking. There are many potentially dangerous chemicals in e-cigarettes. The inhaling devices cannot dispense constant doses of nicotine in each puff. Also, there are still many unproven health concerns regarding e-cigarettes. Moreover, e-cigarettes are becoming a threat to control public smoking. The vapor of e-cigarettes could lead to secondhand smoking, just like the smoke of cigarettes. Some carcinogens chemicals release with the vapor into the air, which causes public health issues (Fairchild, Bayer & Colgrove).
In the future, researchers and developers may develop safer e-cigarettes, and it may become a tool to help smokers to quit (Pokhrel, Fagan, Little, Kawamoto, & Herzog 2013). The e-cigarettes contain many carcinogens and dangerous chemicals like diacetyl, acetoin, and formaldehyde. Another critical point is that the nicotine in e-cigarettes could still lead to addiction. Government agencies, teachers, and parents should prevent children from smoking cigarettes and e-cigarettes. In summary, e-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to cigarettes. E-cigarettes may be healthier than cigarettes, but they are certainly not healthy.
- Allen, J. G., Flanigan, S. S., LeBlanc, M., Vallarino, J., MacNaughton, P., Stewart, J. H., & Christiani, D. C. (2016). Flavoring chemicals in E-cigarettes: Diacetyl, 2,3-pentanedione, and acetoin in a sample of 51 products, including fruit-, candy-, and cocktail-flavored E-cigarettes. Environmental Health Perspectives, 124(6), 733-739. doi:10.1289/ehp.1510185
- Benowitz, N. L. (2010). Nicotine Addiction. The New England Journal of Medicine, 362(24), 2295-2303. doi:10.1056/NEJMra0809890
- Fairchild, A. L., Bayer, R., & Colgrove, J. (2014). The renormalization of smoking? E-cigarettes and the tobacco “endgame”. The New England Journal of Medicine, 370(4), 293.
- Jensen, R. P., Luo, W., Pankow, J. F., Strongin, R. M., & Peyton, D. H. (2015). Hidden formaldehyde in E-cigarette aerosols. The New England Journal of Medicine, 372(4), 392-394. doi:10.1056/NEJMc1413069
- Pokhrel, P., Fagan, P., Little, M. A., Kawamoto, C. T., & Herzog, T. A. (2013). Smokers who try e-cigarettes to quit smoking: Findings from a multiethnic study in Hawaii. American Journal of Public Health, 103(9), e57-e62. doi:10.215/AJPH.2013.301453
- Potera, C. (2015). E-cigarettes may steer teens to smoking. AJN, American Journal of Nursing, 115(11), 15-15. doi:10.1097/01.NAJ.000473300.18534.18
- Riker, C. A., Lee, K., Darville, A., & Hahn, E. J. (2012). E-cigarettes: Promise or peril? Nursing Clinics of North America, 47(1), 159-171. doi:10.1016/j.cnur.2011.10.002
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