E-cigarettes…. Friend or Foe?

girl using an e-cigaretteWe all know that smoking is bad for our health, affecting our lungs, circulation, heart, stomach, bones, gums, increasing the risk of cancer, etc. etc.

One of the aids to help people quit, is electronic cigarettes.

How do e-cigarettes work?

Most e-cigarettes contain a battery, a heating device, and a cartridge to hold liquid, which typically contains nicotine, flavourings, and other chemicals. The battery-powered device heats the liquid in the cartridge into an aerosol, which is then inhaled.

As well as containing nicotine, e-cigarette liquid and vapour can contain potentially harmful chemicals, although these are either at much lower levels than seen in cigarette smoke.

Up until recently, the lower levels were not associated with health risks.

Are they safe to use?

A recent study by the University of Rochester Medical Center suggests that electronic cigarettes are as equally damaging to gums and teeth as conventional cigarettes and could lead to oral diseases.

The study was led by Irfan Rahman, a Ph.D. professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester’s School of Medicine and Dentistry, and is the first scientific study to look at e-cigarettes and oral health on a cellular and molecular level.

One of the findings of the study was  “when the vapors from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins, which in turn aggravate stress within cells, resulting in damage that could lead to various oral diseases”.

Fawad Javed, a post-doctoral resident at the Eastman institute of Health , who contributed to the study, added  “we learned that the flavourings — some more than others — made the damage to the cells even worse”.

One thing is certain, we do need more research into the potential risk of e-cigarettes, as corroborated by Prof Rahman, who stated that “More research, including long term and comparative studies, are needed to better understand the health effects of e-cigarettes.”

He also would like to see manufacturers disclose all the materials and chemicals used, so consumers can become more educated about potential dangers.

The full article can be found at:   https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161116155511.htm

 

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