The vaping community claims using e-cigarettes decreases the use of, and is substantially safer than, tobacco cigarettes. The scientific community argues that it is still bad for your health, period.
Over 600,000 people die of heart disease every year, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The rising popularity of e-cigarette use shows likelihood that those numbers will increase in the coming years.
“My current thinking is that e-cigarettes are going to cause less damage than conventional cigarettes in terms of cancer, but they’re probably just as dangerous – if not more – when it comes to heart disease and non-cancer lung disease and asthma,” says Dr. Stanton Glantz, Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco’s Center of Tobacco Control Research and Education. “The most dangerous thing about e-cigarettes is that they keep people smoking cigarettes.”
Dr. Glantz advised that it is possible for e-cigarettes to serve as a way to get away from traditional cigarettes, but that most vapers are “dual-users” – people who smoke both e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes.
A 2012 study published in the American Journal of Public Health supports the theory. Researchers found that e-cigarette use was the highest among traditional cigarette users, at a rate of 11.4 percent. Only 2 percent of the population surveyed were former smokers, and .8 percent had never smoked a traditional cigarette at all.
Additionally, in a study published by BMJ’s Tobacco Control, 75 percent of dual smokers said they didn’t think vaping would help them quit traditional cigarettes, and 42.3 percent of them said they didn’t plan to quit smoking at all.
“The similarities between e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes in terms of vascular effects are extremely troubling,” Dr. Glantz said.
E-cigarettes have been found to contain dangerous chemicals such as diacetyl and formaldehyde. Diacetyl is a flavoring agent that has been linked to serious and irreversible lung diseases such as bronchiolitis obliterans. The disease, also referred to as “popcorn lung” for several workers exposed to the chemical at a microwave popcorn processing plant, is when the smallest airways of the lungs become scarred and restricted. The only treatment is lung transplant.