Are e-cigarettes a safe alternative to cigarettes? Could they help millions of smokers quit smoking? If so, why would anti-tobacco activists oppose e-cigarettes? Get the truth about e-cigarettes in this short video.
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Imagine if there were an alternative to smoking cigarettes.
Imagine this alternative could help millions of people quit smoking and came with only a fraction of the harmful chemicals that cigarettes do.
Well, you don’t have to imagine it. It exists.
E-cigarettes are the most innovative and promising smoking-cessation product yet invented. So, public health officials and anti-tobacco activists are all in favor of this life-saving innovation, right?
Actually, they’re almost all totally against it.
Because, incredibly, they make no substantial distinction between e-cigarettes and real cigarettes — even though they are completely different products.
To begin with, e-cigarettes aren’t cigarettes. They contain no tobacco. Instead, a liquid containing nicotine derived from tobacco leaves is vaporized, and users of e-cigarettes inhale that vapor. Vapor, mind-you – not smoke.
This is significant because the real harm from tobacco comes from the combustion process, which releases hundreds of toxic compounds known as tar. Since e-cigarettes have no tobacco and no combustion, they release no tar. This makes them, according to Britain’s Department of Health, at least 95% less harmful than tobacco cigarettes.
E-cigarettes do contain nicotine, an addictive drug. However, there is little evidence that nicotine alone is bad for you, making it similar to, say, caffeine–a drug used every day by millions of people.
Brad Rodu, an oral cancer specialist at the University of Louisville, put it this way: “I love coffee, and I’m sure I could get caffeine if I smoked my coffee beans…but I would be paying a much different price in overall health [if I did].”
In other words, when it comes to addictive substances like caffeine or nicotine, it isn’t the addictive substance that’s harmful; it’s how it’s delivered. As South African psychiatrist Mike Russell said about cigarettes: “[People] smoke for [the] nicotine, but they die from the tar.”
And again, there’s no tar in e-cigarettes.
Does this all mean e-cigarettes are completely safe? Of course not. Nothing is completely safe. E-cigarettes are a relatively new innovation so more research is needed, especially on long-term effects. There’s also a place for sensible regulation to ensure consumer safety.
But unlike normal everyday products, any potential risk posed by e-cigarettes is far outweighed by a real – not potential – good: saving lives by providing the nicotine that smokers enjoy without delivering the deadly toxins that can kill them.
Many former smokers have successfully used e-cigarettes to help them kick their nicotine addiction altogether. A recent study in an Oxford Journal peer-reviewed publication, Nicotine and Tobacco Research, said that e-cigarettes could reduce smoking-related deaths by 21 percent. That’s thousands of lives every year.
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