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Are E-Cigarettes Really a Safe Alternative to Tobacco Cigarettes?

The first e-cigarettes appeared on the market around 15 years ago. The technology was invented in China in 2004 and then commercialised around the world. Electronic cigarettes were supposed to finally offer smokers a safe alternative so that they could fight their addiction in a relatively simple way. Over the years, the devices have become more and more popular, and by 2016, around 3.2% of adults in the US were already using electronic cigarettes on a regular basis.
However, unfortunately it is not only adults who have embraced the new technology. The devices have also become very popular with minors. Between 2011 and 2015, the popularity of e-cigarettes among young people in the US increased by an incredible 900 percent. Electronic cigarettes are now even more popular among young people than traditional tobacco cigarettes.
This development raises some important questions: the first is obviously whether e-cigarettes are actually safer than tobacco cigarettes. The second is whether or not the millions of young people who currently use e-cigarettes regularly would smoke normal cigarettes instead.


How e-cigarettes work

E-cigarettes are electronic devices that heat a liquid (the so-called e-liquid) to produce vapour that the user inhales. Most liquids contain nicotine, but there are also variants without a nicotine content.
Since e-cigarettes, unlike conventional tobacco cigarettes, do not burn any substances, the devices are widely regarded as safer. The majority of the toxins from normal cigarettes are released by burning the tobacco along with the paper and inhaling the smoke.

Components of e-cigarettes

Most e-cigarettes consist of 4 components: A battery, a tank for the liquid, a vaporiser and a mouthpiece. The user fills the tank with liquid and then triggers the vaporiser at the touch of a button while inhaling the vapour through the mouthpiece.


Advantages of e-cigarettes

The biggest advantage of e-cigarettes is obviously that they offer smokers a relatively healthy alternative to tobacco cigarettes, while still satisfying the need for nicotine. This is why e-cigarettes are recommended by many health professionals and institutions as an aid to smokers who want to stop smoking.
For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States concluded that e-cigarettes can provide a beneficial alternative for smokers, provided that they are not pregnant and replace smoking completely with electronic cigarettes.
The technology can also be beneficial for minors who would otherwise have started smoking normal cigarettes. As rates of young smokers have been falling sharply for years, this seems to be the case.

Dangers of e-cigarettes

As encouraging as the above-mentioned benefits may be, unfortunately e-cigarettes also harbour some dangers. The devices are safer than normal cigarettes, but not completely harmless for human health. Inhaling the liquid vapour can cause damage to the lungs. In addition, the user may accidentally swallow the liquid, which can also be dangerous for the health of the user.
Another problem with e-cigarettes is that most users use liquids with nicotine content. Since nicotine is a highly addictive substance, many health experts see a danger in trivialising the use of the devices. Pregnant women and minors in particular should therefore refrain from using e-cigarettes, as they are the most vulnerable to the effects of nicotine use.



There is no doubt that the e-cigarette is a positive technology. Considering the millions of former smokers who now regularly use electronic cigarettes instead of smoking normal cigarettes, it becomes clear that the devices will save countless lives in the long run.
At the same time, however, the technology should not be trivialised, since the use of e-cigarettes also brings with it some dangers. Minors and pregnant women in particular should therefore refrain from using e-cigarettes altogether. Similarly, people who do not yet smoke normal cigarettes should not use the electronic alternative.  
The most sensible conclusion on the subject of e-cigarettes is therefore that electronic cigarettes are a great alternative for smokers to fight their addiction in a relatively easy way and to experience hardly any withdrawal symptoms. As long as people completely refrain from smoking normal cigarettes, they can greatly increase their chances of a healthier life.
Those who do not smoke should not start using electronic cigarettes, as they can also be harmful to health.

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