E-Cig Madness: Assessing the dangers of electronic cigarettes


October 23, 2014

The electronic cigarette, also known as an e-cig, was invented by Herbert Gilbert in 1963. It was meant to be a healthier alternative to actual tobacco smoking. Despite a lack of research into the cancer causing aspects of cigarettes at that time, Gilbert  knew that inhaling combustible dried leaves could, by no means, be good for a person’s lungs. That being said, he was still a two-packs-a-day smoker. With the limited knowledge he had at the time, he believed the problem with smoking was the combustion part of it, and in order to still inhale nicotine without flames or smoke, he had to remove the combustion. And thus, the electronic cigarette was born, allowing users to inhale heated and flavored water and air, producing the same feeling as actually smoking tobacco.

Now that’s fine and dandy, but many people have questioned whether there are actual health consequences of these e-cigs, and have found little in answers. One thing that is known is that the idea of inhaling vapor is a lot more attractive than inhaling smoke. This leads to non-smokers and youths picking up the e-cigs and growing a nicotine addiction for themselves, even though e-cigs were originally meant to help smokers quit.

One of the most dangerous issues with e-cigs is just how little is known about them and the consequences of using them. Despite the fact that they have existed for decades, their popularity has risen exponentially over the last few years. While millions upon millions of dollars have been spent researching tobacco, hardly any money has been spent to research e-cigs until this decade.

Due to the lack of insight in the media regarding any health risks, e-cigs are being marketed as a safer alternative. Electronic cigarettes do remove some carcinogens, such as tar, but it still releases a cocktail of toxic chemicals nearly directly into the user’s bloodstream. These chemicals include acetaldehyde, cadmium, formaldehyde, isoprene, and lead. These are all known carcinogens (cancer causing agents), and it is suspected that there are up to 60 other chemicals that have been linked to cancer.

Students at Prep weighed in with some of their thoughts about e-cigs. Hunter Emerson said, “E-cigs are bad because they can hurt your lungs and cause cancer.” Davis Nies added, “It’s bad for your brain.” Benjamin Bruno said, “They can cause terminal health problems in the future.”

It’s hard to say the extent to which e-cigs are truly dangerous, but for anyone considering purchasing one, do some research, including reading up on the Cathedral Prep student handbook, which specifically bans all possession and/or use of electronic cigarettes and related paraphanalia. Think about your future, think about your health, and decide if it’s really worth it.

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