Smokers today have many alternatives to traditional tobacco cigarettes. One of the latest trends is the electronic cigarette. An e-cigarette looks like a regular cigarette, but actually is a small electronic device. Instead of tobacco smoke it produces vapor, which the user inhales.
Electronic cigarette companies claim that the devices are totally safe, as no actual smoke is inhaled by the user. But what about the vapor? Is it safe? Health experts say that it is too early to say. E cigarettes have been around for just half a decade (invented in 2003, they became widely popular in 2007), and no extensive research has been conducted to prove they are harmless. That is why the devices are not allowed to be used or sold in several countries. For example in Brazil and Thailand e cigarettes are totally banned. In Canada and several European countries the sale of e-cigarettes containing nicotine is banned. In the United States the electronic cigarettes are mostly allowed, with the exception of some states.
Luckily there have been made several smaller studies about electronic cigarettes. What is common in all those studies is that there are much less harmful substances in electronic cigarettes than in the tobacco cigarettes. A study by Boston University School of Public Health proved that there are a thousand times less carcinogens in electronic cigarettes than in tobacco smoke. There have been several other studies conducted proving the same.
Electronic cigarette is usually made up of three components: battery, atomizer and cartridge. Cartridge holds the e-liquid (that is a propylene glycol or glycerin solution, with or without nicotine). The e-liquid is heated up by the atomizer (getting power from the battery), and this turns the solution into vapor, which the user inhales. The latest electronic cigarettes have the cartridge and atomizer combined into a single device called cartomizer.
There have been reported some cases when the vapor or leaking liquid irritates the user's skin and causes damage to the mouth or throat. Also, beginning of 2012 there was a big news story about a man whose electronic cigarette exploded in his mouth. But generally users of e-cigarettes are extremely happy with the devices. Many people say that this is definitely the best Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) method out there, as the user gets the sensation of smoking along with the nicotine. With other NRT methods like the nicotine patches and gums, the users really miss the act of smoking - feeling the cigarette with fingers and lips.
It is hard to say if electronic cigarettes are totally safe or not, but it surely looks like that they are not as harmful as regular cigarettes. They can be used almost everywhere, they are cheaper, they won't produce any odor. So, why not give electronic cigarettes a try?