The Bad News Keeps Coming for People Who Smoke E-Cigarettes


The news: Did anyone really think vaporizing and inhaling chemicals that can easily poison you wouldn't have some drawbacks? E-cigarettes are harmful to your health, according to a new paper released in the America Heart Association's journal, Circulation

Because there is limited data on the effects of smoking e-cigs, popular opinion is being paraded around as if it were factual — advertisements that smoking "vapors" are a healthier option to smoking traditional cigarettes is prevalent in mainstream media.

Now, in the first comprehensive peer-reviewed assessment of its kind, there is hard proof that many e-cig marketing campaigns are at least partially false. E-cigs may be less harmful than smoking real cigarettes, but there is a very real health risk.

New evidence: "Although data are limited, it is clear that e-cigarette emissions are not merely 'harmless water vapor,' as is frequently claimed, and can be a source of indoor air pollution," the study reported. Additionally, a high rate of smokers who indulge in dual use (someone who smokes tobacco cigarettes and e-cigs) may result in a greater health burden to individuals who smoke, and those around them.

E-cigarettes are battery operated devices that deliver a "vapor," or an aerosol, by heating nicotine, glycerin and other elements. They continue to be unregulated in all markets — unlike their counterparts — because the product is still quite new. Researchers discovered that while many ad campaigns assert that e-cigs help to deter or quit smoking tobacco, the odds that e-cigs are actually used as cessation devices is extremely low. 

Essentially, scientists proved that the electronic cigs are not a healthy cure-all. Still, when compared with smoking a tobacco-laden cigarette, e-cigarettes are no where near as hazardous to your health. 

The tradition of bad news: The latest change to the electronic cigarette market is a push for the integration of regulation to finally extend from nicotine cigarettes to e-cigs. In April, the FDA proposed new rules that will squash a "market free-for-all of products, including vials of liquid nicotine of varying quality and unknown provenance," according to the New York Times

E-cigarette smoking bans in public spaces have popped up all over the country. Minneapolis, Minn., and Dayton, Ohio, have jumped on the e-cig cmoking ban bandwagon, setting in motion the policy to classify e-cigarette smoking parallel to that of regular cigarette smoking. In April, Chicago put into effect a law prohibiting e-cigarette smoking in communal indoor spaces. Los Angeles also banned smoking "vapers" in restaurants, bars and other public spaces. 

Regulation and prohibitory laws will likely change the e-cigarette industry that currently rakes in $2 billion a year. It is unclear if this new study will lead to the changes suggested by researchers, including serious regulation like marketing restrictions and prevention of sales where tobacco is prohibited. Until that happens, the proof that the devices are harmful will probably impact e-cig enthusiasts the hardest.