Approximately 50 years ago the US surgeon general warned that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer and other serious diseases. Since that warning the number of smokers has continued to decrease until now the number of former smokers in the U.S. has been greater than the number of current smokers.
Dangers of nicotine & tobacco products
It has been well established that nicotine is addictive, and tobacco products can lead to cancer, macular degeneration, dental disease, heart disease, emphysema, pneumonia, asthma, ulcers, low bone density, atherosclerosis, stroke, and other diseases or complications (http://waytoquit.org/health-effects).
E-cigarette health concerns
E-cigarettes are often perceived to be less dangerous. While research is ongoing, and we may not fully understand the negative effects for some time, the following represent concerns among healthcare professionals.
Addiction & youth
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, e-cigarette use tripled among middle and high school students from 2014-2015 (http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2015/p0416-e-cigarette-use.html).
Dr. Brian King (deputy director for research translation at the CDC) said “Because these products contain harmful and potentially harmful ingredients, the use among youth is particularly concerning”. One common ingredient is the addictive substance nicotine, which can adversely affect the developing brain.
Health professional warn that e-cigarettes may act as a gateway to conventional cigarettes.
In addition to nicotine, most of the e-cigarette devices contain a mixture of propylene glycol, glycerol, and flavorings. Formaldehyde, a carcinogen, can be produced during the “vaping” process.
There is evidence that some e-cigarette liquids affects the behavior of bacteria in the mouth, making the bacteria more pathogenic (causing periodontal disease).
A call to action
The federal and state governments should regulate e-cigarettes. Additionally, government should restrict advertising of e-cigarettes through all mediums. Lastly, more research needs to be completed to more fully explain the dangers of e-cigarettes.