Electronic Cigarettes and Vaporizers: A Safe Substitute for Smokers?
The use of e-cigarettes, vaporizers, cheap dab rigs, and bongs have skyrocketed since they were introduced to the US market in 2007. Many people are excited that these devices can be a safer alternative to smoking, with fewer repulsive effects on the people around the smoker. Although the news is exciting, these devices are still relatively new and untested. It is important to confirm that these devices are safer for the user and those around them, but this takes time and research.
Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated devices, they are available in various sizes and shapes. Some look like real cigarettes, while others, called “vaporizers” or “vapers,” have a pen-like design.
In general, devices are manufactured with the following elements:
- A mouthpiece
- A replaceable (or refillable) cartridge containing a liquid solution with different strengths of nicotine, flavor, water, and chemicals
- An atomizer, which transforms the liquid solution into vapor
- A rechargeable battery or a USB charger Depending on the style, the end of the cigarette battery may have an LED light on the tip that looks like the ember of a real cigarette. However, the LED light does not get hot, so it is not a fire hazard.
When the user inhales from the mouthpiece, the liquid heats up, and the atomizer transforms the liquid into vapor. The user then inhales this vapor, which is perceived as smoking a real cigarette. When the user exhales, the vapor disappears quickly. Vaporizers produce more clouds of vapor than e-cigarettes.
There are many brands of e-cigarettes available to consumers, each with different combinations of nicotine and other chemicals. This variability generates controversy as to whether and how e-cigarettes should be regulated or not. Regulators, inside and outside the US markets, weigh the potential benefits and harms of e-cigarettes.
Potential benefits of dab rigs
The most obvious benefit of e-cigarettes is that they can help smokers to stop smoking cigarettes. They are unique from other current smoking cessation programs in that they allow people to continue smoking without inhaling thousands of harmful chemicals normally found in a lit cigarette. However, do e-cigarettes really help you quit smoking?
In a comparative trial, a group of 300 smokers was divided into 3 groups who received cartridges with the same amount of nicotine, a reduced amount of nicotine, or no nicotine. Half of the smokers in each group had tried to quit smoking in the past. The average number of cigarettes smoked daily was about 20 in each group. After 12 weeks, more than 20% smoked fewer cigarettes per day than they did at the beginning. At a follow-up after one year, more than 10% were still not smoking. Nicotine content did not appear to have an effect on the proportion of people who quit smoking in each group. However, smokers reported a large decrease in the side effects of smoking, such as dry cough, mouth and throat irritation, shortness of breath, and headache.
In 2014, a study conducted with 949 current smokers was published. The participants used e-cigarettes for one year. The study showed that the use of e-cigarettes did not help smokers to quit smoking or reduce their cigarette use. In contrast, a review of two other studies showed that the 6-month cessation rate for e-cigarettes was higher than that of a placebo without nicotine. In one of the studies, e-cigarettes were as effective as nicotine patches after 6 months. Although these studies are promising, more research is needed so that these methods can replace other nicotine replacement therapies.
Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with several major anti-smoking organizations have determined that not enough research has been done on e-cigarettes to make claims about their safety or effectiveness in helping people to quit smoking.