Some studies have suggested that propylene glycol (PG) vapours can cause respiratory irritation and increase chances of users developing asthma. However, in reaction to this, some manufacturers are replacing the PG with distilled water and glycerin, which is considered less of an irritant.
Do They Aid In Quitting Smoking?
A study published in May 2014 states the following:
While e-cigarette aerosol may contain fewer toxicants than cigarette smoke, studies evaluating whether e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes are inconclusive. Some evidence suggests that e-cigarette use may facilitate smoking cessation, but definitive data are lacking. No e-cigarette has been approved by FDA as a cessation aid. Environmental concerns and issues regarding non-user exposure exist. The health impact of e-cigarettes, for users and the public, cannot be determined with currently available data.
So the argument that E-Cigarettes can be used to help with stopping smoking is certainly not proven to date.
There is however, a saving grace regarding second-hand smoke. A study published in June 2014 by Sobczak et al evaluated the secondhand exposure to nicotine and other tobacco-related toxicants from e-cigarettes.
E-Cigarettes do not give off any vapour between puffs, but some vapour is exhaled by the user. Using an e-cigarette in indoor environments may involuntarily expose nonusers to nicotine but not to toxic tobacco-specific combustion products. It is certainly preferable to protect non-smokers from the toxic ‘combustion’ products found in mainstream cigarettes, but the effect of nicotine on nonusers needs to be investigated further. Sobczak specifically recommends caution around vulnerable people, including children, pregnant women and those with cardiovascular issues.
An earlier study from October 2012 also analysed the effect of E-Cigarette vapour on indoor air quality, following proposals to ban indoor the use of the new products in public spaces. Babaian et al tested four different high nicotine e-liquids, comparing with mainstream tobacco in an indoor space, 40 metres cubed. The results were as follows:
Non-cancer risk analysis revealed “No Significant Risk” of harm to human health for vapor samples from e-liquids (A-D). In contrast, for tobacco smoke most findings markedly exceeded risk limits indicating a condition of “Significant Risk” of harm to human health. With regard to cancer risk analysis, no vapor sample from e-liquids A-D exceeded the risk limit for either children or adults. The tobacco smoke sample approached the risk limits for adult exposure.
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