What you need to know about E-cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes have come flooding on to the popular scene in the last decade, although they have actually existed for much longer. They are a controversial new pasttime due to the limited availability of research into their long term health effects. The problem isn't a lack of interest but a lack of time. E-cigarettes have simply not been around long enough for scientists to adequately assess their health risks. 

Because of the before-mentioned limitations there is a lot of contradictory information out there about e-cigarettes. Some people claim that they help smokers quit their habit and studies have backed this up. Others claim that this is not the case. What's a discerning consumer to do? Worryingly, some of the information out there is being spread by companies with a vested interest in getting people to take up 'vaping', as the new age habit is often referred to. 

Just because we don't yet have all the facts, however, does not mean it's all bad news for sellers or consumers of the product. It is true that nicotine consumption carries some significant health risks, such as lower birth weight in babies and a high incidence of addiction. But the fact remains that smoking tobacco is considered dangerous for reasons far above and beyond the exposure to nicotine. 

E-cigarettes are absent of the troubling tar and carbon monoxide that makes traditional cigarettes so deadly, but that does not mean that they are free from risk. Aside from the nicotine that many of them contain, more research is needed into the effect of vaping chemicals found in the flavoring agents consumers enjoy. Nicotine free options might be a smarter choice for new consumers but people should still proceed with caution, particularly if they have ever had any issues with asthma or related conditions. 

E-cigarette sales are limited to people over the age of 18 if they contain nicotine but currently, in Australia, nicotine free versions can be sold to minors. There is some concern that this may encourage young people to take up smoking later in life but, as with the potential health risks, research is inconclusive. Whether or not vaping is a suitable substitute for smoking or simply a 'gateway drug' remains to be seen. In the mean time consider the following:

Electronic cigarettes are not risk free.

Any information you consume regarding such products should come from an unbiased source in order to make an informed decision. Users should proceed with caution and avoid using e-cigarettes on a regular basis, while choosing nicotine free options wherever possible.

But they are not all bad either. 

While it is not necessarily true to say that e-cigarettes will definitely help you quit smoking, they are still considered less harmful than traditional cigarettes. If you do not currently intend to stop smoking altogether then a transition to smoking e-cigarettes could still have a positive outcome for your health compared to smoking tobacco.