Vaping; A safe alternative to Cigarettes?

March 25, 2018

In recent years “vaping” or “E-Cigarettes” have become a trend. 6 million people in the U.S. have tried or used this form of smoking. Everywhere you look you can find shops to buy this product, you can even find it in our local gas station. Many people tend use “Vaping” or “E-cigarettes” to quit or decrease use of traditional cigarettes. They have been popular with teenagers and college age kids. Some of the traits that make them so desirable to this age group are the many flavors to choose from. The flavors are nice and the ability to smoke and not have the odor of cigarettes is seen as a bonus. As attractive as this can be, the reality is that there has not been enough research done to say how safe an alternative this is to the standard cigarette.

So what is the difference between e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes? When we are talking about traditional cigarettes the concern is nicotine and 7,000 chemical additives. 70 of these chemicals are found to be carcinogenic, nicotine is part of the tobacco, but is not in itself a carcinogen or cancer causing substance. With e-cigarettes it’s not tobacco that is being burned, but instead a liquid that contains nicotine. This liquid is heated, turned to vapor, and then inhaled by the user. This liquid not only has nicotine, but also a flavoring agent and other ingredients.

With many people leaning toward this as an option, it’s good to know if this is a safe alternative. We want to know where does this flavored liquid stand with our oral health. A study done in 2016 found the flavoring agent in e-cigarettes,particularly menthol, exacerbated the effects of the vapor on oral tissue. It was noted that the damage was comparable to that of smoking tobacco. Although studies are still fairly new and more needs to be done to get a concrete answer. That being said, the tests we have now, seem to show us a negative impact on oral health.

A prior concern was the way that these items were being marketed. Using flavors such as “Berry Blast” or “All Melon”, made many feel that this was a way to target our teens and young adults. It turns out that in 2013-2014, the primary reason for use among 81% of our youth was the endless options of alluring flavors. Only recently have Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) been more strictly regulated. Here in Washington state, on April 19th 2016 Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill which “strengthens protections for minors against the sale and use of E-Cigarettes and Vapor products.” This will hopefully bring down the increase of use that was seen between 2011 and 2015 from 1.5% to 16%. A move determined by the FDA in 2016,  finally included a rule that extends regulation by The Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) to regulate ENDS in the same way other tobacco products are regulated. This means that these flavored liquids will need to bear the “nicotine addictiveness warning” on their labels as well as any advertisements.

In the end, more research needs to be done, in terms of safety and efficacy of E-cigarettes. So much is unknown about these products and what causes they may have on oral health. As more studies are done and we continue to learn more we will be sure to keep sharing that knowledge with you.

References QDailyphotoS2014 arettes.aspx rs-against-sale-and-use-e-cigarettes-and 6610.htm %5B%5D=12857&path%5B%5D=40721

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