E Cigarettes: Healthier But Not Harmless

Known as the next generation of smokeless cigarettes, e cigarettes look, taste, smell and even feel like the same thing. Even real-looking smoke puffs out of them. The difference, however, between the e version of cigarettes and the real thing is that the innovative ones don’t include the 4000 poisonous chemicals, like tar and carbon monoxide, found in real smoke.

From a health standpoint, e cigarettes are clearly a better alternative to smoking real cigarettes. They also don’t produce side effects like teeth or nail discoloration. They even emit odors that closely approximate real cigarette smoke, mimicking the act of smoking as much as possible, of course minus all of the pollutants. They are also tobacco free. Psychologically, smoking these devices can still satisfy emotional addiction, and to a certain extent, a physical addiction and cravings, without producing pollution or harmful second hand smoke.

The Advantages

Why would someone even consider smoking an e cigarette when there is a real one available? For one, they are smoking alternatives for people trying to quit the physical smoking addiction but are still battling with the psychological feeling of comfort and relaxation associating with lighting up, puffing and holding a cigarette. Second, e cigarettes are also options available to smokers to “light up” in places where cigarettes are prohibited. Smokers may also choose to use these odorless and smokeless devices in situations where cigarette smoke would irritate or offend non-smokers.

How Do They Work?

As high tech versions of traditional cigarettes, these smoking alternatives do offer nicotine to smokers, in varying amounts. The smoker controls the desired nicotine amount by selecting a cartridge that contains low, medium, or high levels. Nicotine-free cartridges are also available, as are flavored nicotine packs in mint, apple or chocolate flavors. Prior to use, the device does require charging, so “spontaneous smoking” is impossible.

Many versions come with LED colored lights on the tip which illuminate when the smoker takes a puff. E cigs release a vaporous substance which looks like real smoke, but is not. The vapor released from the e cig is made up of trace amounts of nicotine and propylene glycol, a safe additive used in food flavouring and coloring. The vapor is odorless and does not linger, unlike real smoke. Furthermore, as electronic devices, they do not burn and cannot activate smoke detectors or cause fires.

An e cigarette kit includes the battery operated smoking tube device along with its charger, nicotine cartridges an atomizer. The device requires regular charging and must be fully charged prior to use.


In the long term, e cigarettes are far more economical than regular cigarettes since they can be reused and recharged. E cigs are estimated to last 20 times longer than traditional cigarettes. Their durability makes them a cheaper smoking option in the long run. A single cartridge can last as long as two packs of cigarettes.

Potential Risks

The jury is still out on the safety of the devices. Certainly safer than cigarette smoking since the poisonous chemicals in cigarette smoke are absent, a common health concern is the product’s marketing. Smokers themselves may find it difficult to wean themselves off e cigs because they are so similar to the real thing, and do not make quitting any easier. The FDA has also not yet approved the electronic cigarettes as “smoking cessation devices.”

While obviously safer alternatives, they are not completely harmless or safe. Electronic cigarettes still contain nicotine, a dangerous and addictive substance. E cigs can be good interim solutions for people wanting to quit smoking especially in the initial stages, but they should absolutely not be understood as the “next generation of healthy cigarettes.

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