Unless you have been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you have probably noticed a significant increase in the use of E-cigarettes.
E-cigarettes are electronic vapourisers designed, according to those who manufacture them, to make smoking healthier for the user as well as for those around the user.
It is true that passive smokers can have little complaints about someone using this device as opposed to a traditional cigarette. Because they don’t burn tobacco, with an e-cigarette there’s no smoke, no carbon monoxide and no odor; what you inhale is vapor and what you exhale is just- essentially- steam, with a little bit of something dangerous.
Because although E-cigarettes are smoke-free and tobacco-free, they’re not nicotine-free.
Some e-cigarette cartridges contain little more than flavoured water, but a great majority contain nicotine, propylene glycol, which is a solvent, and other chemicals.
The amount of nicotine delivered by the vapour depends on the particular manufacturer, but it can be as much as a regular cigarette.
There has been some criticism leveled at companies that sell flavoured cartridges, such as strawberry or even bubble gum, as they might be attractive to children. Of course, you don’t have to be a child to want flavoured smoke in your mouth, as a quick look at the menu of any shisha bar on the planet will confirm.
So if there is no smoke, and a lot of steam vapour, what is the problem?
It’s the nicotine. Liquid nicotine is extracted from tobacco, but unlike tobacco leaves, liquid nicotine can be lethal. As little as a tablespoon could kill a child, and liquid nicotine can be absorbed through the skin.
Imagine what would happen then if an e-cigarette cartridge broke open, and the liquid ended up on a child’s fingers.
In fact there has been a dramatic increase in the US as to the number of calls to poison control centre hotlines because of this very reason.
Even for adults, this is a toxic product.
A tablespoon of liquid nicotine will kill an adult as well. You might think the chances of getting a tablespoon of this stuff on your skin is unlikely, but of course, it can also be absorbed by ingestion. Essentially, this poison is being sold as a safe alternative, and it is anything but safe.
Not only is liquid nicotine deadly, a number of other chemicals found in e-cigarettes are also very bad for us. In 2009, for example, the Food and Drug Administration found some cartridges of liquid nicotine contained about 1 percent diethylene glycol a toxic chemical ingredient also found in antifreeze [source: How things work, FDA].
The number of non-smokers listed as having died from second hand smoke in the United States between 1964 and 2014 is more than 2.5 million people.
The good news is that an e-cigarette sends out 10 times less nicotine than a regular tobacco one, but the vapour is not totally free of harmful substances.
Smokers of tobacco products, whether they want to hear it or not, are far more likely to die of cancer than non-smokers.
Lung cancer and other tumours thrive in bodies that spend part of their day trying to detoxify the chemicals and sludge introduced to them via a pack of smokes.
Just as the liver of a tee-totally is unlikely to have to work as hard as someone who sinks 5 pints a day, lungs simply work better when they are not being bathed in the byproducts of burned leaves and other goodies, like carbon monoxide.
E-cigarettes may be a better option, but they are not the BEST option, which is putting down the ciggies and walking away.
If that seems too hard (and let’s face it, the whole point of cigarettes is to make money for tobacco companies, so why would they manufacture something that made it easy to give up?) then you might invest in one of these.
Or you could take up base jumping.
Equally as death defying, cooler on your resume.