General Question

flo's avatar

What are the problems associated with e-cigarettes?

Asked by flo (10342points) April 27th, 2014

That is other than the addictive substance nicotine, which is enough reason to say no to it.

Edit to add:
I’m looking for more articles similar to that, as well as personal experiences.

A chid dies because the liquid got spilled on her/him?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

92 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

The vape is still made of a mix of chemicals which one is ingesting into the lungs. There isn’t tar because it is vapor, not smoke from something being burned, but it is still a chemical soup without full knowledge of long term effects.

And the nicotine is still bad for you.

Coloma's avatar

I am all for vaping. I see it as the much lesser of 2 evils and it is a gazillion times better than real cigarettes. Live and let live, I don’t even care if people smoke real cigarettes, one good whiff of car exhaust is just as bad. I don’t do militant anything.

flo's avatar

@Coloma I just added to my OP.

Coloma's avatar

@flo Well sure…nicotine is highly toxic, children can die from eating tobacco from a regular cigarette too, but I still think that vaping is less dangerous than smoking.

flo's avatar

What should a doctor who is worth your money tell you to do to go on it or to just quit?

SABOTEUR's avatar

Great question. The use of electronic cigarettes is still in it’s infancy, so no one knows definitively about problems associated with vaping (inhaling vapor, as opposed to burning tobacco smoke).

What you’re likely to hear are opinions from people who have vested interests or who just want to add their two cents, without regard to current unbiased scientific study.

One of the more recent studies was recently released:

Characteristics, Perceived Side Effects and Benefits of Electronic Cigarette Use: A Worldwide Survey of More than 19,000 Consumers

You might be able to draw a reasonable conclusion for it.

As far as I’m concerned, whatever “problems” associated with vaping is a lot less harmful that inhaling cigarette smoke. As a 6 year user, I couldn’t be happier because I’m definitely a whole lot healthier (considering I have no intention of dropping my nicotine addiction).

Coloma's avatar

@flo Well..considering that many doctors prescribe “Chantix” that can cause extreme mental issues, suicidal thoughts, along with other black list anti-depressants as stop smoking aides, I’d take the E-Cig. any day of the week.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

They ARE NOT cigarettes.

flo's avatar

But @Coloma ithe comparison is not between the things you mentioned and e-cigs. Which doctor is worth your money, the one who encourages you to be on e-cigs or the one who says no to it for the reasons mentioned in @zenvelo ‘s post in the article in my OP, etc.

flo's avatar

@SecondHandStoke regardless of what they are called…

SABOTEUR's avatar

Here’s the study (see above) that I mentioned earlier.

Conclusions: The results of this worldwide survey of dedicated users indicate that ECs are mostly used to avoid the harm associated with smoking. They can be effective even in highly-dependent smokers and are used as long-term substitutes for smoking. High levels of nicotine are used at initiation; subsequently, users try to reduce nicotine consumption, with only a small minority using non-nicotine liquids. Side effects are minor and health benefits are substantial, especially for those who completely substitute smoking with EC use. Further population and interventional studies are warranted.

LornaLove's avatar

I’m no expert, but I understand that nicotine is deadly if ingested. E Cigs are supposed to take away the more harmful chemicals we come into contact with from the burning of tobacco, thus delivering the addictive part. Much the same as chewing nicotine gum, except that it is delivered via the ‘smoking action’ of the vapor cig. So, to me, chewing gum to give up smoking, or wearing a patch or smoking a vapor is all the same.

Coloma's avatar

@flo The hypothetical doctors are more likely to prescribe even worse stop smoking aides as I mentioned. Okay…if it is a choice between quitting cold turkey and becoming dependent on the E-Cig, well, in an ideal situation one would just quit, but given the highly addictive nature of nicotine most doctors are going to prescribe other drugs, much worse than the E-Cig.

SABOTEUR's avatar

No one drinks nicotine. And the quantities in e-liquid are less than found in cigarettes.

Besides, nicotine is an elective. Users must indicate the level of nicotine they want. Many users actually lower their nic levels. Some, no nic at all.

flo's avatar

@SABOTEUR the article sounds like it was a study paid for by vested interest.

SABOTEUR's avatar

Actually it’s not. I’ll post the sponsor. You can read up on him and make your own determination.

SABOTEUR's avatar


Konstantinos Farsalinos

Researcher at Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center, University Hospital Gathuisberg, Medical Imaging Research Center at Catholic University of Leuven and Researcher at ΩΚΚ

dappled_leaves's avatar

There is not enough evidence to say that e-cigarettes reduce smoking addiction. There is certainly no evidence that they are safe. FDA is finally starting to regulate their sale and promotion, and that is a very good thing.

5 Sketchy things we don’t know about e-cigarettes

The JAMA study: Our data add to the current evidence that e-cigarettes may not increase rates of smoking cessation

SABOTEUR's avatar

@dappled_leaves I haven’t smoked a cigarette in 5 years. There are many many users with similar results. People can say what they will…experience wins out.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@SABOTEUR I’m happy for you personally, but anecdotal evidence is just that. Perhaps, on average, people would have the same result by sucking a pencil, if they believed it would work. The point is, we don’t know enough about the contents of e-cigs to be able to say that they are not harmful.

SABOTEUR's avatar

One other thing…this has nothing to do with non-smokers. If smokers choose to believe using electronic cigarettes are a safer alternative, that’s on them. All I know is I’m quantifiable more healthy today than I was as a smoker.

What the FDA proposes to do is drive away small business and turn the electronic cigarette industry over to the same people who’ve been allowed to poison and kill us for decades…

…the tobacco industry.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@dappled_leaves Who is the “we” you’re referring to?

If you don’t want to use e-cigs don’t.

If you’re curious, but afraid…wait.

If you want to smoke…smoke.

No one is forcing anyone to vape. What vapers fear is the government will make vaping so prohibitive that they’ll destroy the benefits we believe are derived from substituting smoking for vaping.

SABOTEUR's avatar

Truth be told, if the government was so concerned about safety, they’d ban and restrict the sale of tobacco products. This brouhaha over electronic cigarettes smells of someone’s profits dropping. It ain’t about safety. It’s all about the dollar bill.

dappled_leaves's avatar

If I don’t know what the effects of second-hand vaping are, and I’ve already experienced the enormous relief of having regular cigarettes marginalized, you bet I’m concerned that people around me are using more e-cigs. Not going to apologize for that. I’ve taken enough crap from smokers in life already.

SABOTEUR's avatar

The funny thing is, vaper’s don’t have to exhale.

So regulated or not, you could have a vaper sitting right beside you, stealth vaping away, and you’d never know it.

GloPro's avatar

How does anyone survive NOT exhaling? It’s a vital part of breathing. What volume goes in, comes out. The gas components and percentages change, but not exhaling just isn’t possible, sorry.

Although e cigs don’t have the 4000 chemical compound of a burning cig, here is a list of 10 known carcinogenic substances currently found in e cigs. Contrary to e cig smoker’s claims that it’s water vapor and nicotine, it’s a bit more complex than that.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@GloPro Smokers inhale and exhale smoke produced from burning tobacco. They have to exhale or risk choking.

Vapers inhale vaporized liquid. Vapor dissipates. So a vaper can inhale the vapor produced and hold it without choking.

The practice is called stealth vaping.

You can believe what you want to believe. Again…experience wins out.

GloPro's avatar

I’m just saying that there are two components to breathing. Inhale is ALWAYS followed by exhale. You can believe what you want, but that’s just how breathing works. There is never a possibility to inhale without exhale. Tidal volume, minute volume, and lung capacity see to that.

Experience doesn’t win out. Science and physiology win out.

SABOTEUR's avatar

So you’ve never held your breath?

OK…I stand corrected…vapers can inhale, hold the vapor until it dissipates, then exhale.

So, what I should have said was, vapers don’t have to exhale vapor.

GloPro's avatar

Ok, I don’t feel like explaining all of this, so you can research this on your own, but I will provide an easy example. The air you inhale is a mixture of gases. 23% oxygen. You inhale, your alveoli exchange a certain percentage of those gases holding your breath has a little impact, but not full exchange, and when you exhale the air you exhale is 16% oxygen. Not all oxygen is absorbed.

So hold your breath all you want, but you are incorrect in thinking all of the chemicals you inhaled are being exchanged. It just isn’t true.

SABOTEUR's avatar

Vaping in Public: Stealthy Vaping Techniques

Don’t bother explaining it to me. Do so for your own education.

Just for the record, I never claimed “gases” weren’t exchanged.
I merely said you wouldn’t know about it.

GloPro's avatar

And vapor doesn’t dissipate. One method of heat loss in our bodies comes from heating and moisturizing the air we breathe. It’s exhaling water vapor every breath. It doesn’t dissipate.

I will believe a scientific standpoint, not a nicotine provider’s article.

SABOTEUR's avatar


It disappears so you can’t see it.

I’m reasonable.

GloPro's avatar

You’re right that I would notice that less than a fidgety guy having a nic withdrawal sitting right beside me.
In my mind if I don’t see it or smell it then it doesn’t exist. I still have an aversion to seeing the hand-to-mouth action, but that’s my own issue.

GloPro's avatar

Yeah. That would never be noticible. Smoothest ninja moves I ever saw.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@GloPro That’s it exactly.

You can’t prove what you can’t see or smell.

After six years, I’m to the point I don’t even try to hide bringing the device to my lips.
I get those apprehensive glances…then confusion when nothing comes out of my mouth.

They don’t know what the heck I’m doing.
(“Must have asthma…”)

Great fun!

Unbroken's avatar

Have you ever hung out in a room that has an esmoker in it. There is a film all over the place and a smell. Just think that film is now coating the lungs of the smoker, Just a guess. But ecigarettes and second hand effects will be discovered to be as bad or worse then the traditional cigarettes.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@Unbroken No worse than the film produced by cigarette smoke. I can breathe again, taste and smell has returned and I no longer have the smell of stale smoke in my clothes.

So given the choice between the better of two evils, I choose vaping.

If I grow another ear or my liver falls out 10 years from now, you can congratulate yourself with a well earned “I told you so”.

In the meantime, you think you might be able to do something about automobile emissions or the chemicals in our food?

Thanks a lot!

Pachy's avatar

Besides keeping smokers addicted to nicotine and making them look stupid in the bargain, you mean?

SABOTEUR's avatar

@Pachy Yes…that’s it exactly.

jca's avatar

I am happy that e-cigarettes are being added to the list of things that are on many no smoking policies. Whatever people think about them, for or against, is beside the point.

GloPro's avatar

When they first came out one of my friends immediately switched. I absolutely forbid smoking in my car, and usually squawk loudly when someone smokes in my presence (like lighting up at an outdoor picnic table. Be considerate and go 20 feet away or so with the rest of the smokers and everybody is reasonably happy.)
Anyway, he pulled this thing out in my car and started puffing away. I couldn’t smell anything and there isn’t any smoke, so I was stumped to give him any argument other than I find smoking, in all forms, repulsive, and I object to the hand-to-mouth habit. It seemed pretty lame, even to me. Now I know there are still second-hand impacts, but it’s hard to bitch about someone using this thing. The psychology is pretty interesting.
He does not inhale that shit in my car. Because I said so is enough of a reason for me when it comes to my vehicle.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

^ You never considered for a moment that I might wish to smoke where I am within the bounds of the law (Central Park excepted).

I mean, that is why I lit up there.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

The fact that vaping is banned in certain areas is proof that smoking bans have nothing to do with the health of the surrounding public.

Rather, many people cannot stand seeing people indulging in things that others don’t like.

This thread is full of references to addiction.

Did it occur to anyone that smoking could be a lavish indulgence?

All this emphasis on addiction is just a form of holier than thou expression.

GloPro's avatar

@SecondHandStoke Actually, it has occurred to me that you may smoke wherever you are permitted to by law. I consider myself lucky that my friends are considerate enough to understand that if we are all sitting at a picnic table and no one smokes but you then it is only polite, not required, that you choose not to impose your smoke onto non-smokers. If you light up at my table, then I will get up and move because I choose not to be submitted to smoke.
Your comment makes me appreciate that they think of someone other than themselves and their right to impose smoke on whomever they choose. Polite and considerate smokers are not the ones giving smokers a bad name. My friends also pocket their butts until an appropriate place to dispose of them, versus throw them on the ground. I appreciate that, too.

I also have not mentioned addiction because what you do with your body is up to you. If you ask for my help to quit then it becomes my business. I have lots of vices. Mine don’t impose on strangers and people nearby. That does make a difference.

As mentioned, except for my car and my home, pull your e cig out wherever you want. It doesn’t bother me.

Unbroken's avatar

@SABOTEUR I actually didn’t mean to judge. I was an avid smoker back in the day. It was just an observation.

I don’t have any wish to say I told you so, considering, how many people will have been hurt in the process before they prove the long term effects are negative, if I’m right.

And I am all for dechemicalizing our foods. That is one area I am very vocal about, as well qs shopping and filling out surveys and sending emails to our senate and government. Lowering car emissions do almost nothing for our environment in my opinion. As it will just increase the amount we travel and how many cars are on the road.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@Unbroken I appreciate your comment, but it’s really not necessary to explain anything to me. Heck…I was just jerking your chain a little bit. You’re entitled to your opinion and this forum allows you freedom to express yourself as you choose.

And though I’m an avid vaper, I’m not under the illusion everything I say is right. I only know what I believe is right for me now. Common sense would impose upon me the necessity to quit this behavior, but since I enjoy it, I’ll continue to vape until I lose the desire or I’m forced to quit. Unfortunately for most vapers, being forced to quit vaping means picking up cigarettes again.

*Notice I avoided using the word “addiction”.

If I discover tomorrow I’ve made an unwise decision, then I’ll have to suffer the consequences.

Whether I like it or not.

flo's avatar

“small business and turn the electronic cigarette industry over to the same people who’ve been allowed to poison and kill us for decades…

…the tobacco industry.”

The tobacco manufacturers are also the ones making money from the e-cigarettes.
They, got you enslaved @SABOTEUR one way or another.

flo's avatar

From the link in @GloPro‘s post worth unpacking:
10 chemicals identified so far in e-cig vapor that are on the California Prop 65 list of carcinogens and reproductive toxins.

Acetaldehyde (MS)
Benzene (SS)
Cadmium (MS)
Formaldehyde (MS,SS)
Isoprene (SS)
Lead (MS)
Nickel (MS)
Nicotine (MS, SS)
N-Nitrosonornicotine (MS, SS)
Toluene (MS, SS)

SABOTEUR's avatar

@flo Never said I wasn’t enslaved.

(But I’m not supposed to mention addiction.)

Care to list the number of carcinogens and toxins found in cigarettes?

It’s important to remember no one claims the use of electronic cigarettes is 100% safe…users propose it’s a safer alternative than smoking.

So we’ve established you’re opposed to smoking and vaping. Yet, given the option of using one or the other, which would you choose?

flo's avatar

Right under that list there is:
”....As the two papers linked above note, there are other toxic chemicals in the vapor as well as ultrafine particles, that likely have cardiovascular effects.”

“E-cigarettes do not deliver “pure nicotine” and “harmless water vapor”.

.Please read the first comment under that article. Knocked it right out of the park.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@flo I guess you “won”.


flo's avatar

@SABOTEUR “Yet, given the option of using one or the other, which would you choose?”

Why would I only be given the 2 options only? There are 3 options.
-quit right out,
-go to other things to be addicted to
-keep smoking cigarettes.
The idea is to be strong enough to pick quit right out.

GloPro's avatar

Oh, there are tons of ways to get nicotine. Why just the two?

SABOTEUR's avatar

If quitting were an option acceptable to smokers, there’d be no discussion.

It’s not just about nicotine.

Smokers like to smoke.

E-cigs are an acceptable alternative because many former smokers believe the device successfully mimics the smoking sensation, but offers a safer alternative.

Simply stated, we don’t want to quit.

Can’t see why that’s so hard to understand.

flo's avatar

@SABOTEUR “Simply stated, we don’t want to quit.” So, why not post that from the beginning why those all this posts…?

By the way, smoking addicts do not want to continue to be addicted. They do not get pleasure from throwing their money down the drain. I was one too I didn’t want to do damage to my health and waste my hard earned money.

SABOTEUR's avatar

When I discovered e-cigs 6 years ago, it was not my intention to quit smoking. The fact that I did quit smoking was an unexpected by-product of vaping.

In fact, e-cigs then we’re not promoted as “stop smoking” devices. They were promoted as “smoking alternatives”.

Some users go on to actually drop both habits. Many of us like to vape.

So stupid or not, we’re going to vape, regulated or not.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@flo The original question had nothing to do with wanting to quit. The question asked about possible danger associated with electronic cigarette use.

I addressed the question.

There are many reasons why people smoke or vape. Not all of those reasons have to do with addiction, as many vapers opt not to add nicotine to the liquid.

I can only speak for myself. I’m addicted to nicotine and I like vaping better than I like smoking.

flo's avatar

I find this person’s comment in the article just great.

“It’s one thing if e-cigarettes were only marketed to smokers unable to quit, but the tobacco industry is interested in marketing these devices to a much wider consumer base, namely, young people who have not taken up smoking but due to various social and peer influences, would be attracted to the e-cigs and might then try actual tobacco products. The ultimate goal is proliferation, not reduction, of tobacco usage.”

GloPro's avatar

I didn’t see this thread as a conversation on people trying to quit… Aren’t e cigs just a smoking alternative? They deliver the same amount of nicotine, right? I’m just going by Stephen Dorff and Jenny McCarthy that it’s a new way to make nicotine less taboo and smokers less ostracized. I never thought smokers were trying to quit the habit… Just the inhaling of smoke.

What do you call the people vaping? There are dippers, smokers, chewers… And vaporizers? That doesn’t quite work.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@flo People can say what they will, but where’s the evidence to back such claims?

SABOTEUR's avatar

E-cigs deliver significantly lower levels of nicotine than cigarettes (see scientific study and interview above).

GloPro's avatar

@SABOTEUR I don’t know if I agree that you get less nicotine. The studies are comparing apples to apples. When a cig has burned to the filter it’s one dose, so to speak. One inhale may deliver more nicotine in a cigarette, this is true. There is no indicator for the user to determine when the same dose has been administered when an e cig cartridge is like a pack. That’s my understanding, anyway.
So because it’s the nicotine that becomes addictive (and it is, whether you are OK with that or not is irrelevant, studies have shown physical and mental withdrawal), then I think users of e cigs most likely just suck on them all day without knowing how much they are actually dosing themselves. My guess is consumption becomes about the same, as the craving drives the action.

SABOTEUR's avatar

Ok @GloPro. We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

Thanks for the discussion.

GloPro's avatar

I’m not really disagreeing. You smoked, and liked it. You vape (or whatever), and you still like it. I’m not disputing either of those.
I agree e cigs are healthier for everyone. You, me, the environment, whatever. I’m just pointing out discrepancies in what the propaganda says and what the truth may be. I’m just answering the OP of What are the problems associated with e cigarettes?

Unbroken's avatar

@SABOTEUR No worries. I do want to comment that I appreciate you not using the addiction clause as a method of becoming a victim or on the other hand an excuse as to why you can’t quit.

An ex smoker I won’t say its not hard to quit. You really have to do it for yourself. And that was just it I didn’t want to quit. Everything has the potential to be harmful. It wasn’t until the combined effect of having a constant sore throat a lessening of physical functionallity and numerous other factors that I quit for real. I mean I could quit before whenever I wanted but I never wanted it to be permanent.

We love our indulgences. Live and let live.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@SABOTEUR E-cigs have not been around nearly long enough to know the long term effects.

flo's avatar

It is true that the question doesn’t say “Are e-ciagrettes habit forming?” Or “Are they addictive?” The OP doesn’t mention the word habit or __quiting_ but it is part of the whole thing.

GloPro's avatar

@flo Maybe that isn’t the point of the post. I know cocaine is horrible, but people snort it anyway. Listing the problems associated may include addiction, but that isn’t the main question. What are all of the problems associated with e cigs, from addiction to second hand exposure to sucking in minors because we can’t think of reasons not to use nicotine when you remove the smoke factor? Think harder! We aren’t trying to fix individuals here, but expose problems associated… Period. As per the OP.

flo's avatar

@GloPro And they are exposed, that is a good thing. But what is wrong with discussing the habit and the quiting aspect of it anyway, at the end of the thread?

GloPro's avatar

Because if they don’t want to quit it’s a turn-off. That’s all. I’d rather have the whole planet sucking on e cigs than smoking.

flo's avatar

I got you.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@El_Cadejo I had to pause and think about the best way to respond to your comment as nicely and as respectfully as possible.

Here goes.

Vapers are well aware of the fact that e-cigarettes haven’t been around long enough to determine the long term effects. The thing is…since we choose not to quit…we prefer to take our chances with an alternative that has produced notable short term improvements on our health than to continue using cigarettes which we know can potentially kill us.

If we were to wait 20 years for the long term effects of vaping to be known, many of us would not be around for the knowledge to matter.

We are not trying to convince anyone to jump upon the e-cigarette band wagon.

We really don’t care what non-vapers think or believe.

We don’t seek anyone’s endorsement.

What we fear is being in a position where we find ourselves smoking again.

All we want is to continue partaking in something we believe is safer than smoking.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@SABOTEUR You don’t need to convince me of anything. I’m a cigarette smoker and even tried ecigs but I had a really horrible reaction to PG.

My point was only that it is pointless to make any sort of comparison like you did with your link because we really don’t know shit about ecigs or their effects; it’s also possible ecigs are more dangerous than conventional cigarettes in some regards.

GloPro's avatar

@SABOTEUR A valid point, given that the FDA had already attempted to ban them, even with evidence that they are less harmful in the apples to apples scenario that was mentioned earlier.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@El_Cadejo Pointless to you, perhaps.

To someone interested in possible short term effects of vaping, the comparison might be useful.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@SABOTEUR What is the point of having moderate relief today if you’re just going to die from a heart attack 7 years later?

SABOTEUR's avatar

@GloPro Worst cast scenario is the FDA will make it difficult to purchase e-liquid.

Vapers will continue to vape regardless.

Knowledge is readily available to enable users to make their own liquid and devices. Many do so daily.

There’s no turning back now.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@El_Cadejo Your question would have validity if every smoker died from heart attacks or smoking related disease.

None of these conditions, so far, has been associated with vaping. And as vaping (to us) is a safer alternative, and it’s something we like doing, we’re willing to take the risk.

It need not make sense to anyone who chooses not to indulge.

flo's avatar

“We are not trying to convince anyone to jump upon the e-cigarette band wagon.“_

Gullible people and a lot of the youth (added:et al) don’t need to be told or convinced into starting doing something harmful. (Edited: we) just have to see it being done and (edited we) ape.

GloPro's avatar

I’m missing the point you’re making, I’m afraid. Justin Beiber and e cigs?

GloPro's avatar

E cigs are being banned in many places in my town now because people have started vaping weed in plain sight. It has no smell, really, and so the clever potheads have figured it out!

Response moderated (Spam)
flo's avatar

I have heard people who said they do smell it, somewhat.

Carbon monoxide has no smell but it is still dangerous.

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