Electronic cigarettes and the e-liquid used within these devices are relatively new, and researchers are still undergoing vigorous studies to determine the safety and effects of usage. Some skeptics do not believe the e-cigarette to be safer than tobacco cigarettes, and others question the safety of the ingredients found in e-liquid. Professors and research teams are still publishing the results in hopes of addressing some common concerns and answering such questions regarding the effects of electronic cigarettes.
Propylene glycol, or PG, is the main ingredient in many e-liquids and produces the smoke-like vapor. Due to its presence in many foods and aerosols, PG has been studied for over 70 years with no results of harmful effects. E-cigarettes are fairly new, so no studies have been done concerning long-term effects of vaping. So far, no users have reported any short-term risks. Some e-liquids use vegetable glycerin, or VG, rather than PG to produce the desired vapor. VG is commonly used in oral care and as a sugar substitute. Both VG and PG are classified as “generally recognized as safe” based on studies from the last few decades. The difference between PG and VG is user preference. Some electronic cigarette users complain that PG causes discomfort in the throat, and other users report that VG is thicker and decreases the lifespan of atomizers. No matter which type of e-liquid used, there are no significant findings that imply either PG or VG produces harmful effects.
Zachary Cohn and Professor Michael Siegel analyzed the results of many studies performed on e-cigarettes. There are thousands of chemicals in tobacco cigarettes that have yet to be identified, but researchers know exactly what is in e-cigarettes. The chemicals found in tobacco cigarettes are not present in the electronic versions except for trace amounts. These negligible quantities do not pose any health risks to users. Dr. Siegel concluded that “they [e-cigarettes] are undoubtedly safer than tobacco cigarettes.”
Researchers performed studies on smokers going through tobacco abstinence to figure out the most effective replacement therapies. Many symptoms of tobacco abstinence revolve around smoking stimuli and nicotine withdrawal. The studies concluded that smoking stimuli alone, such as puffing on a cigarette-like device, sufficiently suppresses some symptoms. Cessation products that are based solely on nicotine withdrawal have only a seven percent success rate over six months. Numerous smokers have successfully switched to e-cigarettes due to its combination of smoking stimuli and nicotine replacement, even though is not recognized as a cessation aid.