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Safe Smoking: Are E-Cigarettes a Healthy Alternative or Another Addiction?

Are e-cigarettes a healthy alternative to smoking or a slippery slope to addiction? Are e-cigarettes a healthy alternative to smoking or a slippery slope to addiction?

 

The next time you find yourself staring at the staggering array of cigarette packs behind the counter at your local gas station or convenience store, you may notice a new product worth checking out: electronic cigarettes (e-cigs). Hitting the market a few years ago, but gaining popularity recently, an e-cig is a cigarette alternative that uses vapor and nicotine to satiate a smoker’s cravings but doesn’t contain the same carcinogens as traditional cigarettes.

Proponents of e-cigs argue that they are much safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes, which are widely known to cause a number of health problems, from pulmonary issues to heart problems, killing more than 400,000 Americans every year. Additionally, concerns about the risks of sec-ondhand smoke have instigated public smoking bans in cities worldwide, keeping cigarette smokers from being able to light up wherever they like.

He loves his e-cig so much that it rarely leaves his hand, and because the vapor is harmless to his non-smoking friends, people tend not to mind.

E-cigarettes seem like a great option at first glance. You can smoke them anywhere (except on airplanes, unfortunately), they don’t irritate non-smokers, and you just might live longer.

E-Cigarettes still contain nicotine, a very addictive substance, but one that is not generally all that harmful on its own. Nicotine is a stimulant, similar to caffeine. And like caffeine, nicotine can be harmful in large quantities.

This leads to one of the main arguments against e-cigs: Smokers who switch will ingest more nicotine than they used to, simply because they can smoke in more places.

I’ve seen this personally with a close friend who recently switched to smoking a premium e-cigarette brand. He loves his e-cig so much that it rarely leaves his hand, and because the vapor is harmless to his non-smoking friends, people tend not to mind. I’ve heard a similar tale from other e-cig users and their friends.

This situation is exacerbated by the fact that e-cigs come in several nicotine strengths, and of course he gets the strongest ones, as many people will.

However, much of the backlash is hyped by operatives within the tobacco industry who stand to lose the most if e-cigs become an accepted al-ternative to their products.

If you are already a smoker, e-cigs have proven (thus far) to be a safer alternative. Inhaling water vapor, flavoring and nicotine seems in-stinctively safer than inhaling tar, ammonia and the other carcinogenic ingredients that are in your favorite brand of traditional cigarettes. Time will only tell if these instincts are correct.

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Steve Martin dishes the truth about smoking and makes it hilarious in this classic bit.
Last modified on Wednesday, 12 June 2013 21:45

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