Considering e-cigarettes? Separate the facts from myths.
Myth: We don't know what's in e-cigarettes.
Fact: We know exactly what in them.
The main ingredient (about 80%) is food-grade propylene glycol or PG.
PG is FDA approved and has been used in asthma inhalers and nebulizers for years. Read more about PG on Wikipedia.
E-cigarettes contain anywhere from zero nicotine to 24 mgs of nicotine. You can slowly reduce the level of nicotine you're vaping in an e-cig.
Myth: E-cigarettes contain the stuff that's in anti-freeze.
Fact: Like water, PG is a non-toxic ingredient that happens to be in anti-freeze. E-cigarettes do not contain diethylene glycol (DG). Back in 2009, the FDA announced it had found exactly one cartridge that contained a non-toxic amount (1%) of DG. Thousands of e-cigarettes have been tested since then with no evidence of DG.
Myth: You're just trading one addiction for another.
Fact: Millions of Americans continue to smoke cigarettes and the long-term success rate is only about 2-3 percent. When you switch to an e-cigarette, you're trading a product that has 4,000 chemicals and about 60 known carcinogens for one that has only four main ingredients and is 99 percent safer for you.
Below is a video showing what's in a typical cigarette:
And here's a video on e-cigarette safety, explaining that there's nothing to be afraid of. (Update on the numbers: the number of e-cigarette users has skyrocketed from one million to 3.5 million people.)
Comprehensive study of e-cigarettes finds no health concerns.
The most comprehensive study on e-cigarettes done in 2013 concluded that e-cigarettes pose no health risks to e-cigarette users or bystanders.
The Drexel University study reviewed 9,000 e-cigarette uses. The final summary states: "current data do not indicate that exposures to vapors from contaminants in electronic cigarettes warrant a concern."In other words, "It's about as harmless as you can get."
"I wouldn't worry at all if someone was smoking one of these by my kids. From a pure health perspective, these are not as bad as a cigarette," said Prof. Burstyn, the Drexel University author.
“Prof. Burstyn’s comprehensive analysis should help put to rest the good-faith concerns of some in the anti-smoking community who continue to doubt the safety of e-cigarettes’ ‘second-hand vapor," said Gilbert Ross, Executive & Medical Director, the American Council on Science and Health.
What's the FDA's stance on e-cigarettes?
Back in 2011, the FDA lost the battle to regulate e-cigarettes as drug delivery devices. The district court stated "the FDA had cited no evidence to show that electronic cigarettes harmed anyone."
The current debate before the FDA is they will create a new class of products called “Tobacco Harm Reduction.” This is clearly where e-cigarettes would fit, since studies and anecdotal stories demonstrate that e-cigarettes reduce the harm caused by habitual smoking.
For more information on Tobacco Harm Reduction and to get involved in the debate, check out TobaccoHarmReduction.org.
Switch or quit?
That's the question.
Only 2-3 percent of people who try to quit smoking are able to quit in the long-term. We hope you can be a successful quitter!
But the reality is that quitting is very difficult for many people, because of the dual addiction to nicotine and the habit of smoking. That's why the concept of tobacco harm reduction makes sense. It's an alternative to the insidious cycle of failed quit attempts.