E-cigarettes. What is the end with them: they harm less than classic ones?

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Aerosol from electronic devices is not completely safe, but it contains less toxins. Studies show that e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to smokers.

Professor Michael Russell, an eminent British specialist in addiction, wrote in one of his articles in the early 1970s that people smoke for nicotine and die from tar. For many decades, the only alternative to smokers were products from the nicotine replacement therapy group: tablets, patches or chewing gums. – Unfortunately, such solutions do not meet the psychological needs of smokers. Smoking is a ritual, important
there is a hand movement towards the mouth, and even a view of the smoke being blown out. Nicotine replacement therapy does not provide this, which is why its effectiveness is very limited – explains Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, a cardiologist from the Greek National School of Public Health.

The problem is serious, because although in our country smoking loses its popularity, it still reaches 31 percent daily for a cigarette. Poles and 18 percent Polish women. On a global scale, smokers are already over a billion, and the number of cigarettes smoked by them reaches 5.6 billion (!) Pieces per year. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that around 7 million people die worldwide due to tobacco-related diseases every year. In UK, this number is about 70 thousand


A new solution for smokers appeared just over 10 years ago. They were e-cigarettes, professionally called electronic nicotine inhalers (EIN). The first models, designed and manufactured in China, were expensive, emergency and required a lot of skill when it comes to service. Despite this, they quickly gained popularity. The principle of an e-cigarette is simple. In a device equipped with a heater, we put a container with a liquid (so-called liquid) containing nicotine and a substance that, when heated, turns into a mist. Most often it is propylene glycol – a chemical compound used, among others in smoke generators during concerts. vawoo

Once, liquids had to be imported from China. However, consumers in Europe and the USA began demanding quality control of this product, which is why local companies were established (some of them also operate in Poland).

For several years, e-cigarettes have been in a kind of legal vacuum. According to the regulations, they were not tobacco products, so they could be used where smoking was prohibited. Probably thanks to this smokers quickly got to them. Today, tens of millions of people use e-cigarettes. The number of users in Poland is estimated at around one million.

The question immediately arose as to whether an electronic cigarette is healthier than a regular one. From studies conducted so far – including by the team of prof. Andrzej Sobczak from the Medical University of Silesia – it appears that the mist inhaled by the e-smoker is free of tar, carbon monoxide and carcinogenic nitrosamines. Some research suggested that e-cigarettes equipped with high-power heaters may produce harmful carbonyl compounds (including formaldehyde and acroleine).

However, this does not happen under normal circumstances. The use of the maximum power of the heater resembles a situation in which a regular cigarette smoker accidentally puts it in his mouth and ignites the filter instead of tobacco, vawoo.co.uk.

There is more and more evidence that smokers who have switched from conventional cigarettes to electronic cigarettes are becoming healthier. – Clinical studies that I conduct at the University of Catania have shown that in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma, such a change improves the functioning of the respiratory system – says prof. Riccardo Polosa, pulmonologist and allergist, director of the Italian Institute of Internal Medicine and Clinical Immunology.

The same is true for pregnant and lactating women. – Of course, they should be urged to try to give up addiction completely. However, it is known that not everyone will succeed. In this situation, I would recommend switching to e-cigarettes to protect the child from carcinogens and carbon monoxide. The amount of nicotine that reaches the fetus will be very small – says prof. Linda Bauld from the British University of Stirling. In two or three years, the results of research involving 1,000 pregnant women using e-cigarettes are to be known.

It is not known how many years of use of such devices affects health – research is ongoing. There are also doubts whether e-cigarettes cause so-called gateway effect. The point is that in theory they can encourage young people to smoke and switch to classic, much more harmful cigarettes. Studies that indicate such a relationship are to be repeated soon.