4 Common Misconceptions About E-Cigarettes

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in e-cigarettes

Dr. Howell

E-cigarettes are advertised by its manufacturers as a “safe” alternative to conventional cigarettes, that it can even help smokers quit. But the reality is far more complicated. Below are 4 common misconceptions about e-cigarettes, and the truth behind them.

Electronic cigarette question as a vapor device dispensing nicotene shaped as a question mark as a concept for the uncertainty concerning the pros and cons of e cigarettes and social health issues stemming from the new smoking alternative technology.

It’s safe to use e-cigarettes.

Aside from the possibility of harmful byproducts, which could cause harm to its users in the long run, e-cigarettes carry a more pressing safety risk. Liquid nicotine, used in e-cig cartridges, is highly toxic when ingested. There are even case reports where toddlers and children have accidentally swallowed the substance.


The odds increase when flavor is added into liquid nicotine. It becomes more enticing to children as the packaging and the smell can be very tempting.

Most people see e-cigarettes as something safe because it can easily be bought over the counter, but in fact, it can be easily fatal if accidentally ingested in high doses. One teaspoon of this substance is enough to kill a person weighing 90 kilograms (200 lb.)

It can help smokers quit.

There is no solid evidence to date that says e-cigarettes alone can actually help a smoker quit. And in fact, recent scientific reviews suggest that e-cigarette use is not linked to any successful quit in general.


There are even evidences that e-cigarette use introduced non-smokers to nicotine addiction. In fact, one-third of young e-cigarette users have never smoked conventional cigarettes. There are even claims that e-cigarette use paved way to conventional smoking.

E-cigarette vapor is harmless.

The liquid mixture used in e-cigarettes ordinarily contains water, nicotine, and a solvent (typically propylene glycol or glycerin). If it’s a flavored variety, it may also contain some flavoring agents, which of course, the components remain hidden from the public. While this concoction may sound safe enough, neither of the liquid nor the device’s design are regulated. This means one can really not conclude that e-cigarettes do not produce harmful chemicals. In fact, new studies discovered harmful compounds in e-cigarette vapor such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acetone and some heavy metals. Also, glycerin in vapor form can cause eye and respiratory irritation.

Also, another source of danger is the devices’ design itself. Users may amplify the voltage of e cigarettes which results to a denser, and richer nicotine flavor. The higher the voltage is the more potent these harmful chemicals become.

While it’s true that e-cigarette vapor contain less nicotine than conventional cigarette smoke, the chemical levels vary greatly from one product to another. So, it doesn’t really guarantee that the user get lesser amount of these harmful chemicals.


It’s alright to inhale secondhand vapor.

Another good selling point of e-cigarette is that it can be used anywhere as it do not produce harmful secondhand vapor unlike cigarette smoke. This is not entirely true. In fact, while it may contain lower levels of particulate matter, it still contains lower amounts of heavy metals, and other harmful compounds that can damage the lungs.

With the growing number of studies and reviews on the dangers of using e-cigarettes it is prudent enough that you keep your distance to these products. Nicotine is harmful. There is no need to prove that. If you want to quit smoking, there are quit aids that can help you successfully quit without the use of nicotine. Consult your doctor about your options.

And don’t forget, the next time you see someone vaping, it still best to keep your distance.


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