E-Cigarettes as a ‘Healthy’ Alternative: Evaluating E-Cigarettes to Conventional Cigarettes

Smoking has rapidly become one of the massive threats to our human health. Not only smoking affects the direct user’s body, many non-smokers ranging from adults to vulnerable children are being exposed to secondhand smoke, negatively impacting various individuals indiscriminately.

When a user inhales cigarette smokes, 60 or more known carcinogens enter their lungs (Hilton), causing cancer, as the carcinogens are the substances that can cause cancer in living tissue. Cancerous cells can metastasize, meaning that they can continue to spread across not limiting to the respiratory system, but also across the whole body and increasing its damage. The risk of the disease is also determined heavily by the amount of time the users were exposed to the toxin, making heavy smokers are more likely to develop tobacco-related cancer with higher severity.

As a solution to this issue, e-cigarettes are being introduced as an alternative to conventional smoking. Unlike normal cigarettes, e-cigarettes are devices that emit either nicotine or non-nicotine liquid as a mist through vaporizing them, which then the users could inhale. E-cigarettes also do not contain any tobacco, nor it causes combustion or produces tar, smoke, and carbon monoxide (Ross). This also means that no secondhand smokes are being produced and that it does not affect the non-smokers around. E-cigarettes are relatively safer than regular cigarettes.

However, there have been many concerns over if e-cigarettes are actually safe in general, or that if they are effective in reducing the number of smokers.

While e-cigarettes are known to be smoking cessation tool, it is still unclear whether they are effective or not. A research done to investigate on the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool concluded that “E-cigarettes are no more or less effective than nicotine replacement therapy for cessation”, along with stating how the long-term effect of e-cigarettes are still unknown (Ghosh). While it is safer than conventional smoking, e-cigarettes are not innovatively effective as a smoking cessation device.

Moreover, there has been an ethical issue of how e-cigarettes appeal to adolescents, and could potentially increase the amount of actual amount of young smokers, with e-cigarette becoming the ironic ‘gateway to smoking’ for minors. Teenagers who have a habit of vaping had a 3 times higher concentration of toxic compounds in their body than non-vaping teenagers (Cohut). E-cigarettes are creating misconceptions that vaping are completely ‘non-harmful’, while in fact it still contains toxins similar to conventional cigarettes and could affect their health nonetheless.

In conclusion, E-cigarette is not an effective and healthy alternative to conventional cigarettes. although e-cigarettes are considered to be much safer than conventional smoking, the actual effect of a smoking cessation device still has not been shown to be positive. E-cigarettes are also starting to appeal to younger targets, which can be a major concern as the nicotine could impair brain development, and also influence to be attracted to other drugs. I believe E-cigarette is definitely a safer alternative however, the laws must be regulated stricter to forbid teens being exposed to e-cigarettes, and must correctly state its potential harm rather than marketing just as a ‘healthy’ alternative.

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