Billed as a healthier alternative to smoking, e-cigarettes may not be as harmless as previously thought. As they become more popular, more research is being conducted about e-cigarettes, and what the researchers are finding isn’t all that good.
The latest research suggests the vapor produced by e-cigarettes produces tiny particles. These particles are then inhaled deeply into the lungs, which could cause or worsen respiratory diseases.
“These small particles have a high surface area-to-volume ratio,” Jonathan Thornburg, PhD, said. Thornburg was the lead investigator for the study, and is a senior research engineer at RTI International.
“When they [the particles] deposit in your lungs, it makes it easy for whatever chemicals are in them to dissolve into your lung tissue.”
Part of e-cigarettes draw is the thought they don’t cause harm to the lungs, unlike their traditional counterparts. This research is showing e-cigarettes could be just as bad, though in different ways.
The particles deposited into your lungs when you use an e-cigarette are comparable in size to those created by regular cigarettes. Also, researchers found 47 percent of inhaled emissions found their way into the lungs, and most into the deepest part.
The main ingredients found in e-cigarettes are glycerin and glycol ethers. Other ingredients include nicotine, BHA, BHT, and chemicals for flavoring and scent.
“It’s unknown whether these chemicals are harmful if you inhale them,” Dr. Thornburg said. “A lot of the chemicals are considered safe, but that’s from an ingestion perspective, not inhalation.”
Call us overly cautious, but we’re wary of anything being inhaled that was designed to be ingested. Anyone else remember the cinnamon challenge?
Also, even without all the extra cancer-causing chemicals and other bad stuff found in regular cigarettes, e-cigarettes still contain the addictive substance nicotine. Beyond getting you hooked, nicotine can also cause nausea, joint pain, changes to your heart rate, and higher blood pressure.
So in an e-cigarette, you’ve got chemicals being used in ways that haven’t been tested, nicotine, and tiny particles that may cause damage to your lungs and respiratory system.
We’re definitely sitting this trend out.