electronic cigarettes--how bad are they?

How harmful are smokeless, electronic cigarettes containing nicotine? I can’t find anything on the web that discusses why they’re a BAD idea-most of the sites I found were propaganda sites made by the manufacturers of said product, and all of the sites focus on the benefits (no smoke inhalation, less chemicals, can control nicotine levels, etc). But nicotine is a poison, after all, so they can’t be completely innocuous.
I search the message board and only found one thread that mentioned them, and it didn’t really go into detail about the pros and cons of electronic cigarettes.

I used nicotine inhalers to quit smoking, http://www.nicorette.com.au/product-range/inhaler/ not electronic or flavoured and I found them really useful for mimicking the actions and effects of smoking. The electronic ones are currently illegal in my land so I can’t tell you if they are similar but frankly, the inhalers worked fine as a nicotine delivery device, I am unsure why anyone would want the extra fuss and bother of the electronic version except to romanticise the drug fix which of course is how they used to advertise cigarettes.

There seems to be pretty useful info at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_cigarette

This is from memory but, in any nicotine user, regardless of delivery method, there is a greater risk of heart disease and circulatory problems. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor AND raises blood pressure. Which is not good for your pump and pipes. Those are the only two inherent risks of using nicotine, and the only two the e-cigarettes don’t resolve. Supposedly.

Because electronic cigarettes create a vapor of nicotine mist there is no pharmacokinetic reason to believe they cause cancer. Lung cancer associated with cigarette smoke is caused by the crude combustion components of the plant material itself, not the nicotine specifically. Same goes for dip.

Most research done on vaporizers has been done by pro-marijuana legalization groups; since this method of smoking was first popularized by stoners. So you should expect to see, as you put it, propaganda. But, at least as far as I’m aware, there hasn’t yet been any legitimate study stating that nicotine vaporizers cause cancer, emphysema, bronchitis, etc. Given time, I’m sure the anti-smoking lobby will come up with something, but for now the science is with the e-cigarettes on the cancer and lung disease front.

Long story short; greater propensity to cardiac and circulatory issues, nothing else confirmed.

IANAD but I am an EMT with more than a passing interest in this subject. I recently quit smoking :slight_smile:

Is it just me, or does the sound of ‘electronic cigarette’ seem inherently evil?
Nicotine is a vile, purvasive drug, the worst of a bad bunch. Avoid nicotine.

Thanks; you are all so much more informative than what I could find on the interwebs. I agree, nicotine is vile stuff, I haven’t smoked in ages. Just curious, really. Well, that and I’m trying to find a way for my roommate to quit, as it seems to be much harder for her than it ever was for me. I thought e-cigarettes might be good since the nicotine content can supposedly be monitored and adjusted. I am sort of vaguely interested in the e-cigs without nicotine in them-apparently there are some. For me, just having some sort of business for my hands was the hardest part to drop. Now I grip a crayon between index and middle finger.


I know like I’m gonna sound like a dick, and I’m sorry, but this is exactly the platform the anti-smoking people are going to run into the ground.

These cigarettes will lure young people into smoking and therefore we should ban them rather than allow a less-lethal alternative to cigaretttes. I’d love to try an e-cig, but I doubt I’ll ever see them legal at the local Walgreen’s.

Related question (I believe the OP has been answered): What is happening, legally, with e-cigarettes currently? Let’s say in the US. It seems the gov’t should be making a concerted effort to study these, and if they are as safe as they seem to be (compared to cigarettes), allow them to be sold asap, given that they could prevent millions of deaths.

If nothing is being done, is this a legitimate case of government caving to industry lobby groups and (potentially) doing massive damage to public welfare?

As has been mentioned already, nicotine is a poison and is bad for you, M’kay. Recent research even suggests that nicotine, while not a direct cause, might be a catalyst for cancer. This is of course in addition to the adverse cardio effects already mentioned.

The base for the nicotine solution is typically either Propylene Glycol or Glycerin. These are both strong humectants, and help create the illusion of smoke by allowing condensation of water in the atmosphere and in the e-smokers mouth and respiratory system.
Propylene Glycol and Glycerin are used in theatrical productions(i.e. fog machines) and have been for a long time. quite a bit of research has been done in regards to the health effects of this with the most alarming findings being slight irritation of the respiratory tracts in a small percentage(commonly 2% is cited) of subjects. While this suggests that PG and glycerin are safe for inhalation, no studies have been made on continous inhalations of rather large amounts(like inhaled in ecigs) of the substances.

While i haven’t seen any research on this, the big joker in my opinion, are the flavours added to the nicotine solutions. The flavours are typically common food flavorings approved for human consumption, but whether they are safe to inhale is a complete unknown.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that these product have been on the market for around 6 years, with no serious side effects reported. While this doesn’t put e-cigs in the clear concerning cancer, it does provide a clue that other adverse health aspects are relatively benign. In my humble opinion, they are probably far safer than regular cigarettes almost regardless of any possible negative findings.

Personally i quit smoking using e-cigs about three months ago. While i have stopped smoking before, it has never been this easy, and i have never believed this strongly that i can keep it up for good. Whether i’ll be able to quit my ecig in the future is another question :).

I haven’t smoked regularly for over two years, but this made me want to light up…

Bad astronaut: I was kind of wondering the same thing. It’s suspiciously hard to find any unbiased information on e-cigs.

Half-man half-wit: ditto.

I had a question: the mischievous side of me has always wanted to buy some e-cigarettes because I’ve heard that you can buy water-vapor fillers so that it looks like you’re smoking but you’re actually breathing in water vapor. Then you could bring it out anywhere and blow smoke out of your mouth. When someone asks you to put out your cigarette you can tell them “hey, it’s just water.”

Does anyone know how difficult it is to buy innocuous refill cartridges for an e-cigarette, for example this one?

P.S. Or even better: pull one out of the pack, then hand one to my wife, and one each to the eight-year-old and the four-year-old! :cool:

Liberty Stix http://www.libertystix.com/ sells cartridges with no nicotine.

This. I loathe smoking, and could be coinsidered an anti-smoker. But e-cigs answer most of my objections to smoking. No ugliness, no ashes, no stink, no second-hand smoke, no appalling inefficiency. (True that there’s no second-hand vapour?).

Yes, nicotine itself may be bad for you, but as long as your nicotine doesn’t affect me, I will shut up and go about my day.

I was at a restaurant in Little Rock with my dad who uses an e-cigarette instead of chain smoking 3-4 packs a day. In Arkansas, it is against the law to smoke in restaurants that are not private clubs and allow persons under 21. He was puffing on it and they asked him to stop. He thought they believed he was smoking so he took a big drag off of it and stuck the “hot” end in his eye thinking they would freak out. He then went on to explain it was just an e-cigarette. He was promptly told they knew what it was but the people around us did not and the restaurant was too busy to have to keep explaining to every single ignorant person who complained.

Actually, it may depend upon the local ordinance/state law/etc. If “smoking” is broadly defined, it doesn’t matter if it’s an e-whatever or anything else.

I think you vastly overestimate the anti-smoking lobbys zealousness. I’ve no doubt many will object, as you say, but I think that this resolves a good portion of our problems with smoking. It may become an etiquette thing. I would prefer people not use them around my child, because I don’t want her picking up the habit. Probably people would consider it rude if you were to light up at dinner or in the middle of a meeting, but I don’t even see a need to make people go outside.

As far as I can tell though, you are projecting some sort of babysitter mentality on us, when all we want is to not smell it or be exposed to a risk we didn’t agree to.

You mean like those zero stength cartridges? What does this mean exactly? (bolded part)
Cartridge Packs > Zero Strength Cartridges > Original Edition Pack Chocolate Zero

“Liberty Stix Chocolate Zero Strength Cartridge Packs are 2 individually packaged Chocolate flavored zero strength 0mg nicotine cartridges. Each cartridge is approximately equaly to 3/4 to 1 pack of traditional cigarettes, as a mix of the number of puffs (4 puffs, the number that you would get from the amount of nicotine if it were a light or ultra light cigarette)

Are they comparing the amount of puffs you get from an ultra light cigarette, or the quantity of nicotine you get from an ultra light cigarette?

I hope he quoted Walter from the movie The Big Lebowski: “Lady, I got buddies who died face down in the muck so that you and I could enjoy this family restaurant!” :slight_smile:

there you go. Nicotine is eeeevil so you must avoid it at all costs. So says the modern secular religion that the nanny state is busily enforcing, regardless of rational arguments. Other things that are eeeevil include CO2, nuclear power, home schooling and food without the “organic” label.

Does consumption of nicotine have negative long term side effects for health? Yes it does. So does consumption of sugar, or vegetarian diet, or whatever is currently “approved” based on “food pyramids” or various other things. And sure enough, just like the government has been encroaching on people’s right to consume nicotine in various forms for a long time, it has recently also begun trying to regulate consumption of sugar, for starters by the precious school students. It’s called transitioning people from “citizen” to “cattle” status.