Scientists begin investigating possible health impacts of e-cigarettes

A study released in January found that e-cigarette vapor can promote the development of cancer in certain types of human cells — at least, when those cells are in a petri dish. These are early findings, and they don't yet undermine the idea that e-cigs are healthier to smoke than regular cigarettes. But they do prompt some questions about second-hand smoke and the health of people you smoke e-cigarettes around.

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  1. Health effects aside my real problem with e-cigarettes is I can't call up a store and ask, "Do you have Sir Walter Raleigh in a vape?"

  2. that's what i don't understand about this.

    e-cigarettes aren't some weird new black box that fell out of the sky. vaping fluid is a combination of propylene glycol; vegetable glycerin; nicotine; flavorings/colorants; whatever other nasty shit the anonymous Chinese factory may have put in.

    haven't we studied the hell out of each of those things, none of which magically react with the others to make things worse? it seems that the reasonable plan would be to regulate fluid imports for impurities, and maybe to ban or label flavorings which are tobacco-extracted.

  3. For people who would otherwise be smoking cigarettes: YUP. I agree totally. But I think it's worth digging more into this scientifically, and figuring out what effect the second-hand e-vapor has, because even if this is a healthier choice for smokers, that's a different risk/benefit analysis for people who wouldn't have chosen to smoke at all. Basically, if we believe that it's reasonable to ban smoking in restaurants and bars (which, frankly, I do), and if e-cigarette vapor is shown to be a cancer risk to people who aren't actively choosing to smoke it, then e-cigarettes should fall under the same bans as regular cigarettes. And, right now, they don't.

  4. Two quick points: First is that anytime you read someone using phrases like 'smoking ecigs' or 'ecig smoke' it is a pretty solid indication of bias against ecigs in general. Electronic cigarettes have no smoke. That is the whole point. They have a pretty benign vapor of propylene glycol (which, as was mentioned above, is used in asthma inhalers and many other things, and has a lot of true medical studies regarding its use), with trace amounts of nicotine and flavoring.

    Second, for those who think that nicotine is pure evil, even in the tiniest amounts, well I hope you never eat tomatoes, potatoes or eggplant as they all contain nicotine. In fact you are ingesting significantly more nicotine in an eggplant dish that you would from breathing the second hand vapor from an ecig. (In that article they mention that 10 grams of eggplant has the nicotine equivalent to 3 hours of second hand smoke.) Nicotine has a pretty well understood effect on the body, although many studies look at inhaled smoke as the mechanism for intake. Without smoke, nicotine is about on par with caffeine as far as its harmfulness. (A side note, there is also something about how Americans process some tobaccos that make them worse for you. For instance American chewing tobaccos are really bad for you, and are known to cause some horrific mouth cancers, yet Swedish snus (which is prepared with just tobacco, water and salt) does not, or at a much reduced rate. Sweden has the lowest cancer rates in Europe, in part because Swedes use snus instead of smoking.)

    I should point out that I no longer have a horse in this race. I smoked off and on for years and years, and also used snuff (the old fashioned nasal variety) and snus (the swedish oral kind). I switched to ecigs about 2 years ago, found them delightful, and cut all the other actual tobacco forms out of my life. Then sometime around last Nov., after tapering my nicotine content down gradually in the ecigs, I cut them out too. Ecigs are amazing. Period. (Although not all are created equal. As with most things, do some research and buy quality, both in equipment and in juices. There are a lot of excellent resources out there (forums and such) to help point you in the right direction and away from crap like 'blu'.)

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