A few years ago, they were rarely seen in the wild. Now you can find them next to the Blow Pops in gas stations. They’re E-cigarettes, and they got popular fast. Researchers are scrambling to determine the health impact of these gizmos, which emit vapor laced with chemicals—including nicotine—when users inhale.
Can E-cigarettes help you kick butts?
The pencil-sized machines are marketed as a convenient alternative to lighting up—and as a tool to help folks quit tobacco. With the Great American Smokeout on November 20, if you’re a smoker, you might be eager to join the 88 percent of college students who have not smoked in the last month. Can E-cigarettes really help you kick the butts?
Few studies have addressed the question, and findings are mixed. But we do know that nicotine—which E-cigarettes deliver in varying doses—is bad. The drug can contribute to heart disease, cause complications during pregnancy, and act as a “tumor promoter,” the World Health Organization wrote in July.
Nicotine also has the potential to harm brain development among young people. That includes—please cancel your trip to Denial—college students.
Still, E-cigarettes are far less abrasive to your lungs than plumes of cigarette smoke, so they may be significantly less harmful. But we’re not sure.
In any event, “vapers” must be wary of nicotine overdose, which can result in bad things like vomiting, confusion, and seizures, according tothe US National Library of Medicine. (Users should keep E-cigs away from young children, who–being teeny-tiny–can overdose more easily.)
Bottom line, as we await more research: We should consider E-cigs a cousin of a pack of cigarettes. Stick to those Blow Pops.