The question in the title above is one that has been asked many times by many smokers or, more poignantly, an ex-smoker or someone who is in the process of giving up tobacco.
While people now know full well that smoking tobacco is harmful to their health, many are suspicious about vaping e-juice (also known as e-liquid and vape-juice) as no long-term research is available yet as to how it affects health.
There is much controversy about the benefits of e-cigs, particularly over the degree of toxicity of e-cigs as compared to tobacco. The problem with traditional cigarettes is the chemicals added by the tobacco companies to increase the addictive properties.
The liquid used in e-cigs has very little in the way of additives to the the pure nicotine. Most e-cigarettes comprise of four basic ingredients: propylene glycol, vegetable glycerol, nicotine, and flavorings.
Here is a quick breakdown of those four ingredients.
Propylene Glycol (PG) is the carrier for the nicotine and flavorings, which produces the vapor. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has declared that propylene glycol is “metabolized by animals and can be used as a carbohydrate source and there is no evidence in the available information on propylene glycol that demonstrates a hazard to the public when they are used at levels that are now current or that might reasonably be expected in future.”
Vegetable Glycerol (VG) is the alternative carrier, which is usually combined with PG. It is a plant-based carbohydrate and produces a vapor upon exhaling. Studies have demonstrated that it is non-carcinogenic. Both PG and VG are widely used in many industries, and the FDA has designated both PG and VG as “Generally Recognized as Safe” for oral or dermal use.
Nicotine is an alkaloid which is found in tobacco plants and all the nicotine in electronic cigarettes is extracted from these plants. While nicotine does have addictive properties, it also has a stimulant effect on the brain by activating receptors and releasing chemicals.
Flavorings can supplement or even replace nicotine altogether in e-cigarettes. They range from basic flavors, like menthol, to exotic versions of fruits, like mango or papaya, or alcohol flavors, like Pina Colada.
While it remains to be seen what the long-term effects of vaping are, there is little question that it is a far better alternative to smoking tobacco, a fact that is hard to dispute.
[Image credit: consumeraffairs.com]