Electronic Cigarettes: What’s the Harm in Vapor?

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From Quit Tobacco:

Electronic cigarettesElectronic cigarettes have become a hot item. Since they first appeared in China in 2004 and began to be imported, the numbers of brands and users have jumped.

Many smokers have been drawn to claims that e-cigarettes are a safe substitute for standard cigarettes because they deliver nicotine without the harmful chemicals and toxins in tobacco smoke. Some e-cigarette supporters say these products can help smokers to quit or cut down the amount of tobacco they use. What’s more, e-cigarettes supposedly do not expose others to the dangers of second-hand smoke.

Yet many health experts have sounded alarms about e-cigarettes, calling for more study and control. Much of the debate has been about nicotine, the key—and addictive—ingredient in most e-cigarettes. Issues have included uneven delivery of inhaled nicotine, quality control problems such as poor labeling and leaks that can expose e-cigarette users to toxic liquid nicotine, maintaining a person’s addiction to nicotine, and uncertainty about effects on health over time.

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