Electronic Cigarettes: What’s the Harm in Vapor?
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.