Why is there such a danger to tobacco cigarettes? Nicotine, the highly addictive substance in cigarettes, is not the cause. In fact, nicotine in the doses found in cigarettes is not deadly, and does not cause disease. There are no health regulation agencies that list Nicotine as a carcinogen. Instead, the problem is the chemicals that tobacco companies add to their tobacco. No one knows why they do it, but it’s there. There are thousands of dangerous chemicals in tobacco cigarettes (over 400); hundreds of which are toxic, and 69 of which are carcinogens. Merriam-Webster defines a carcinogen as a substance or agent that causes cancer. In research, it is stated that there are now at least 69 of these cancer-causing chemicals found in cigarette smoke, compared to 43 in 1989. Why is the number of carcinogens rising? There’s no reason for it!
While writing a guide about the chemicals in cigarette smoke for About.com (which is reviewed by a medical board), Terry Martin, a smoker of 26 years who kicked the habit in 2001, lists some of these carcinogens. Tobacco-specific N-nitrosamines, or TSNAs, one of the most potent carcinogens in cigarette smoke, are a highly toxic and are linked to cancers including lung, oral, esophageal, liver, and pancreatic cancer. Three endocrine interrupters (pesticides that affect development and growth) have been identified in cigarette smoke. They are Flumetralin, Pendimethalin, and Trifluralin. Benzene, a known cause of leukemia, and known for its use in gasoline and other pesticides, is also found in high levels in cigarette smoke.
Statistics show that Benzene’s existence in cigarette smoke accounts for half of all human exposure to the chemical. Short-term, high level exposure to Benzene causes damage to the nervous system and can cause paralysis, convulsions, tremors, or even coma, among other serious health issues. Long-term exposure is known to decrease red blood cells, and cause excessive bleeding, genetic damage, and anemia, according to Terry Martin.
Another carcinogen in cigarette smoke, Hydrogen Cyanide, was used as a genocidal agent in World War II. Wow. A few toxic metals, some of which are used in rat poison in batteries (arsenic and cadmium) are also found in substantial amounts in cigarette smoke.
Terry’s article in About.com specifically states that "…smoking does exactly the opposite of just about everything that we give it credit for." You see, cigarette smoke affects everything in the human body from blood pressure to immune system efficiency. More often than not, smokers will tell you that lighting up calms or relaxes them. However, health.howstuffworks.com states that when smoke is inhaled, it sends thousands of chemicals directly into the blood stream, putting the human body in physical stress…which is exactly the opposite of what a smoker will tell you they feel. According to smoking-cessation.org, when cigarette smoke is inhaled, the heart rate and blood pressure increase, causing more strain on the heart to work header, which, in turn, causes the risk of heart attack or stroke. A smoker’s respiratory rate increases, making the lungs work harder. A smoker will also slowly lose intensity in their sense of taste and smell.
Yet another nasty, physically visible effect of smoking is the effect that is has on your skin. When you smoke, blood vessels in your skin are constricted, decreasing the oxygen delivered to it. This decreased oxygen makes a smoker’s skin much more likely to wrinkle, and be prone to a medical condition called "Smokers Face".
Here’s an interesting experiment I found in my research. The next chance you get, breathe in a mouthful of smoke (but don’t inhale!). Hold a white hanker chief over your mouth, and then blow the smoke completely out. You will see the amount of tar equivalent to what is left in a smoker’s lungs with each inhalation. A pack a day smoker will approximately 1 cup of tar per year. Yuck! What does the human body do with this tar?!
Not only is the smoker’s body affected by these horrible things, but anyone exposed to their second hand smoke are greatly affected as well, sometimes worse than smokers who inhale the deadly chemicals directly. For instance, second hand cigarette smoke contains formaldehyde. Smoke-free.ca clearly states that formaldehyde occurs naturally at 0.12 to 0.38 PPB, or parts per BILLION. Side-stream cigarette smoke increases this by 0.23 to 0.27 PPM, or parts per MILLION (a 1000+ increase). Though most commonly known to preserve dead bodies, smoke-free.ca also states that some of the main uses of formaldehyde in industry also include fertilizer, dyes, disinfectants, germicides, preservatives, and embalming fluid. Smokers are inhaling this chemical, and exposing everyone around them with it. Disgusting.
When others are exposed to second hand smoke, they are exposed to deadly diseases, as though they were smoking themselves. According to www.cancer.org, each year, there are "…an estimated 46,000 deaths from heart disease in non-smokers who live with smokers, about 3,400 lung cancer deaths in non-smoking adults, 150,000 to 300,000 lung infections (such as pneumonia and bronchitis) in children younger than 18 months of age…, and more that 750,000 middle ear infections in children". In 2006, the US Surgeon General’s report concluded that second-hand smoke causes premature death, increases the risk of SIDS, and slows the lung growth in children. Think about that.
There is hope for those who are concerned (as we all should be), and who simply feel that they can’t or don’t want to quit smoking. This alternative is called an electronic cigarette, which offers users a regulated dose of nicotine without the risk of disease. The eCigs can also be used without nicotine to aid in the hand-to-mouth motion that smokers have a hard time breaking. "We have every reason to believe the hazard posed by electronic cigarettes would be much lower than 1% of that posed by (tobacco) cigarettes. The testing guidelines in the current tobacco act (circulating through Congress) would represent a ban on electronic cigarettes, (yet) if we get all tobacco smokers to switch from regular cigarettes (to electronic cigarettes), we would eventually reduce the US death toll from more than 400,000 a year to less than 4,000, maybe as low as 400." –This is a quote, verbatim, from Joel Niztkin, a chair member of the Tobacco Control Task Force with the American Association of Public Health Physicians. This quote makes a huge statement, and it is very true. Just imagine the difference it could make.
The liquid and vapor in an electronic cigarette contains only THREE main ingredients, nicotine, propylene glycol, and flavoring, which are approved by the FDA, and are known not to be carcinogenic (or cancer causing). The electronic cigarette provides a smoker with the same physical sensations as smoking tobacco, without the thousands of chemicals; poisons, carcinogens, and toxins, without the fear of a slow death, without the loss of senses, and without harming those around them. Also, when using an electronic cigarette, users don’t have to break their hand-to-mouth habit that we all learned in early childhood.
With the electronic cigarette, smokers don’t have to fear the "cold turkey" cessation. Nicotine can still be introduced to the body to ease the cravings. According to quitsmokingsupport.com, nicotine is the main substance in cigarettes that causes the addiction, and is the substance that is most known to cause and invigorating or relaxing sensation. In regulated low doses, nicotine is not a dangerous or cancer-causing substance. David Sweanor from the University of Ottawa says it very well - "The vast majority of the harm caused by smoking is from the method of nicotine delivery rather than from the nicotine itself. There would be a parallel problem if people got caffeine from smoking tea leaves rather than making an infusion of these leaves in hot water."
When using the eCigarette, a person is not restricted to where he or she can "smoke", because it is not an actual cigarette, and it does not emit smoke and harmful chemicals. It’s not offensive to others, because there is not a horrible smell and it is not dangerous. In fact, it’s quite interesting to use it in places that restrict smoking; the responses are rather amusing. The electronic cigarette is a great conversation piece.
Of course, with the electronic cigarette, there are also no more concerns about ash trays, the smell of the smoke, the yellowing of the teeth, a build-up of tar on walls or vehicle windows, or even so much as a complaint from those around you, and switching to the electronic cigarette will give a smoker a greater sense of freedom from fears of disease and death, freedom from guilt, and freedom to ease that craving wherever they please.
Of course, there are people out there who are against the eCigarette. Why? It’s because the big tobacco people who don’t want their cigarettes to lose their market. Tobacco companies are losing money, and they’re not happy. What are the critics saying, exactly? According to Adrian Payne (2009), the arguments include …
They have not been proven safe
They have not been proven to be an effective smoking cessation aid
They might attract kids
Children might be poisoned by eating the nicotine-containing cartridges that the devices use
They allow smokers to get round smoking bans.
Are these truly valid arguments? I think not. There are several things on the market that
have not been proven safe. Has the tobacco cigarette been proven safe? No. Also, Electronic Cigarettes are mostly marketed as a smoking alternative, not as an aid in cessation (though it would not be bad if they helped people quit). Regarding kids, these alternatives would not attract a child any more than a tobacco cigarette would. Responsible parents and other adults would not leave cartridges lying around to be eaten or consumed any more than they would leave tobacco cigarettes laying around. As far as smoking bans, they are put into place because second hand smoke is offensive and dangerous, and it just plain stinks. With the electronic cigarette, there is no cause for concern with the smell, the health risks, or the offense. These arguments are simply not valid.
To those of you who smoke; how much better would it feel to receive that same calming, relaxing sensation from a cigarette without the horrible affects that typically come along with it, or without feeling guilty for exposing anyone to the second hand smoke? How would it feel to be able to have that cigarette satisfaction if you’re stuck in the non-smoking section of a restaurant, or in the check-out line at Wal-Mart? To those of you who know someone close to you who smokes, wouldn’t it feel great to offer them a safer, healthier alternative, as well as remove yourself from the harms of second hand smoke?
We have all known of some of the harmful effects of smoking tobacco. However, I will not hesitate to admit that, after some very in-depth reading and research on this topic, I, personally, am ready to throw cigarettes out. Though quitting is easier said than done, due to the highly addictive qualities in nicotine, a person can still wean themselves away from these deadly chemicals without the harsh, sometimes intense side effects of quitting "cold turkey". You are all more aware of some – very few – of the effects that first and second hand smoking tobacco can have on a human body, I hope that you can now rest assured knowing that there is a safer, healthier alternative for you and/or your loved ones; as well as for those around you. Consider using the electronic cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco products, for yourself and your loved ones.
RESOURCES (NOT FORMATTED):
(2010) Chemicals in Cigarettes: What They Are and How They Harm Us by Terry Martin http://quitsmoking.about.com/od/chemicalsinsmoke/a/chemicalshub.htm
(2002-2005) Clearing the Air on the Hard Facts of What Smoking Does to Your Body http://www.smoking-cessation.org/content/healthissues.asp
(2009) Second Hand Smoke http://www.cancer.org/docroot/PED/content/PED_10_2X_Secondhand_Smoke-Clean_Indoor_Air.asp
(date unknown) How Nicotine Works by Ann Meeker-O’Connell http://health.howstuffworks.com/nicotine4.htm
(date unkown)What Kind of Carcinogens are Found in Cigarette Smoke? http://www.ehow.com/about_5074832_kind-carcinogens-found-cigarette-smoke.html
(2009) THE TRUTH: Cigarettes vs. Electronic Cigarettes by Darlene Marie http://hubpages.com/hub/THE-TRUTH--Cigarettes-versus-Electronic-Cigarettes
(2009) E-Cigarettes under fire – why? by Adrian Payne