If you are anything like me you might be a little confused about whether electronic cigarettes are safe or not. It seems like every week the media reports on a new claim about it, one week they say the use of electronic cigarettes is completely safe and the government needs to wake up and legalize the sale of nicotine e-liquid in NZ and the next week the same liquid is found to be harmful and will actually harm you, and the next week it’s back to being safe again? Have you noticed these ridiculous constant turnarounds? I certainly have and I think the reason for this can be put down to the following…
The thing is, e-cigarettes and nicotine e-liquid simply hasn’t been around long enough to get conclusive results analyzed from any long term studies or trials that are going on, and they are going on, they just haven’t been finished yet, it will probably take about ten more years before that happens. So, every time a new claim is reported on the news, it has only been based on a short term study, and depending on the type of analyses carried out in the study, a different result is measured, bringing new claims to light every time.
I have tried to keep up with all these studies and have even created a whole page devoted to them. See studies and research on the safety of electronic cigarettes and nicotine e-liquid here. On that page I have listed dozens of studies and included links to all the articles which document them. It was quite a lot of effort, but after a week of solid reading I managed to make sense of most of them. What I found was a hell of a lot of contradicting claims, many claiming absolute safety and other claiming extreme harm and many in between. Over-all, the only conclusive thing that can be said with 100% certainty is that more time is needed before anyone can unreservedly determine the risks associated with electronic cigarette devices and the liquid they deliver, but the general consensus is that they are not completely safe, but are likely to be “a lesser evil” when compared to conventional tobacco smoking.
From all the research I have done and the studies and reports I have read on this matter, it is my personal opinion that vaping with an electronic cigarette is certainly much safer than smoking a tobacco cigarette. And although the evidence points this way, it is not entirely what sways my opinion.
The main factor for me coming to this conclusion is my own body. There is a lot to be said for listening to your body when it comes to matters of health. I have always been an advocate of this practice and learning to recognize what your body is lacking and what it is overloaded with, and then adjusting the situation can really be the best medicine. I am getting a bit off track here but essentially it means being in tune with yourself, eating when you hungry, resting when you’re tired, recognizing when you consume something your body disagrees with and replacing it with something your body does agree with and so on.
Of course this is easier said than done but once you become proficient at this skill you can substantially improve your health in many different ways. This really came into its own after I made the switch from regular tobacco smoking to using an electronic cigarette. My body loved it.
I first started smoking when I was just 14 years old. Of course back then I wasn’t thinking about such things as what was good for my health or not, that was the farthest thing on my mind. I smoked to be cool and because my friends did it, and also back then it wasn’t such a sin as it is nowadays either. Anyway 33 years later I was still at it. Rolling my own Port Royal tobacco, I went through more than one 50 gram packet every week. That’s a lot of smoking and needless to say I was about as addicted to nicotine as anybody could get.
It wasn’t until I was in my forties, around the same time I started learning to listen to my body, that I started recognizing signs that smoking was negatively affecting me. I still enjoyed the flavor but it was starting to effect me differently, I developed an annoying and irritating smokers cough and I woke up each morning with phlegm in my throat feeling like I had a hangover even when I hadn’t been drinking the night before. I began to hate my smoking habit, the dirty yellow and brown nicotine stains on my fingers and teeth, the pungent sickly smell on my skin, breath and clothes, the ugly sight of cigarette butts spilling over ashtrays all around the house, and all that money, oh boy, all that money! How much money had I spent on something that was killing me? I hate to think.
It was time to give up and I knew it and I wanted it, so I did. I quit, just like that. The trouble was, I kept starting again, I just couldn’t keep staying off the damned things. Maybe I am particularly weak willed, I really don’t think that’s the case, but the longest I could ever stay quit was 2 weeks before the cravings got the better of me.
Over the next few years I tried several more times, I tried chewing the nicotine gums, using the nicotine patches, I tried the prescription medicine ‘Champix’ and I even went to a giving up smoking help group, but no matter how hard I tried I always found myself eventually lighting up again.
And then along came electronic cigarettes and everything changed. The very first time I tried giving up smoking by using electronic cigarettes it worked. (see the exact same e-cigarette starter kit I used) That was nearly a whole year ago and I haven’t looked back since. I was finally free of the dirty smoking habit, amazing!
For me, using electronic cigarettes and giving up smoking has been a major personal triumph but that’s not how some people see it. Some folks do not think this is a triumph at all, in fact they believe I have simply replaced one bad habit with another. To be honest, this can be quite disheartening especially when the criticism comes from friends or family or others who you respect.
The way I deal with the haters is to focus on the benefits of my achievement, and it is an achievement no matter what anybody says. Now you may be thinking I am disillusioned in my confidence about this being an achievement, however the main thing I base this opinion on is what I started to talk about earlier, “listening to my body”. I can tell you my body is thanking me and here’s why…
The six health benefits I mentioned above are facts, however I also believe, due to listening to my body, that my lungs are repairing themselves, my blood and circulation is improving and my general health is improving, and… it is my opinion that the e-cigarettes are not hindering in this recovery process.
Some of the other benefits from replacing tobacco smoking with electronic cigarettes are…
If you still think I am disillusioned or in denial about the safety of electronic cigarette use, let me reassure you that I am not. I fully understand that using e-cigarettes has a risk and that it is not completely harmless.
However, as stated earlier in the article, no studies have had enough time to be fully recognized in their conclusiveness to the health effects of electronic cigarette use one way or the other. The evidence at this stage seems to suggest there is indeed a safety factor but it is much less a risk than that posed by tobacco smoking. To form your own educated opinion on this issue I recommend you read some of the articles written by some of the top health professionals studying this exact thing. See e-cigarettes studies and research.
After considerable thought, intensive research, and also “listening to my body”, it is my opinion, that making the switch from smoking tobacco to using electronic cigarettes is indeed a personal triumph and also a major health breakthrough for the positive.
By Sam Billings (Website Owner)
What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below.