Is it safe to use e-cigarettes? Why it is considered to be a grave health risk? Is it true that nicotine use may be a “gateway” to “harder drug” use, such as cocaine?
Electronic cigarettes, also called “e-cigarettes” are battery-operated devices that heat a liquid into an aerosol which is then inhaled. The vapor contains nicotine, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and flavoring. E-cigarettes, despite containing nicotine which is the addictive agent found in cigarettes, are marketed primarily as a way to “break the cigarette habit”.
Nicotine is the most abused and harmful ingredient of tobacco. Of all the drugs available today – including cocaine, opioids, and heroin – nicotine is the most addictive of them all.
History of e-cigarettes
Electronic cigarettes were patented in the 1960’s, but they did not become widely accepted until 40 years later. In 2004 they became popular in China, and then their use spread quickly throughout Europe. Finally, in 2007, they arrived on the shores of the Americas.
When e-cigs first went on sale in the United States in 2007, the companies advertised them as an aid to help adults give up smoking tobacco. However, not only did tobacco smokers start using e-cigarettes, but those whom had never smoked (tobacco) also started using e-cigarettes.
What are the dangers of the nicotine in e-cigarettes?
E-cigarettes have been touted as being safer than conventional cigarettes because they do not burn tobacco. However, the nicotine they contain is anything but safe.
Nicotine, it turns out, is so toxic that it was one of the first chemicals used in agricultural insecticides. However, when cheaper agents were discovered, the sale of nicotine as an insecticide dropped off. (Just imagine, nicotine – something humans smoke / chew / eat, when ingested by an insect, kills it.)
According to a report by the United States Surgeon General in December 2016, between 2011 and 2015, e-cigarette use in high school students grew 900 percent. Nicotine has a negative effect on brain development. The human brain continues to develop until approximately age 25. Exposing teenagers and young adults to the nicotine from e-cigarette use can cause permanent harm to their brain.
The health risk from using nicotine-rich electronic cigarettes is so grave, that some countries have banned several leading brands, such as JUUL, recently banned to use in Israel.
A computer search of Medline and PubMed – where much of the scientific research today is published, found the following facts about nicotine:
…Nicotine increases the risk of lung cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, and breast cancer.
…Nicotine increases the risk of heart attacks, emphysema, gastric reflux, and stomach ulcers.
…Nicotine is an immunosuppressant and therefore increases the risk of infections and decreases wound healing.
…Nicotine increases macular degeneration and chronic kidney disease.
…Nicotine decreases fertility in both men and women. It decreases sperm production and decreases ovulation.
…Nicotine increases the risk of still births, miscarriages, low birth weight, and mental retardation.
…Nicotine decreases nitric oxide production, which makes penile erections harder to maintain.
What has the research on e-cigarettes shown?
In 2012, among U.S. adults 18 to 34 years of age who had a history of cocaine use, 87.9% had smoked cigarettes before using cocaine, 5.7% began using cigarettes and cocaine at the same time, and only 3.5% used cocaine before using e-cigarettes. The conclusion is that nicotine use may be a “gateway” to “harder drug” use, such as cocaine.
A 2014 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that “electronic cigarettes may function as a ‘gateway drug’ that can prime the brain to be more receptive to harder drugs.”
The German Cancer Research Center (CKFZ, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum) is one of the foremost authorities on drug safety in the world. Recently they made an official statement stating that they could find no scientific data supporting the safety of e-cigarettes. Their opinion, which is well-regarded by all research organizations and institutions in the world, is that e-cigarettes are a health risk and they should be regulated as a drug.
What is the opinion of the major health organizations about nicotine containing e-cigarettes?
The American Heart Association classes e-cigarettes as equal in their risks and dangers, with all other tobacco products and say that “there is no such thing as a risk-free tobacco product” and they discourage the use of electronic cigarette use for any purpose.
The American Lung Association states that there is an established procedure for determining whether a drug or device serves a legitimate therapeutic purpose, and “e-cigarettes have not met the safe and effective standard required of such products.” Therefore, nicotine e-cigarettes are not safe – to treat cigarette addiction, nicotine addiction, or to use for any reason at all.
The American Cancer Society states that it is impossible for the average consumer to know if e-cigarettes are safer that tobacco cigarettes because e-cigarettes are unregulated.
The Center for Disease Control states that e-cigarettes may not be as dangerous as tobacco cigarettes for some users, however, it cannot be considered a safe and effective tool to help people who want to stop smoking.
So, what is one to do to break the nicotine addiction?
When a company makes a claim that its product can be used to treat addiction, it must provide studies showing proof. It must also provide studies showing that its product is safe. None of the companies that produce e-cigarettes has yet provided either any of these claims.
All of the studies – submitted by big pharma, medical institutions, researchers, organizations – all submitted to the FDA “proving” that e-cigarettes can treat tobacco addiction have been flawed.
The studies are either short-term (6 months or less), or they are not properly randomized, or they are based on self-reported use of e-cigarettes. For example, a study performed a little over a year ago in the United States found that people may believe they are vaping nicotine e cigarettes to help them quit, but 6-12 months after the initial interviews about their use of e-cigarettes, nearly all of the people were still smoking regular cigarettes while continuing to vape nicotine e cigarettes.
It is for these reasons that the FDA will not approve e-cigarettes to help smokers quit.
So how is one to break the nicotine addiction?
Answer: By vaping CBD. In addition to CBD’s myriad health benefits, ranging from reducing anxiety, reducing pain, improving focus & concentration, reducing insomnia, decreasing inflammation, treating sports injuries, and more, CBD helps cure the addiction to nicotine.
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