The electronic cigarette differs from the classic version especially by its components. It does not contain any of the carcinogenic substances of the tobacco rod. It also remains special because of the way it works. It does not burn or smoke. Considered as a healthy alternative to the classic cigarette, is the e-cigarette a product dedicated to medicine?
A solution for healthy smoking
The only common point between the electronic cigarette and the tobacco rod is in the gestures. The vaporizer can maintain the habit of inhaling and contemplating smoke. Indeed, the latter is not real smoke, but steam, for the e-cigarette. It does not contain tobacco. The steam is not the result of combustion either.
The vaporizer inhales steam from the heating of a liquid. Called e-liquid, it consists of propylene glycol, glycerol and aromas. It may or may not contain nicotine. This last version of cigarette therefore contains none of the substances present in the tobacco rod. It thus makes it possible to smoke in a healthier way while offering ex-smokers the opportunity to keep their old habit.
To date, no studies have shown the negative effects of vaporization. The risks due to the regular and prolonged use of an e-cigarette remain poorly known. However, scientists point out that the toxic or irritating effects of its components are literally minimal. Moreover, the National Cancer Institute reports that this innovative cigarette has nothing to do with tobacco-related cancers. They are closely related to the carcinogenic substances present in the traditional cigarette, such as benzene, chromium and arsenic.
The vapour in e-cigarettes also contains none of the fine particles from the smoke. They are often believed to be the cause of many cases of cardiovascular disease. E-cigarettes therefore reduce the risks for smokers. They are a good option for reducing or avoiding tobacco consumption.
A common consumer product
Electronic cigarettes, with their refills, are classified as a common product. Therefore, they comply with current legislation regarding consumer safety. Their nicotine content is, for example, limited to 20 mg/ml. The capacity of their reservoirs or cartridges must not exceed 2 ml. Refill bottles are limited to 10 ml.
But the use of electronic cigarettes leaves this field, with the advice of the HCSP or High Council of Public Health, in 2016. It considers them as devices to help people stop smoking for good. Classified as less harmful, they help smokers to gently forget about smoking. They thus protect them from the discomfort of quitting smoking.
A less harmful option than the traditional cigarette
Its main component being propylene glycol, the e-cigarette has no short-term toxicity. Moreover, this product is used as a food additive. Glycerol also becomes toxic only under a temperature exceeding 250 degrees. Scientists have not yet conducted studies on the negative effects of the components of the e-cigarette in humans. However, the reactions generally remain the same in humans as in animals.
According to the results of several animal studies, propylene glycol, even at high doses, does not have any developmental and reproductive toxicity in rabbits. Tests have also shown that the product is far from lethal in rats. No warning is also given by medical professionals, regarding the small device. The introduction of propylene glycol also shows no warning signs in pregnant women.
A medical device under certain conditions
The world of medicine is interested in the electronic cigarette, only if it is used as a smoking cessation aid. It also requires that its nicotine dosage must go beyond the indicated threshold. Generally speaking, an e-cigarette is only considered a medical device if it qualifies as a “medicine”. In this case, its marketing requires a marketing authorization.
However, the National Academy of Medicine considers the e-cigarette as a real “drug”. In its report published in 2015, it considers this product as the main responsible for the decrease in smoking. The academy even wants e-cigarettes to be made available to smokers who want to forget about smoking. It thus recommends the use of an e-cigarette as a medicine.
Psychiatrists, including Dr. Keith Ablow, a health professional and medical journalist for Fox News, also encourage smokers to use electronic cigarettes. They are the best solution for those who have difficulty quitting smoking permanently. Moreover, studies conducted among smokers in the United States show the success of this product in the process of smoking cessation.