E-cigarettes are everywhere, including in the spotlight of media. They’re advertised as everything from an alternative to smoking to the miracle panacea that can cure your smoking habit forever. The problem with these claims is that not all of them are accurate, which makes deciphering the pros and cons of e-cigarettes tricky.
It’s hard to discern who to believe when you’re getting information on e-cigarettes. E-cigarette vendors like to overplay the benefits that their products carry. Government agencies and other groups that have interest groups pressuring them are prone to providing reports looking at just part of the truth.
We’re confident in our knowledge of e-cigarettes because we’ve been paying attention to the various reports and have years of first-hand experience when it comes to e-smoking. It’s our opinion that e-cigarettes are the ideal option for most people who refuse to quit or simply can’t stop smoking, but we’d like to acknowledge that e-smoking isn’t for everyone.
Let’s go over the e-cigarette pros and cons so that you can make an informed decision before making a purchase. Don’t know which e-cigarette to try first? Take a look at our list of the best e-cigarettes on the market!
E-Cigarettes Pros and Cons: The Benefits of E-Smoking
The Health Benefits of E-Cigarettes
The primary idea that causes people to take up an interest in e-smoking involves the potential health benefits that it can bring as an alternative to regular cigarettes. While it won’t take nicotine away from you, the ingredients that are typically contained in e-liquid do appear free of carcinogens.
E-liquid contains the following things: propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine and food-grade flavoring ingredients.
By comparison, this is what you’ll typically find in cigarette smoke, though it is by no means a complete list of chemicals: carbon monoxide, tar, arsenic, ammonia, cyanide and acetone.
By looking at just the ingredients, e-cigarettes may be safer than traditional cigarettes.
The Boston University School of Public Health supports the conclusion that e-cigarettes are safer. They have stated while on record that “few, if any, chemicals at levels detected in electronic cigarettes raise serious health concerns.”
This does not mean that e-cigarettes are safe, as there have been no long-term and comprehensive studies following e-smokers.
Saving Money with E-Cigarettes
The other big reason that most people look into e-cigarettes concerns the potential monetary savings with e-smoking versus traditional smoking.
If you were a full-time smoker and decided to drop that habit for e-cigarettes, then you could be saving at least $2,000 every year. This statement stays true even when you consider the cost of purchasing an e-cigarette starter kit and the cost to purchase e-liquid refills, the latter of which amounts to an average of about $20 per week.
E-Cigarettes Lack Second-Hand Smoke
Let’s be brutally honest about it; the scent of second-hand smoke is probably one of the most offensive odors to non-smokers.
Second-hand smoke aggravates allergies, makes your eyes sting, smells putrid, stains your clothes and lingers in the air worse than a heavy fog. Not only is it offensive, but it’s also hazardous to the health of bystanders.
In short, nobody likes it.
E-cigarette vapor is a world apart from cigarette smoke. It only has a very subtle scent that most people standing next to you can’t even detect. The scent only lasts for a transient few seconds.
Compared to second-hand smoke, some people actually find the smell of e-cigarette vapor pleasant.
Improving Your Self-Image with E-Cigarettes
Of the many e-cigarette pros and cons listed here, the ability to improve your own self-image with e-cigarettes can be an important step towards living a happier and healthier life.
Smoking forces you to become ostracized. You might douse yourself in perfume or cologne, but bystanders will still scowl at you, ask you to stop, and even tell you what a disgusting person you are for having that habit. Friends and family may even avoid you because you smoke.
It’s understandable that you’d develop a negative self-image after having to suffer through that kind of treatment.
E-cigarettes can help you with your self-image because they don’t have all those negative qualities that people find unappealing about cigarettes. They don’t taint your clothes, hair and living quarters with a putrid aroma.
E-cigarettes give you the ability to smell nice, look great and still manage to get that calming effect from e-smoking.
Avoiding Smoking Bans with E-Cigarettes
One of the most attractive benefits that e-cigarettes bring involves the ability to smoke indoors without any repercussions. While it’s important to get the okay from the establishment before you pull out your e-cigarette, most places that ban smoking cigarettes will allow you to e-smoke.
That means you may be able to e-smoke at the office, your favorite bar, restaurants and even in public without too much worry. You may even be able to use your e-cigarette in a rental car or hotel room due to the fact that e-smoking is barely detectable.
This makes it easier to curtail your nicotine cravings and to prevent them from growing into full-fledged fits.
E-Cigarettes Pros and Cons: The Drawbacks of E-Smoking
The Health Risks of E-Cigarettes
One of the things we value the most is our health, which allows you to understand why we’ve decided to tackle the health-related e-cigarette pros and cons first.
While e-cigarettes are likely better for your health than smoking regular cigarettes, that doesn’t mean that e-smoking is entirely healthy.
Propylene glycol seems to be one of the common e-liquid ingredients that gives e-smokers the most trouble. For example, some e-smokers have complained about being dehydrated after a session of e-smoking. While it’s hard to pin down the exact cause, we think this may be due to propylene glycol’s natural ability to trap water. Other people have complained about allergies and other adverse reactions to propylene glycol.
The good news is that any ill effects from propylene glycol can usually be avoided by opting for an e-liquid that uses just vegetable glycerin.
E-liquid isn’t entirely safe. If you were to drink from a bottle of e-liquid, you could suffer from a nicotine overdose. We haven’t heard of anyone ever trying this, but it is one thing to keep in mind.
What we’ve covered so far only extends to the short-term effects of e-cigarettes. Information on the long-term effects of e-smoking are sketchy and inconclusive at this point.
No one has studied the long-term effects of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin when ingested in a gaseous form.
There are also no conclusive studies as to whether nicotine acts as a carcinogen on its own. What we do know about nicotine is that it can cause complications with people who have heart conditions. Doctors recommend pregnant women and other high-risk individuals to avoid nicotine for a reason.
The best option concerning your health is to avoid nicotine, which is possible with e-smoking if you purchase nicotine-free e-liquids. If you can’t do that, then you should carefully weigh the e-cigarette pros and cons before making your decision concerning e-smoking.
E-Cigarette Battery Explosions
One of the biggest concerns about e-cigarettes lies with the batteries that power them. Back in 2012, CBS News reported on a Florida man who sustained injuries when his e-cigarette’s battery exploded while he was using it. This explosion resulted in severe injuries to his mouth, including his teeth and tongue.
We’ve seen other reports of incidents with e-cigarette battery explosions, but we’re not so confident about their validity. Most reports come from forums, blogs and other unreliable sources.
What we do know is that you take certain risks when you use anything that has a battery. That risk extends to e-cigarettes just as it does your laptop’s battery, your remote control for your television and your mobile phone. Any battery could explode under the right conditions.
When considering the e-cigarette pros and cons, make sure that you take a step back and understand that some incidents aren’t limited to just e-cigarettes. Compare the drawbacks of e-smoking to those of smoking regular cigarettes and you’ll quickly see that the risks of e-cigarette battery explosions pale in comparison.
The Taste of E-Cigarettes
We placed the taste of e-cigarettes into the drawback portion of this article because we feel that it’s a drawback for potential e-smokers whom are looking to abandon their cigarettes.
We’ll put this in plain English: e-cigarettes don’t taste like cigarettes in the least. To get the taste of a cigarette, you have to burn tobacco, not vaporize nicotine and an assortment of ingredients.
E-cigarette companies are to blame for the common misconception that e-cigarettes do taste just like cigarettes. If they were honest about how e-cigarettes really tasted, then beginner e-smokers wouldn’t be disappointed by the initial difference in taste.
Even though e-cigarettes taste differently than real cigarettes, we still believe that e-cigarettes taste amazing. When your sense of taste starts to acclimate to the vapor that e-cigarettes produce, you’ll start to understand why we prefer e-cigarettes and the wide variety of flavors possible from them.
The Lack of E-Cigarette Regulation
One of the biggest and most unfortunate drawbacks on this list is that e-cigarettes have very few guidelines and regulations determining what e-cigarette and e-liquid manufacturers can do.
You can buy e-cigarettes from just about any online retailer. You can purchase e-liquid in almost any flavor that you can imagine. You don’t even have to pay state tobacco taxes when you purchase e-cigarettes.
The unfortunate part about this is that e-cigarette regulation is likely to change. The FDA announced its intent to put regulations in place that cover e-cigarettes and tobacco products that aren’t already regulated.
If e-cigarettes become regulated in the same ways that cigarettes are, then it’s likely that e-smokers will find these new regulations more than just disagreeable.