Looking Beyond the Smoke

If you're looking to give e-cigarettes a try, here's what you need to know.


By Erica Green


Ah yes, innovation. We now have self-driving cars, smartphones, and Mars exploration. Where do e-cigarettes fit? Electronic or e-cigarettes are plastic battery powered devices designed to offer a vapor experience healthier than regular smoking. These devices include e-hookah, e-cigars, and the like, which can come in assorted flavors. One question that often arises with invention is, “how does it improve life?” Do e-cigarettes live up to the hype of the tech boom? Is vapor healthier than tobacco combustion? This article will weigh the pros and cons of electronic cigarettes.

The alleged pros:

Smoking cessation- One of the original selling points with the e-cigarette is an alternative to burning tobacco. Some studies even suggest it could be more effective than the nicotine patch. However, this same research supports there is no real difference between nicotine e-cigarettes and a placebo in decreasing the urge to smoke. So, it doesn't really decrease the urge for nicotine or the cravings.

Healthier- It has been well documented that smoking tobacco is associated with certain forms of cancer, such as lung cancer. Another belief behind the e-cigarettes is they are healthier with less carcinogens. Tobacco Control reports this to be true.

E-cigarettes or vaping has 9 to 450 less toxins than smoking the regular combustion-type cigarettes with levels varying with the brand. The reduced toxin exposure rates are also consistent with secondhand smoke in indoor environments.

As an addiction counselor, one way I assess state of health or the severity of addiction is by looking at the hands. Fingernails, index fingers, and how one gestures can give insight into what substances they use and for how long. Long-time cigarette smokers may have yellowing of the skin, especially on the index fingers. A New Zealand source also cites dry skin and wounds that will not heal as another indicator of prolonged smoking. Many studies note that the long term effects of vaping is unclear, but they deduce it to be healthier than the smoking norm.

The cons:

The negative side to e-cigarette use is the novelty and exposure to children. Research states that exposure to children is increasing and so are related risks. Because the cigarettes can be taken apart and have small batteries, the pieces are a choking hazard. In a study on South Korean youth, adolescents were more likely to learn about smoking e-cigarettes from ads and start vaping with the intent of cession. However, this same group is more likely to continue combustion tobacco use at the same rate or more in addition to e-cigarettes.

Another risk, which some may say is a bonus, is the wide assortment of flavors. Yes, blueberry waffle juice can be a draw to children, but it also can make limit setting difficult for adults. Many combustion or analog smokers know to stop when they start to feel dizzy. Vaping does not have the same effect, so this may cause some to smoke more.

And yes, even the fruit juice flavored vapor has nicotine. There are still calories and other health risks, like high blood pressure, risks to pregnant women, and other related risks that accompany nicotine exposure.

It wasn't until May of this year that the FDA extended its jurisdiction to the e-class tobacco products. Therefore, legislation in many states is still trying to catch up. The confusion is that it's not an actual cigarette, so it is difficult if the same age limits should exist. However, regions like New York City are opting to raise the minimum age of all nicotine-related products, including e-cigarettes, to 21.


So the vast majority of research right now supports some benefits of vaping over analogue smoking. There is less exposure to toxins which means reduced cancer risks to the user as well those nearby. However, the device does not seem helpful in reducing the urge for nicotine. Its appeal is not a deterrent for younger smokers.

Many also report an increase in cigarettes overall. Perhaps the easiest way understand the effects is to realize it's still nicotine...which in any form can be addictive.

Be tenacious -and pursue true health!

Erica is a psychotherapist and humanitarian aid coordinator who has a background in health psychology, global health, and addictions. She has over 16 years of counseling, teaching, and coaching experience. Erica has several masters degrees, is a licensed counselor, and has an addiction certification. She has worked with all ages in the US and abroad. Follow Erica on Twitter. Se habla español.

Main Photo Credit: scyther5/; Second Photo Credit & Third Photo Credit: librakv/; Fourth Photo Credit: Marc Bruxelle/

Wed Jan 04 15:53:11 UTC 2017

Vape on

Fri Jan 06 07:56:48 UTC 2017

I am a smoker trying to give up. I am also a Christian trying to get closer to my Creator. I am not talking about religion, thats rubbish. I want to follow Jesus, that means no smoking at all. Vaping included. It is all poison to the body and unpleasing to the Lord your God.

Wed Jan 11 03:23:10 UTC 2017

Amen Nick ... I was a smoker... been a non smoker for 10 yrs... I used Chantix for 6 weeks... and I never wanted a cig again!!!!!!! cig smoke bothers me greatly now...I will pray for your success🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼

Sat Jan 14 01:21:29 UTC 2017

Stay healthy, I grew up 13 years with my mom and step dad they didn't know what their smoking did to our lungs. I'll pray for you and all the people that live with the first and second hand smoke. I've got scars in my lungs and I don't smoke we're talking 36 years ago. Wow that's a long time. And to all the smokers thinking about quitting you have to really commit. Good luck to everyone!

Sat Jan 14 01:24:13 UTC 2017

Both of my folks smoked too... I remember my nose burning from the smoke...

Mon Jan 16 03:57:46 UTC 2017

If you wanna vape then vape ! If you wanna smoke , smoke if you wanna be gay , be gay whatever the fu** your heart desires do it. Smoking killed both my parents I smoke as of now I quit for a year but some how I fell back in the tar trap and I'm hacking away once agin like a one lung Lunatic ughhhh anyway everyone just do what you feel b c ain't no one gonna listen anyway they will do what they want ! Enjoy ppl

Thu Jan 19 13:40:17 UTC 2017

i heard that they explode for having them in your pocket

Fri Jan 20 06:28:17 UTC 2017

I am a firefighter/EMT who works many shifts on an ambulance and see the affects of smoking. Vaping is starting to present an illness called popcorn lung. Before you knock this comment though, look into it. It is similar to COPD and will cause long term damage to the alveolar sacks in your longs ultimately inhibiting proper gas exchange and poor tissue perfusion... I chew my tobacco... Ulcers sound easier to manage than breathing problems...

Fri Jan 20 15:27:50 UTC 2017


Mon Jan 30 10:45:08 UTC 2017

don't like this(( but smells not bad)) unfortunately some people in my country doesn't do this wright,they smokes everywhere (((

Thu Feb 02 23:51:00 UTC 2017

You should never smoke you'll regret it in the future😕

Thu Feb 02 23:56:31 UTC 2017

Never ever

Fri Feb 03 08:49:09 UTC 2017

очень многие сейчас увлекаются!!

Sat Feb 04 21:57:59 UTC 2017

Smoking Kills

Tue Feb 14 08:56:14 UTC 2017

Thanks to Micah for sharing the worrying information on what e-cigarettes are truly doing to the lungs of the user.