Electronic cigarettes have proven to become an incredibly popular device in recent years. The electronic cigarette, or “e-cigarette” as it is colloquially known, relies on heating flavored liquids to create vapor, which is inhaled and exhaled similarly to a cigarette. This process is often referred to as “vaping.” These devices are often cited as a safer alternative to regular tobacco cigarettes. In fact, a quick browse of articles regarding electronic cigarettes almost always has enthusiasts singing praises, touting the ability to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes by taking up “vaping.” However, some claim that these devices may not necessarily be as safe as many would like to believe.
Margaret Cuomo, a well-known celebrity doctor, and author of the book A World Without Cancer has recently made harsh claims against e-cigarettes. She claims that e-cigarettes are “at least as harmful…as regular cigarettes” to a person’s health. She went on to say that use of e-cigarettes can also raise a person’s risk for both lung cancer and liver cancer. Since making these statements, Dr. Cuomo has been met with some harsh criticism. One critic event went as far as to claim that her statements constitute malpractice.
Where Cuomo Went Wrong
As it turns out, Cuomo’s claims were not entirely true. In fact, a Boston University professor stated that there was absolutely no evidence to support her cancer claims. Since she wasn’t acting as a doctor to a patient, this doesn’t necessarily constitute as “malpractice,” however, it was certainly misinformation. In reality, a 2015 report from Public Health England made the claim that e-cigarettes are about 95% safer than regular cigarettes. The study went on to say that switching to e-cigarettes should be promoted as an alternative to smoking, and a way to reduce smoking-related disease and death. This was in direct contradiction to the ominous and foreboding statements of Cuomo. With so much misinformation out there, it is important to have discretion, even when taking advice from a doctor.
While vaping may not spike your risk for lung cancer or liver cancer like Cuomo initially claimed, there are some risks involved that are important to know.
Known Risks Of E-Cigarette Use
E-cigarettes can certainly be a helpful tool for quitting tobacco products, but they are not without inherent dangers. Oddly enough, the most widely cited risk of using an e-cigarette does not have to do with what chemicals are inhaled, but instead the device itself. Starting late last year, reports have come in from all over the country showing cases of these products either catching on fire or exploding, seemingly at random. Most doctors would recommend quitting cigarettes and any other form of smoking outright. However, if a smoker feels the need to continue with a form of smoking while weaning off cigarettes, temoporary use of e-cigs may be an alternative, provided that the manufacturer is known and the device is safe.