Weekly Wellness: E-Cigarettes rise in popularity

E-cigarettes (or electronic cigarettes) are rising in popularity all over Canada, but are they truly a health tool or a sneaky gateway device? An e-cigarette is a small vaporizing device that is scent-free and tobacco-free (some are even nicotine-free). They can contain liquid nicotine that is vaporized by a small battery and can range between gummy bear flavour to vitamin C flavour.

Just what e-cigarettes are and the role they play in our health varies greatly, depending on whom you speak with. There is great debate as to whether these are small health devices that can condition heavy smokers into weaning themselves off consistent smoking, or whether these machines have become gateway devices for many younger and more curious members of our society.

In a recent Centers for Disease Control & Prevention study, there has been a rise in middle- and high-school students trying such e-cigarettes. With eighty-eight per cent of today’s adult smokers beginning when they were adolescents, many health professionals are worried that e-cigarettes could be that initial exposure to tobacco related products that spark a lifetime of addiction. Health Canada told stores to pull e-cigarettes that contain nicotine off their shelves in 2009, but people are still purchasing them online.

Contrarily, others are praising e-cigarettes. Due to the fact that the harmful part of cigarettes is during the combustion of the tobacco and up to 4,000 other toxins, e-cigarettes eliminate that aspect, while still providing a nicotine fix. Nicotine isn’t everything though; the physical habit of smoking a cigarette is what people crave just as much. These e-cigarettes can provide an alternative to this familiar action of puffing, but without the harmful effects. So these little devices are eliminating virtually all the chemicals, all the smoke, and are not poisoning the people around us.
Evidently, there are many different positions on the pros and cons of e-cigarettes but always remember it is up to each individual to make an informed decision. Stay healthy folks!

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