Are E-Cigarettes Safer??

Happy New Year to Everyone!!

Every New year, so many smokers take the oath to quit smoking. In addition to the overall devastating health risks associated with smoking, smoking also has a significant negative impact on oral health. Smoking is the number one cause of periodontal disease (gum disease) and tooth loss.

E-cigarettes have been highly marketed as an acceptable and safer alternative to smoking and as an effective method to quit smoking. E-cigarettes tend to advertise as an easy way to get nicotine without the risk factors associated with smoking. E-cigarettes can look like real cigarettes or a pen. Some have refillable containers that hold liquids usually consisting of nicotine, flavorings and other toxic chemicals. The e-cigarettes are heated and thereby creating a vapor that is inhaled when you take a drag. Vaping is often the term used to describe smoking an e-cigarette.

For tips on how to quit smoking all together, watch this video!

E-cigarettes contain nicotine in liquid form which is highly addictive. In addition, E-cigarettes often contain a cocktail of harmful chemicals and carcinogens like formaldehyde and antifreeze. Many e-cigarettes are chemically flavored and contain food preservatives. Although these agents may generally be recognized as safe when ingested in food, their safety has not been proven when it comes to inhalation.

Diacetyl is an additive added to e-cigarettes to create a buttery taste in the vapor. When Diacetyl is inhaled it is very harmful and can cause a lung disease called “popcorn lung”. The production of carbonyls, cancer causing agents during vaping is another very serious health concern. E-cigarettes also contain tetramethylpyrazine which can cause brain damage in humans. According to one study e-cigarettes may even increase antibiotic resistance for dangerous bacteria like MRSA, (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus). The nicotine rich vapors of e-cigarettes cause the bacteria to produce a thick biofilm coating that protects the bacteria better.

Although e-cigarettes may deliver slightly less nicotine intake, they are not a totally safe alternative. E-cigarettes still pose a dangerous threat to smokers. The long term health risks of e-cigarettes have not been studied and no health organization has endorsed using e-cigarettes as a healthier or safe alternative to smoking cigarettes. Canada is one of many countries that has a ban on e-cigarettes because the safety of e-cigarettes is unknown. Smokers are encouraged to quit smoking completely for a more effective and safe removal of the smoking habit.

Therefore, if you smoke e-cigarettes because you think it is safer than the regular cigarettes, or are doing so, because you are trying to quit, watch this video to learn more about the potential health risks associated with smoking e-cigarettes.

Registered dental hygienists have a key role to play as members of the health professional team delivering a consistent tobacco cessation message. Dental hygienists have a professional responsibility to provide tobacco cessation counselling as a routine component of dental hygiene practice. Tobacco cessation counselling provided by the dental hygienist has a significant positive impact on quit rates.

Visit Pina Mazza RDH at Maple Dental Hygiene Care for counselling on smoking cessation as a part of your oral health care treatment.


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