When it comes to nicotine, most people don’t know more than the fact that it’s in cigarettes and that it is addictive. While smoking cigarettes has well established risks associated with it because of the chemicals in the smoke, vaping is the polar opposite.
E-liquid consists of liquid nicotine (though nicotine free alternatives are available), propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine and flavourings. This is the mixture that is vaporised by the e-cig’s atomiser. Though the vapour produced is thought to be many, many times less harmful than cigarette smoke the nicotine remains, which begs the question; just how harmful is this chemical to the human body?
Fortunately for vapers and a few smokers who choose to use the devices, a number of scientific studies have been undertaken to try and establish just what effects nicotine has on the body when inhaled.
Nicotine has no serious side-effects
Thanks to patches, gums and now e-cigs, nicotine is much more prevalent than it once was. This is arguably a bad thing, but since the majority of the products that contain nicotine are quit aids then the point is arguably moot. It has, however, encouraged scientists to find out specifically what nicotine does to the body and there have been a number of clinical trials involving the drug.
One study concluded that taking pure nicotine, as a quit aid, was unlikely to have any long lasting effects on the body; assuming of course you didn’t overdose. During the course of the study some participants were given nicotine and others a placebo to help them quit smoking. In regards to side effects, around 8% of those on the nicotine experienced nausea while around 5% on the placebo has similar symptoms.
Nicotine is not carcinogenic
Smoking contributes to a higher risk of cancer, that much is accepted as fact; what is frequently debated is the role nicotine plays in an individual contracting cancer. This study showed that while smoking is definitely linked to the development of lung cancer, taking pure nicotine in the form of replacement therapy did not contribute to contracting the disease.
The methodology of the study conducted by The Lung Health Study “enrolled 5,887 participants in a randomized trial to prevent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The present study used surveillance data on 3,320 intervention participants who enrolled in the Lung Health Study for 5 years and who were then followed by the Lung Cancer Substudy for 7.5 years. Nicotine replacement therapy use and smoking exposure were recorded during the 5-year Lung Health Study trial. Surveillance for lung cancer, gastrointestinal cancer (including oral cancers and all cancers began following the Lung Health Study.”
Nicotine poses no risk to the heart
Aside from “The Big C”, smoking has also been linked to heart disease and is thought to increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Evidence compiled from a review into the known cardiovascular effects linked to smoking showed that nicotine in of itself did not increase the risk of “cardiac events”.
Other chemicals present in tobacco smoke were found to thicken the blood, which gives further incentive to anyone considering quitting smoking or adopting the healthier alternative of vaping.
So what does all this mean for e-cigs?
Well, in short, it gives further weight to the growing body of evidence that shows that e-cigs are a much healthier alternative to smoking traditional tobacco products. While nicotine is indeed addictive, e-cigarettes provide a safer method of inhalation that gives the user more control over their nicotine intake.by