E-Cigarettes Vs. Traditional Cigarettes: Weighing In On the Options


Cigarette smoking is addicting because of the presence of nicotine. In an attempt to fight this addiction, electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes were created and introduced to the market as a smoking cessation device. Switching from traditional cigarettes to e-cigarettes is embraced by many because of its promise to efficiently cut-off nicotine addiction without emitting carcinogenic substances and polluting the environment. E-cigarette started a revolution towards an alternative, cheaper solution to the costly and highly addictive habit of tobacco smokers.

Cigarette Smoking: A Glimpse of the Past

Cigarette smoking has come a long way from a mere religious tradition or medical practice to being a social norm. In the 16th century, people began using tobacco for smoking as a social activity. When tobacco became widespread through the barter system and trade, worldwide cigarette smoking skyrocketed and in 1881, the first practical cigarette-making machine was invented by James Albert Bonsack. Tobacco industry shoots up, and the cigarette-making factories that mushroomed allowed mass production of cigarette to be available to many.

As early as the 1700s, there were already health records linking cigarette smoking to deteriorating health. In the 1900s, the first medical publication to attribute cigarette-smoking as a causative agent for the development of lung cancer was reported. This turnout of event led people to investigate and study the ill effects of cigarette smoking to one’s health. Today, ongoing researches and in-depth studies reveal latest methods that can help the user to alter his smoking habit or addiction gently but efficiently.

The roots of e-cigarette traces to the American Herbert A. Gilbert who patented in 1963 what he called as “a smokeless non-tobacco cigarette” that involved “replacing burning tobacco and paper with heated, moist, flavored air.” It did not earn enough attention to be welcomed by many until in 2001, a Chinese by the name Hon Lik, a pharmacist, invented the modern e-cigarette prototype. He made this to help himself quit from smoking after his father died of lung cancer in 2001. After its patent in 2003, e-cigarettes attracted many tobacco companies and saw potential in it for profitable gains because of its growing appeal to the smoking population. It has since then been remodeled, customized, and upgraded with technology for added convenience and enjoyment of users.

E-cigarettes: The Better Choice for Cutting Down Nicotine Addiction

E-cigarette is an electronic device that looks like a traditional cigarette; only it has a battery, atomizer or the heating component, and cartridge or tank for e-liquid. Unlike traditional cigarettes, it needs no burning to experience the same sensation brought by smoking. Sometimes called as electronic nicotine/non-nicotine delivery system or personal vapors, e-cigarettes deliver nicotine and other substances through inhalation or vaporization which is perceived to be a lot more harmless than smoking and burning tobacco. Though there has not been any solid conclusion based on clinical studies, a lot of smokers attribute their cut down, and eventually quitting from tobacco smoking through the use of vapes.

E-cigarettes make use of e-liquid which turns to a vapor by the atomizer which the user inhales or smell. This experience termed “vaping” provides the same sensation of smoking cigarettes without the burnt smell.

E-liquid is usually composed of four ingredients:

  • Flavoring
  • Propylene glycol
    Propylene glycol is a syrupy liquid found in most bread, cosmetics, and some medicines. The Food and Drug Authority (FDA) classifies glycol “generally recognized as safe” for human consumption.
  • Vegetable glycerin
    Vegetable Glycerin is an odorless, clear liquid that comes from plant oil. It is mainly responsible for the production of vapor in e-cigarettes. Flavors add taste and palate satisfaction to the user.
  • Nicotine is the addictive component found in tobacco that makes smoking addictive.

E-cigarettes intend to relieve that addiction through its controlled administration of nicotine content in e-liquids. The transition is based on the user’s smoking habit or tolerance. Nicotine strengths start from 0mg to 36mg. As a smoking cessation device, this method allows the user to flush nicotine gently out of his system, thereby lessening the impact of nicotine withdrawal symptoms to occur.

Smoke emitted by traditional cigarettes can cause inflammation in the lungs which can lead to chronic diseases such as lung cancer, respiratory ailments as well as heart diseases. Vapors, on the other hand, creates moist and flavored air that leaves a satisfying smell and taste to the user. Compared to the traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes are “around 95% less harmful” than smoking tobacco in one study in the UK by Public Health England suggest. The study mentions that e-cigarettes are not completely risk free but when compared to smoking, evidence shows they carry just a fraction of the harm. E-cigarettes are also unlikely to cause damage to the skin, like how the traditional cigarettes bring. Plus, no terrible smell and breath can be socially uncomfortable.

E-cigarettes are not harmful to the environment. Unlike tobacco, e-cigarettes are non-polluting and does not produce secondhand smoke to others. Expense-wise, e-cigarettes are cheaper than the traditional cigarettes. A good starter kit may cost you a few bucks in the beginning, but later on, you will realize how much you will be able to save more because you only have to sustain your need for e-liquid for your nicotine intake. A few puff is all you need to satisfy your cravings for your daily nicotine fix. Of course, issues regarding how care you give your battery and other accessories also matter in expenses. But in general, e-cigarettes can provide more savings than it is when buying your traditional cigarettes on a daily basis, in the long run.

Farewell Traditional Cigarettes, E-cigarettes are here to stay

E-cigarettes may be relatively new, but it has already established itself a cult following due to the convenience and pleasure it boasts over the traditional cigarettes and tobacco. Because of its growing popularity to the general smoking population, the demand for creating more appealing, interesting flavors and continuing enhancement of features of e-cigarettes is also high. With this, the e-cigarette is expected to stay longer in the market.

While e-cigarettes are not spared from the scrutiny of health advocates and medical practitioners worldwide, its appeal did not stir. Today, more smokers are drawn to e-cigarettes due to its promise to cease nicotine addiction gently but effectively. Aside from the fact that there were no reported or data yet to conclude that e-cigarettes are as damaging as the traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes are likely to dominate the smoker population, and may even encourage youngsters to jump to the vaping bandwagon for recreation and experimentation purposes. Peer influences and societal expectations are also other reasons for its growing popularity. Smoking has become the social norm and has embedded itself in the modern day culture.

Continuing studies and researches about e-cigarettes are rampant; possible long-term effects, risks and other potential perils to health and environment is still unknown and remains uncertain. To say that e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes is misleading, but some evidence point that it is less harmful and cost-efficient than its traditional counterpart. Lung cancer is one of the leading cause of deaths in the world. Smoking contributes to an estimated 80% and 90% deaths in men and women respectively. E-cigarette with its offerings, together with other smoking support services, could help thwart the smoking rates and lung cancer-related death occurrences all over the world.


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