Are electronic cigarettes less dangerous than regular cigarettes?

Friday, 12 September 2014

Dear Doctor Duncombe, I’ve been seeing these electronic stands in shopping centres everywhere, and they promise to deliver the same experience without the health hazards. Could you please tell me a little bit more about them and how they differ from regular cigarettes? Plus, are they less dangerous and addictive?


Our health expert, Dr Graham Duncombe from Skin, Body & Health Renewal responds:

“Electronic cigarettes, or E-cigarettes, have increased in popularity and improved technology over the past few years. They have the following advantages over conventional cigarettes:

– they allow vapour to be inhaled instead of smoke and therefore don’t contain the dangerous cancer-forming chemicals which include formaldehyde, acetyldehyde, benzene, arsenic, cadmium, lead and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons to name a few.

– they allow the dosing of nicotine to be controlled to a certain degree.

– they pose less of a threat as secondary inhalants.

The disadvantages are that the nicotine dose can be exceeded and they could be more addictive as a result and they release vaporized propylene glycol as well as formaldehyde which may even get deeper into the lung tissues than cigarette smoke can.

Electronic cigarettes should be used only as a means of quitting smoking with the intention to quit the electronic cigarette as well, over time. They shouldn’t be used as an ongoing alternative to smoking and should not be regarded as a safe option. The nicotine drops dose should be reduced continually with use.”

Do you have a health-related question for Dr Duncombe? Ask him here.

Other articles you may be interested in:
I need some tips to quit smoking. Help!
Your skin and environmental damage
Why am I always lacking energy?
Health resolutions to make in 2014
Are nicotine patches a waste of time?

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  1. SG

    I hate smoking, but I’d tolerate the presence of someone with an e-cig over a smoker. Since the hubby stopped smoking and moved over to the Twisp, his health has improved drastically!

    5 years ago •

  1. Sashnee Rambaly

    It’s hard for people to give up smoking.

    5 years ago •

  1. Tanya

    Wow, I had no idea, very interesting. I think people should just quit on their own.

    5 years ago •

  1. Liesl Nel

    It cannot be safer that smoking a cigarette if it contains propylene glycol and formaldehyde!

    5 years ago •

  1. Bernice Jolley

    I think that some are using them as a substitute for hookah, and yes some people will say “smoking is bad” why not just quit. You can’t speak for smokers, I use one and have slowed down on smoking actual cigarettes!

    5 years ago •

  1. Stacey

    Smoking isn’t good at all. It is so bad for your health.

    5 years ago •

  1. NaturalDiva

    It is rather interesting that it should be used with the aim of quitting smoking and not as a cigarette substitute. Most people I know who use E-Cigarettes do so as a substitute for traditional cigarettes.

    5 years ago •

  1. Melinda H Hamiel

    Well I’m not a smoker but found the article interesting as any form of smoking is addictive. The best option is not to attempt smoking as I personally noticed smokers start off young trying to look cool in school & become addictive in adult hood. Just like there is a law illegal to sell alcohol to under 18s should be a law against cigarettes sold to underage kids.

    5 years ago •

  1. Pseudo_kate

    I find that a lot of people are using them more as fashion statements than anything else. It’s such a waste of time and money.

    5 years ago •

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