Are e cigs bad for your lungs


E-cigarettes (also known as electronic nicotine delivery systems or ENDS) are battery-powered devices that simulate smoking. They are designed to heat a liquid, usually containing nicotine and flavorings, into an inhalable aerosol. E-cigarettes have become increasingly popular among smokers, youth and non-smokers, as well as those seeking to reduce their smoking habit. While there is much debate on the safety of these products, it is generally agreed that they pose some degree of risk to the user’s health compared to traditional cigarettes.

In this article we will discuss some of the potential health risks associated with e-cigarette use:

What are e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes, also known as electronic cigarettes or vaping devices, are battery-powered devices that produce an aerosol composed of tiny particles. The aerosol is made of nicotine, flavorings, and other chemical substances. E-cigarettes simulate the experience of smoking without delivering the same toxic chemicals found in regular cigarettes. Many users believe that e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes because they don’t involve burning tobacco, which can produce many harmful byproducts. However, research into the health effects of e-cigarettes is ongoing and more studies are needed to determine whether or not e-cigarettes pose a serious threat to our lungs or overall health.

E-cigarette designs vary greatly and can look like traditional cigarettes, cigars, pipes, hookahs (shisha), pens or USB flash drives. Many models allow users to adjust power levels and temperatures for a customizable smoking experience. Some also feature additional heating elements with ceramic bowls instead of traditional coils producing more vapor while retaining more flavor from the liquids used in them.

Health Risks of E-Cigarettes

E-cigarettes are becoming an increasingly popular way of delivering nicotine without the smoke and tar of traditional cigarettes. While the health risks of vaping are still being studied, research indicates that e-cigarettes may pose certain health risks, such as lung irritation, dehydration, and even cancer.

Let’s take a closer look at the potential health risks of vaping:

Nicotine Addiction

The nicotine found in most e-cigarette cartridges is highly addictive and is known to create dependency. Most of the physical health risks of conventional cigarettes are not associated with non-nicotine e cigs, however nicotine addiction remains a concern for any type of electronic cigarette. The use of any form of nicotine could lead to life-long tobacco dependency and increase smoking rates among society as a whole. Nicotine dependence also increases the likelihood that vaping will be used in combination with cigarettes or other tobacco products, thus increasing the potential health risks.

For adult smokers interested in using vaping as an aid for quitting smoking, careful consideration should be given to ensure access only to non-nicotine e-cigarettes and electronic liquids that contain low levels of nicotine. For those who already have a long established addiction, transitioning to an all or mostly non-nicotine product may be necessary for successful long term cessation goals. It’s important to talk with a doctor or other healthcare professional before switching from conventional cigarettes to e-cigarettes or making changes within your vaping habits.

Toxic Chemicals

E-cigarettes contain some toxic chemicals that appear to be linked to serious respiratory health risks. Those chemicals are often found in the flavorings used for vaping and can damage the tiny hairs that keep our airways clear.

When these hairs (called cilia) become damaged, it becomes more difficult to filter out potentially harmful particles from the air we breathe. Additionally, some research suggests that e-cigarette use may be associated with an increase in airway resistance, which limits airflow into and out of the lungs. This can cause shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing and coughing.

Some of the toxic substances emitted by e-cigarettes are nicotine and propylene glycol or glycerin. Both of these substances have been linked to potential adverse health effects when inhaled or ingested at high concentrations over a long period of time. Other potential toxins include: formaldehyde, acrolein, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as acetaldehyde, benzene and other heavy metals such as lead and nickel.

Finally, a study from 2015 showed that chronic exposure to both nicotine and flavorings vapors was associated with increased oxidative stress in tissue samples from mice lungs. Oxidative stress has been linked to various kinds of lung disease including bronchitis and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). For this reason it is important for vapers to only use high quality e-liquids made with natural ingredients whenever possible as well as monitor their long term intake if they plan on using e-cigs long term.

Respiratory Illnesses

Using e-cigarettes, like combustible cigarettes, poses a number of serious health risks including respiratory illnesses. As yet, long term research has not been conducted on the effects of vaporized nicotine on people’s respiratory systems but there is some evidence that it can increase the odds of developing respiratory diseases such as bronchiolitis obliterans, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

E-cigarettes are known to contain nicotine and other chemicals such as propylene glycol, glycerin and flavorings. While studies are ongoing about what substances are present in e-cigarette aerosol and their individual health effects, laboratory results have shown that vaping byproducts often contains toxic and cancer causing chemicals. Not only can these chemicals increase your chance of developing cancer or heart disease but they also damage your lungs which can cause breathing issues for anyone with underlying conditions like COPD and asthma.

Exposure to secondhand vaping aerosol may also have health implications since it has been found to contain nicotine, fine particulate matter (PM) 2.5 (tiny particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter that can harm the lungs if inhaled), heavy metals like nickel or lead, ultrafine particles (particles measuring less than 0.1 microns), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde and acrolein, and various other chemical toxins depending on the flavorings used by vapers. Studies have also found that e-cigarette aerosols emit much higher levels of ozone (gas made up of three oxygen atoms) than traditional cigarette smoke which may further increase your chance for respiratory illnesses like COPD or chronic bronchitis if you are routinely exposed to it even over a short period of time.

Alternatives to E-Cigarettes

For those who want to quit smoking, it’s prudent to explore all possible options. Electronic cigarettes are an alternative to traditional tobacco smoking, but they aren’t recommended for those who want to kick the habit. While research on the subject is still inconclusive, there is mounting evidence that e-cigarettes may be bad for your overall health and could cause potential harm over time.

While e-cigarettes provide a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes in terms of bad chemicals inhaled, they involve more than just nicotine vapor. Most e-cigarettes come with a variety of flavors and contain other ingredients like propylene glycol and additives that could be damaging when used in high concentrations. Adverse effects from using e-cigarettes can include respiratory problems caused by exposure to certain compounds found in vaporized liquid nicotine solutions and a risk of throat and mouth irritation if used too frequently.

Fortunately, there are several alternatives available for those looking to quit smoking:

  1. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT): This involves using a reliable form of nicotine as an aid when trying to kick the habit. Options include nicotine patches or gum, both generally considered safe medication products when used properly.
  2. Prescription Medication: Depending on individual circumstances, those wanting help quitting may opt for prescription drugs like Chantix or Zyban which have been approved by the FDA as stop-smoking aids with some success rates reported at up to 50%.
  3. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This type of therapy is designed to change people’s behaviors around smoking over time through guidance from a trained therapist or counselor. CBT also has proven effective in helping smokers overcome their addiction as well as providing techniques for avoiding relapse in the future.


In conclusion, e-cigarettes are not risk-free and more research needs to be done to learn more about their long-term health effects. However, compared to combustible cigarettes they appear to be less harmful.

E-cigarettes are still a relatively new product and it will take more time to know their ultimate impact on health and society. Those interested in quitting smoking should consult with a healthcare professional to find the best solution for them, which could include traditional nicotine replacement therapy or other types of cessation aid.