Is electronic cigarette bad for your health? Find out how it works

Some claim that electronic cigarettes are less harmful to health than normal cigarettes, but that does not mean that they are risk free. That’s because, despite being considered a safer option, e-cigs still contain some dangerous substances.

Therefore, these devices can be harmful to the body.

But, this is a subject that generates a lot of discussion, not least because, for people who already smoke the normal cigarette, the electronic one can have advantages.

Through this device, the user is able to dose the substances present in the cigarette. For example, choose the amount of nicotine you are going to inhale.

This can be an advantage for those who are looking to decrease their addiction, since it is allowed to gradually reduce the dosages of the drug.

In addition, there is less exposure to other substances hazardous to health.

This is because in the electronic cigarette there is no burning of substances that are in the common cigarette, such as tar, acetone, methanol, mercury, formaldehyde, which are proven to be harmful to health.

The electronic process, in fact, is quite different: instead of combustion, the device nebulizes (transforming the liquid into vapor), avoiding the toxic smoke of substances from burning.

However, other substances may appear that also cause harm to the organism.

Among them, carcinogenic substances, which are those with a potential to cause cancer .

Read more: Smoking is the biggest cancer risk factor in men

How does the e-cigarette work?

The electronic cigarette is powered by a battery and simulates an ordinary cigarette, but instead of burning the dangerous substances present in conventional cigarettes, the substances come out in the form of vapor.

The product has a device, similar to a small tank, where the liquid substance to be heated remains. In general, it is composed of water, nicotine (may be without nicotine), propylene glycol (glycerol) and aromas, for flavor.

When the person brings it, that is, sucks the tip, the device is activated and begins to heat the liquid, transforming it into steam. This promotes a simulation of smoking.

In the electronic cigarette there is also a battery and a charger, allowing the product to be recharged.

When all the content present in the reservoir runs out, it is necessary to add more so-called e-liquid. That is, the product has a long service life.

After all, does it help to quit smoking?

Among so many resources to quit smoking like chewing gum, patches and medication, the electronic cigarette can also be seen for some as a treatment option for smoking .

However, this practice has been widely questioned in the health area.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, electronic cigarettes may be the most efficient way to achieve this goal, provided they are properly monitored by specialists.

Pulmonologist Omar Barghouthi says that if the individual is going to use a vaporizer with medical advice, he will consume less and less nicotine until he reduces his addiction.

Made as a smoking cessation protocol, this person’s chance of quitting may be greater.

Still, there are other tactics that can be combined in the fight against smoking. For example:

  • Warn your family about your decision;
  • Start to practice physical activities;
  • Improve your diet;
  • Keep yourself busy with pleasurable activities;
  • Avoid places where you may have people smoking;
  • Avoid using other drugs, such as alcohol.

What is the difference between vaporizer and electronic cigarette?

There is no difference, as both have the same function – to imitate the common cigarette.

What happens is that the name “electronic cigarette” came up before and had its first sample in 1963 in the United States.

But, over time, it became more innovative and technological and 2013 started to become popularly known as “vape”.

That is, the vaporizer is an evolution of the e-cig (electronic cigarette), which can have different formats and more modern activations.

In the past, they simulated a normal cigarette, with a single tube based on the same colors as the conventional ones. With the changes, the vaporizers have varied shapes, with different colors and models.

In addition, with higher technology, vapes can have up to 3 heating systems instead of 1.

That is, vaporizers and electronic cigarettes are basically the same type of device, one is just the evolution of the other.

Can you buy it?

The sale, import and advertising of these products here in Brazil are prohibited by Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency), in accordance with Resolution RDC 46/2009.

However, use is not considered a crime.

According to Anvisa, the marketing of these products is prohibited because they are sold as products that do not pose a health risk and also as a smoking treatment, and none of these claims is proven.

Essence with or without nicotine?

In e-cigs, nicotine is optional, but most liquids to sell have formulations with the substance.

In addition, they are generally similar, containing vegetable glycerin (low toxicity organic compound), propylene glycol and flavorings.

In addition to this group commonly found in e-cigs, on other occasions other materials have been found in the composition.

For example, tin, lead, nickel, nitrosamines and even some considered carcinogenic, which are those agents capable of causing cancer.

Although nicotine is the main substance remembered when it comes to damage to the body, studies show that even essences without nicotine are bad.

That’s because there are a number of other products present in the vapor that generate lung damage.

So, despite being an option among people who want to quit smoking, essences without nicotine are also not safe.

Is electronic cigarette bad for your health?

Yes , despite having a lower concentration of harmful agents, electronic cigarettes cause damage to health due to nicotine and toxic substances present in the composition of the e-liquid.

That’s because nicotine can increase the risk of cardiovascular accidents, miscarriage, heart attacks and other lung damage.

Without forgetting that the substance is addictive.

A survey published at the International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles compared smokers on e-cigs with non-smokers.

From the results, it was possible to see that electronic cigarette users had a 29% higher risk of stroke and 25% more chances of suffering from a heart attack when compared to non-smoking participants.

Read more: Smoking in pregnancy increases the risk of sudden death of the baby

What are the risks of electronic cigarettes?

Most people may think they are inhaling only water vapor, but they are actually inhaling particles of dangerous substances.

The long-term effects of electronic cigarettes are not yet fully understood. But it is known that in e-liquid there are also substances that have a toxic effect.

Therefore, according to the doctor and psychologist Roberto Debski, for presenting nicotine, electronic cigarettes are also potentially addictive and their use should be avoided.

When asked about the treatment of smoking through electronic cigarettes, Debski reported that Anvisa, in a partnership with the National Cancer Institute (INCA), launched a booklet showing that they are not safe.

According to the information, the e-cigs presented cytotoxic, irritating and even carcinogenic substances, or potentially cancer-causing substances.

In addition, in studies, e-cigs present varying levels of nicotine per milliliter, often exceeding the permitted amount.

Dr. Omar Barghouthi, a pulmonologist, points out that:

“The aromatic substances, when heated, will release several other substances with a predictable potential for less harm, however, we cannot rule out that the continued use of these substances does not end up inducing inflammation or even a malignant disease.”

So it is important to be aware of the composition of e-cigs, and pay attention to how to purchase this product.


Electronic cigarettes can be an option for those who want to quit smoking.

However, the device can divide opinions when it comes to the risks that it can generate, so it is important to be aware of the main doubts in the health area .

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