E-cigarettes, better for your health than the real thing?

Many students think they’re making a healthier choice by using an e-cigarette rather than a traditional one. But according to the Ontario Research Tobacco Unit (ORTU), it has not been proven whether or not the e-cigarette is the better option.

Electronic cigarettes, more commonly known as e-cigarettes or vapes, were invented by a Chinese pharmacist named Hon Lik. They were introduced to Europe and the United States in 2008 and they arrived in Canada shortly after.

Today, 108,000 students use e-cigarettes, according to a study by ORTU of grade 9 to 12 students in Ontario.

The chemicals in an e-cigarette are less toxic than a tobacco cigarette, but they still contain nicotine and other chemicals that can have an effect on your body, according to the ORTU.

Three generations of the e-cigarettes have been invented since 2008. People often purchase and use e-cigarettes to help quit smoking, but limited success has been proven, according to the OTRU.

The first e-cigarette was known as the “cig-a-like,” it was titled this because of the similarities from a traditional cigarette. It was a bit heavier to hold but contained less nicotine. The more the product was enhanced, the more chemicals were used.

By the third generation, the e-cigarette had almost the same amount of nicotine as a regular tobacco cigarette.

Cigarettes have more than 4,000 chemicals in them, such as carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, nitrogen oxides, and even more. E-cigarettes are almost as bad for the air as polluting aerosols, according to the ORTU.

Although, some people say e-cigarettes are just water vapour, the OTRU says evidences shows that it’s not just water vapour.

“It’s full of thousands of little particles and also heavy metals along with various carcinogens, the same as in cigarettes,” says Roberta Ferrence, Senior Scientific Advisor of ORTU

Flavours of e-cigarettes can be toxic for the body, according the ORTU. Flavours are made out of many different chemicals, and are made in various countries. Therefore, the chemicals inhaled while smoking an e-cigarette enter the body and effect people in ways researchers haven’t even discovered yet.

Many people take up vaping as an alternative way to quit smoking. Other ways to quit smoking include, the nicotine patch, or the famous, Nicorette gum. Researchers say unlike the Nicotine patch and Nicorette, e-cigarettes give people the thing they need most: the behaviour of smoking. Experts say society doesn’t get hooked to the drug alone. Researchers have found out people also become addicted to the behaviour of smoking a cigarette.

According to a study by the ORTU and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the results are inconclusive as to whether e-cigarettes are the best alternative way to quit smoking.

The ORTU won’t have 100 per cent proof of e cigarette risks until further research is done, as it can take 30 to 50 years to understand full health risks.

“We’ve been studying cigarettes for over 100 years and were still learning new things about them to this day,” says Ferrence.