Healthcare Technology Featured Article

September 11, 2013

How Do Electronic Cigarettes Work?

Cigarettes and tobacco are everywhere in our society. There are smokers in every community and for every lifestyle. Cigarettes are being smoked everywhere from street corners to movie screens.

We're all aware of the health dangers of chewing and smoking tobacco, and still there are people of every walk of life with a cigarette addiction. If you're one of those smokers and you're looking for a healthier alternative that will still curb your craving, electronic cigarettes could be the answer for you.

A short history of electric cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes haven't been around very long at all, yet you can ask just about anyone and they've almost certainly heard of them. The first e-cigarette was made in the 1960s, but it wasn't actually manufactured and put on the market until around 2005.

In the brief time they've been around, the legality of e-cigarettes has been questioned, and but the product has ultimately found plenty of users in the US and across Europe.

An electronic cigarette looks just like a regular cigarette and delivers the same amount of nicotine. Instead of burning tobacco, paper, and chemicals, it uses moist, heated air to deliver the vapors. Electronic cigarettes consist of a rechargeable battery, a vaporization chamber, and a filter. They are smoked exactly like a traditional tobacco cigarette, but without the necessity of lighting a fire.

So who's using electronic cigarettes? About 20 percent of adults have tried one, and most of the people who use them regularly are smokers who are not ready to quit smoking completely but are looking for ways to cut down on the negative effects.

One of the hardest parts of quitting smoking is ridding yourself of the habit of simply having a cigarette in your hand – the physical act of smoking. E-cigarettes preserve that activity and provide you with the nicotine you crave. Although smoking e-cigarettes doesn't mean you've quit smoking entirely, you're still on the right path and easing off tobacco with e-cigarettes.

Electronic cigarettes vs. regular tobacco cigarettes

Although they aren't without their own risks, e-cigarettes are reasonable alternatives to other tobacco products. Because nothing is burning in an electronic cigarette, they cut down significantly on the smell that accompanies normal cigarettes, and have about the same health effects as a nicotine patch.

Still, it's important to remember that because e-cigarettes are putting nicotine into your body, they can still be addictive, and therefore come with the danger of being habit-forming. The other downside of electronic cigarettes is when non-smokers take them up because of their reputation of being healthier than cigarettes and they don't expect to become addicted.

They can be a good option if you already have a nicotine addiction. Because they're also marketed as a healthier alternative, some have expressed a fear that they might appeal to children, though studies have shown that e-cigarette use among young people is low, and most e-cigarette smokers previously smoked tobacco and are currently using electronic cigarettes on a path to quitting entirely.

If you're a smoker and you're looking to make the switch to electronic cigarettes, there are many places you can find them. In just the relatively short time that e-cigarettes have been on the market, they've grown in popularity worldwide and are now sold online and in places like drug stores and convenience stores alongside regular cigarettes.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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