HEALTH / WELLNESS

E-Cigarettes – The Fancy Culprits Responsible For Oral Damage That Is At Par With Tobacco Usage

Over the past several years, Electronic Cigarettes have become quite popular as a safer alternative to smoking tobacco filled cigarettes. In fact, the use of this fancy smoking device is more common amongst youths, who counter any discouraging comment with the statement that it is definitely much better than smoking real cigarettes. However, a recent study in the US has given people enough reason to change the mindset about e-cigarettes being a healthier option. According to the research, the Electronic Cigarettes can prove as damaging to the oral health of an individual as the regular cigarettes and have detrimental effects on gum tissues and dental health in general.

What Are Electronic Cigarettes?

Electronic cigarettes are pen like devices that are operated with the help of a battery and contain a heating filament along with a cartridge used for holding a tobacco free liquid solution. Despite the absence of tobacco, these cigarettes do contain nicotine and other chemicals such as propylene glycol along with some flavoring agent. When the users switch the cigarette on, the heating filament causes the liquid solution to produce vapors, which can then be inhaled by the users. This gives then the same sensation and satisfaction as they get from smoking a real cigarette, without exposing them to the health risks associated with tobacco usage.

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Study About The Dangerous Effects Of E-cigarettes

A group study was carried out by Professor Irfan Rahman and his colleagues at the University of Rochester in New York. Professor Rahman, who holds a Ph.D. and teaches environmental medicine at the School of Medicine and Dentistry in the University, was concerned about the limited data available on the effects of vapors produced by Electronic Cigarettes on the oral health of individuals. In a bid to address this issue, the professor and his team carried out a research wherein they exposed the gum tissue of non-smokers to vapor of e-cigarettes having a menthol flavor or a tobacco-flavor. The menthol flavored Electronic Cigarette vapors contained 13-16 mg of nicotine or even no nicotine at all, while the tobacco flavored ones contained 16 mg of nicotine.

The team found out that the exposure to both types of e-cigarette vapor caused damage to cells of gum tissue.  This damage was almost at par with the damage caused by the exposure to the smoke generated from real cigarettes filled with tobacco. The researchers observed that the vapors produced by these fancy smoking devices cause the cells to release inflammatory proteins. These proteins increase the stress level within the cells leading to extensive damage that might in turn become a reason for various oral issues. While nicotine is known to be a major cause of ailments affecting the teeth and gums, the researchers found that the flavoring used in the Electronic Cigarettes helped enhance the effects of cell damage caused by its vapors, with the menthol flavor proving to be the most harmful of all.

The Final Verdict

The idea of using e-cigarettes for avoiding the effects of smoking tobacco is not actually quite successful. Even though the cumulative effects of cell damage caused by the vapor produced by Electronic Cigarettes are still not known, the above findings surely are cause of great concern. This is especially in view of the fact that the use of Electronic Cigarettes amongst the youth has increased by almost 14.5 percent over the past five years. According to the data supplied by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of high-school students using these devices has risen to 16 % in 2016 from a mere 1.5% in 2011.  While further research to know about the long-term effects of using these devices is still required, the recent study surely indicates that it is not safe at least for the oral health of an individual.

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