E-Cigarettes & Your Health

By: David M. Matson, DMD

I just read an article published by the Academy of General Dentistry this morning that addresses E-cigarettes which I would like to summarize.

More and more smokers, including adolescents are using electronic cigarettes as an alternative to smoking. “An –cigarette is a battery operated device that converts the liquid chemical propylene glycol, as well as nicotine, flavoring, and other additives, into a vapor that can be inhaled. This is a practice known as ‘vaping’”.

The use of e-cigarettes is on the rise and in 2013 more than a quarter million middle and high school students who had never before smoked conventional cigarettes had used an e-cigarette. This was three times the number of users in 2011.

It has been known for a long time that cigarette smoking can lead to a multitude of health problems as well as dental problems. Gum disease and oral cancer are commonly seen issues in the dental profession. At this time there is not much research on the long term health effects from smoking e-cigarettes. What is known is that if you are smoking e-cigarettes you are inhaling nicotine which is highly addictive and the most common form of chemical dependence in the U.S. Nicotine can harm your teeth and gums and it may also contribute to gingivitis, dry mouth and gum disease among other conditions.

There are other recommended approaches to quitting smoking to include:

  1. Ask your health care professional about nicotine replacement therapy. Nicotine nasal sprays and inhalers are available with a prescription, as are smoking cessation medications like Zyban and Chantix. Patches, gum and lozenges can help with smoking cessation also and area available over the counter.
  2. Reach out for help and support when you try to quit smoking.
  3. Relaxation and exercise can help to reduce your desire for a cigarette.

Over 42 million Americans smoke cigarettes. Many of them want to quit and struggle with trying to do so. E-cigarettes have been promoted as a healthier alternative if that makes sense but it seems that this is really not true. Quitting smoking is difficult and may take more than one try. Don’t give up as it will help you to have a healthier and longer lasting life.

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