Are E-Cigarettes Safe? What Doctors Think

Just because they’re less toxic than regular cigs doesn’t mean they’re safe.

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Everyone knows cigarettes are toxic and dangerous and cause lung cancer and other types of cancer, but what about e-cigarettes? These devices, also called vapor cigarettes, are marketed as an alternative to smoking because they contain fewer chemicals. E-cigarettes essentially deliver a dose of nicotine through inhaling steam, which users refer to as “vaping.”

So are e-cigarettes safe? Internist Paul Knoepflmacher, MD, admits that e-cigarettes are less toxic than regular cigarettes—but he still doesn’t recommend them.

E-cigarettes still contain known carcinogens, such as formaldehyde. And, of course, someone can easily develop a nicotine addiction if they begin using e-cigs, just as they would with regular cigarettes.

Although vapor cigarettes might be a better alternative to regular cigarettes for those who are already smokers and looking to quit, Dr. Knoepflmacher states that better, safer alternatives exist for attempting to quit smoking. E-cigarettes are a harm reduction, but they are not safe or healthy themselves.

One piece of good news: There is very little risk of secondhand smoke with e-cigarettes. That’s because the vapor in the device is mostly steam, so it dissipates quickly in the air and reduces others’ exposure to chemicals from secondhand smoke.

Still looking for ways to quit? Here are some of the amazing ways your body benefits when you stop smoking cigarettes.