What is “vaping?” Originally intended for current adult smokers that wished to continue enjoying their nicotine habit at a reduced risk, electronic cigarettes, also known as personal vaporizers or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), are battery-powered vaporizers.

While simulating the feeling of smoking tobacco by utilizing a Propylene Glycol or Vegetable Glycerin based liquid, they are mixed with small amounts of nicotine and food grade flavoring. The vapor created is inhaled and exhaled much like cigarette smoke, hence the term “vaping.”

The solution for these vaporizers are often sold in a bottle or in pre-filled disposable cartridges and are manufactured with various tobacco, fruit, and other flavors, as well as variable nicotine concentrations (including nicotine-free versions) and labeling according to their nicotine concentration.

Most tend to work the same way and include a battery, a heating element, and a cartridge that holds nicotine and other liquids and flavorings. Features and costs can vary, and while some are disposable, others contain rechargeable batteries and refillable cartridges. With an increase of popularity over the last year or so, it’s not hard to come across vaporizers in some form on campus.

The real debate lies in whether the pros outweigh the cons. Obviously, nicotine inside the cartridges is addictive just like it would be in any other form. When you stop using it, you can get withdrawal symptoms such as feeling irritable, depressed, restless and anxious and can be dangerous for people with heart problems. Tests have shown that the levels of dangerous chemicals they give off are a fraction of what you’d get from a real cigarette, but what’s in them can vary.

So, do e-cigarettes makethe problem better or worse?

Some argue that because nicotine is addictive, e-cigarettes could lead to becoming a “gateway drug,” resulting in nonsmokers and kids to use tobacco. There is also the worry about whether this could make smoking popular again, throwing away years of anti-smoking campaigns and rolling back decades of progress in getting people to quit or avoiding it altogether.

Meanwhile, others look at the possible benefits for smokers.

Michael Siegel, a professor at Boston University’s School of Public Health stated recently in an interview, “Obviously, it would be best if smokers could quit completely, but if that’s not possible, I think they’d be a lot better off with e-cigarettes. They’re a safer alternative.”

While replacing cigarettes with vaporizers may have its own risks, it is proven to be safer in some aspects. They are likely to be less harmful to users and bystanders.

Overall, the benefits of this newest fad and innovation include the non-use of tobacco, a cheaper alternative, no second hand smoke, and is completely odorless.

Due to the recent appearance, there’s yet to be a great deal of health research pertaining to the side effects of their use. Common courtesy is another necessary aspect to keep in mind when out in public areas. Whether or not you choose to see E-cigs as a positive or negative, remember to weigh your options carefully.

Megan Wise
Staff Writer

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