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Electronic cigarettes have only been widely available in the United States since 2010, but they only continue to gain popularity with consumers looking to kick their habit of smoking. The most recent studies of these battery operated products have concluded that they are safer than tobacco products and may eventually become effective smoking cessation devices.
The actual safety of the products can depend on the brand, the amount of nicotine delivered and the method of delivery. Experts are adamant that clinical research still needs to be done to determine any health hazards they pose as well as their effectiveness as smoking cessation products. Many are hesitant about signing off on the safety or effectiveness of these products because they have not been fully checked out or approved by the Food and Drug Administration of the United States.
Potential hazards of using electronic cigarettes include brain damage from the presence of Tetramethylpyrazine, though this is generally found in trace amounts that are not harmful if not consumed for a prolonged period of time. Keep in mind you are at a higher risk of brain damage if you smoke regular cigarettes. It is generally agreed upon that its presence in these products is too small to warrant concern, and again will not pose significant harm if the product is used as directed. There is also the fact that electronic cigarettes come with optional nicotine inclusion. The liquid nicotine used in these products can be harmful if consumed directly and to excess. There are specific recommendations as far as inhalation goes, specifically the length of a drag from one of these cigarettes, which are supposed to prevent poisoning from liquid nicotine. The risk is there if the product is used incorrectly or if it is damaged.
As of now, use of electronic cigarettes is safest when it does not include the optional nicotine component. Granted, this may make weaning off of nicotine containing tobacco products more difficult, but the nicotine in these products poses the highest risk according to information found. Any alternative to tobacco containing products is of course preferable; the electronic cigarettes definitely pose a lower threat to health if used to fully quit smoking.