Electronic cigarette, the hidden enemy

It is not by inhaling an electronic cigarette that the smoker should be calm. After reviewing more than 90 scientific articles on the possible effects of this device. More precisely, they say that “the use of electronic cigarettes continues to be a source of exposure to substances with carcinogenic potential, it promotes cell damage, affects the normal immune response and, in high doses, the normal development of fetuses” .

They claim to alter epigenetic processes in the body, which means that the smoker’s DNA molecule is destabilized by environmental factors, generating changes in the way genes that fulfill specific functions are expressed. That gene expression is transformed if I, for example, am exposed to the vapor of the electronic cigarette, live in a polluted place or if I have a bad diet. Genes that should not be active under normal conditions are activated or those that should be active are suppressed, some of which are associated with genetic instability, which could lead to cancer. That would explain, for example, why some people, having certain lifestyles, are more susceptible to certain diseases

A journey inside the electronic cigarette

Electronic cigarettes are devices “that heat a liquid solution to create vapor, which is inhaled by users,” according to the Ministry of Health and Social Protection.
Among the main ingredients that consumers ‘vape’ is propylene glycol, the inhalation of which at high temperatures can irritate the eyes and throat, and affect the airways. Most solutions also contain glycerol, which can develop different lung diseases, nicotine, an addictive substance that increases the risk of cardiovascular, respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases, and flavoring flavors, which apparently are not so harmless.

In the food industry some foods may contain propylene glycol and glycerol, which is approved. But ingesting them is not the same as inhaling them. In one of the articles we reviewed, these compounds are the type of diluent that causes some damage at the immune and inflammatory level. To this is added that when we add the strawberry flavor, in the vaporization of the flavoring the compounds change and different reagents are generated, which will also be harmful. Then, when the process is changed, and it is no longer about ingesting but about inhaling, combustion also changes all those compounds that electronic cigarettes have and generate consequences such as irritation of the respiratory tract.

The idea to produce this type of cigarettes comes from the decade of the sixties. But it was only until 2003 that Hon Lik, a Chinese pharmacist, a smoker since childhood and with the firm desire to quit, turned that dream into a reality and commercialized the product. Since then there have been at least four generations of devices with increasingly refined technologies

If one checks the packaging, he will hardly find a label that mentions the ingredients that the smoker is inhaling. In an electronic cigarette there may be acidic compounds, alcohols, solvents, heterocyclics.Many of these substances that are generated in the vaporization process are harmful to health, such as methanols and benzaldehydes. They are a wide range of compounds that are known to be harmful to health.Further studies are lacking, but the conclusion is that these compounds would predispose to diseases associated with the inflammatory response, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, diseases of the immune system, allergies and cancer.


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