I have been a user of e-cigarettes for almost a year and I'd like to set the record straight on a couple of points.
First quote: "Cigarettes have more than 4,000 chemicals. E-cigarettes, Peterson says, have only four."
It is incorrect wording to say that there are only 4 chemicals in e-cigarette vapor, even if the general idea being made is mostely true. A more accurate statement would be to say that are generally only 4 ingredients in the liquid that creates the vapor in e-cigarettes. Vegetable glycerin (VG), propylene glycol (PG), food grade flavorings, and pharmaceutical grade nicotine. Also, nicotine is optional, and there is liquid available that is nicotine free for those that wish to use the e-cigarette for the habitual aspects and flavor only.
All of these ingredients have been approved for use by the FDA independently and are generally considered safe, with the exception of nicotine. The studies conducted by the FDA on the effects of nicotine so far have only been related to nicotine consumed using combustible tobacco products, so their data is inaccurate and misleading at best. Their only published study directly related to the compounds found in e-cigarette vapor, which claims the presence of certain "toxins" usually found in traditional cigarette smoke, failed to mention that the levels of those chemicals were well within the safety level for human consumption.
Second quote: "Though customers swear by e-cigarettes, they have not yet been proven to actually help people quit smoking. The FDA says because research continues, customers have no way to how safe they are or how much nicotine and other chemicals they are inhaling."
Most users of e-cigarettes with whom I interact do no view electronic cigarettes as a cessation method, but rather an alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. This is what is considered "Tobacco Harm Reduction", and we all generally understand that no product is 100% harmless. It's also worth noting that nobody has published a peer reviewed study that shows that e-cigarette vapor poses any long term health risks to the actual user of the device, or that the exhaled vapor by the user contains anything that would harm non-users in any way at all.
In conclusion, e-cigarettes have been shown to have a greater success rate for keeping people from smoking traditional cigarettes. This is what ultimately matters to anyone who currently smokes, has smoked, or has a loved one who smokes. Or, at least, it should be what matters.
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