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The detrimental effects of regular cigarettes are well documented. Their nicotine and tar content, not to mention the presence of many other harmful chemicals, means that cigarettes are responsible for one in every five deaths in the United States, not to mention one in every three cancer-related deaths. On top of this, cigarettes also accelerate aging visually, damaging skin, hair and harming essentially every organ in the body.But what about electronic cigarettes? Do they have the same effects?
Electronic cigarettes are a more complex form of cigarette which do not use tobacco and do not produce smoke, instead releasing an odorless water vapor. There are certainly advantages of the electronic cigarette over regular cigarettes, the foremost being that second-hand smoke is no longer an issue. But the heat of the smoke is only a minor issue in the aging effects of smoking, potentially contributing to premature wrinkling. Most of the aging effects of smoking are caused by the chemicals in cigarettes - and electronic cigarettes.
The reason for premature aging of skin and hair in smokers is the nicotine content in cigarettes. Nicotine constricts veins, meaning less blood reaches extremities such as skin and hair follicles. This means skin and hair are not receiving the essential nutrients and oxygen they require to stay healthy, resulting in more rapid decline. Nicotine will cause skin to sag and wrinkle prematurely, hair to become thin and brittle, and give an overall effect of premature aging. Since electronic cigarettes contain a high quantity of nicotine, electronic cigarettes also cause premature aging.
The other negative side effects of cigarettes are still present in electronic cigarettes too. Nicotine increases heart rate and blood pressure and alters mood, and is the addictive property which causes people to become dependent on cigarettes. This addictive quality is still found in electronic cigarettes, as well as the link to high blood pressure and heart disease.
One of the proclaimed benefits of electronic cigarettes is that they do not contain tobacco, one of the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes, which has carcinogenic properties and is particularly responsible for causing oral cancer. Tobacco also has addictive properties, so electronic cigarettes are advertised as a positive alternative. However, although electronic cigarettes do not contain tobacco, they still have carcinogenic chemicals which can be dangerous to health. A number of nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic chemicals present in tobacco, are also present in electronic cigarettes, along with a number of other harmful chemicals.
Electronic cigarettes still have properties which cause cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease and other negative effects on health along with nicotine, which causes premature aging in the same way as regular cigarettes. This means that they are certainly damaging to health and physical appearance, although harmful chemicals may be found in smaller quantities.
More studies need to be done to identify just how harmful electronic cigarettes are to health and aging, but it seems like many of the dangerous properties still remain. Electronic cigarettes might be less detrimental to personal appearance in that stains on teeth, skin and nails are not as prominent, and smoke in hair and clothing is not an issue. However, even the simple act of smoking can accelerate wrinkling, with the continual pursing and sucking of the lips causing wrinkles in smokers of regular or electronic cigarettes.
Electronic cigarettes might be a better alternative than regular cigarettes, but they still have the same aging effects, as well as other negative health effects. Smokers who switch to electronic cigarettes still run many of the same risks as cigarette smokers.