It seems like everything has gone electronic these days. Instead of picking up the phone, just send an electronic text message. Who needs to write a traditional snail mail letter when you can shoot someone an email? No need to go to a physical store to purchase an item; just get on and get it sent directly to your house.

It seems like most everything has an electronic alternative, and now so do cigarettes.

E-cigarettes or electronic cigarettes are not new to the smoking scene, but have gained significant popularity recently. Just the other day I saw a photo of a celebrity “smoking” a hot pink e-cigarette. (Thought it was a weird piece of gum at first.)

Simply, e-cigarettes are a smokeless alternative to the traditional cigarette. The plastic device is usually the size of a pen and can come in many different designs, like the aforementioned celebrity pink version.

Instead of traditional tobacco, e-cigarettes release a mist that gives the user the same sensation and flavor of nicotine. The battery powered stick uses heat to make an aerosol, similar to other misting inhalants. E-cigarettes comes in a variety of flavors from traditional nicotine flavor to vanilla or strawberry.

E-cigarettes are highly praised by users. First of all, the user can choose the concentration of the nicotine, ranging from low to extra high. This allows those who are trying to ween themselves off traditional nicotine cigarettes to slowly decrease their nicotine.

The biggest thing e-cigarettes have going is that it does not carry the traditional side effects of smoking. The smokeless device does not have secondhand smoke dangers, awful odor or fire risk. Smokers can still get the feeling and look of smoking a traditional cigarette, but without the outward effects (awful smell, discolored hands and lips, etc.) and internal effects (toxins in your lungs).

It sounds perfect, right?

Many health professionals do not think e-cigarettes are the solution. Health professionals try to debunk the claim that e-cigarettes do not contain harmful toxins. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) tested a variety of e-cigarettes and found that almost all of the devices had levels of carcinogens and toxic chemicals; most alarming toxin found was the main ingredient in anti-freeze.

E-cigarettes boast that you can choose nicotine levels, even down to no nicotine for those who just want the feel of smoking. But even then the FDA found traces of nicotine in devices that promised no nicotine.

While the colors and flavors make this a trendy item, health professionals and parents are concerned that the devices are becoming even more attractive to children. Young children might be more drawn to the e-cigarette because of the flavors. Because of the bright colors and ease of use, a young child might happen upon it. And any dose of nicotine can have severe effects on a young child.

Lastly, no one can prove that using e-cigarettes does not have negative long-term effects. Are you willing to risk it until we find out more?

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