E-cigarettes have entered the news recently, linking them to serious health risks and even death. In this article, I want to focus on two studied health risk factors: the dangers of the heating element found in e-cigarettes and the e-cigarette vaporized liquid ingredients.
Heating Element Dangers
When researchers analyzed the smoke from e-cigarettes, they found toxic metals, including lead, chromium, manganese and nickel. They theorized that these metals enter the smoke by way of the tiny metal coil used in the heating element. To test their theory, scientists analyzed 56 vapers, purchased in the Baltimore area. They found toxic heavy metals in both the smoke and liquid in the e-liquid tank after vaping. The refill liquid did not. They then tested the metal used in the heating element, and found the same metals in the heating coil that they found in the smoke and used e-liquid tank. During testing, they also noted that new heating coils released more heavy metals versus older, used heat coils. The researchers concluded that to their knowledge, all e-cigarettes currently use a metal coil to heat the vape liquid. So there’s no way to avoid exposure to these toxic heavy metal if you smoke e-cigarettes
E-Cigarette Vapor Carrier Agent Dangers
In order to volatilize the flavors and nicotine, e-cigarettes contain a number of carrier agents. The first one, propylene glycol, breaks down when heated into acetic acid, lactic acid and propionaldehyde. These chemicals are toxic to the teeth and gums. They also bind to the water in saliva, which causes dry mouth. Dry mouth has been linked to increased number of cavities and gum disease.
While it doesn’t support cavity producing bacteria, another popular carrier agent, vegetable glycerin, along with the flavorings increases the stickiness of bacterial to the tooth enamel by four times and doubles the formation of plaque. They also found that the enamel strength decreased by 27%. All this increases the possibility of tooth decay.
Finally, the nicotine found in e-cigarettes have been shown to reduce blood flow to the gums, cause changes to the inflammation and immune response in the mouth as well as reduce the normal oral tissue repair rate. All of these factors increase the chance of cavities and gum disease.
Black Market E-Cigarette Called Into Question
Further news coverage has called into question black market marijuana and CBD e-cigarettes, which may contain other toxic chemicals, including cadmium and vitamin e. Both, when volatilized and inhaled can cause serious health risks. Researchers are currently testing other black market e-cigarettes to see if they can find any other possible toxic chemicals which could have caused the recent sicknesses and deaths. Stay tuned for more information to come.
ADA Provide Interim Vaping Policy – December 2019
The American Dental Association (ADA) recently announced a new interim policy (December 2019) surround vaping, which calls for a ban on any vaping product not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for smoking cessation. The policy includes the following advocacy provisions:
1. Through state and or federal regulatory/legal action, only allow the sale of prescription vaping products used for smoking cessation. All other vaping products, including recreation use, must be banned.
2. Encourage research moneys to study the safety of smoking cessation e-cigarette/vaping products and their effectiveness in quitting smoking.
The ADA also passed a resolution that categorizes all alternative nicotine delivery systems (including vaping) to be part of the existing ADA tobacco policy. This policy focuses on use prevention, regulation and research. Ultimately, they want to recognize alternative nicotine delivery systems, the same as cigarette tobacco smoking.
In summary, while people perceive vaping as a healthier alternative to smoking, when compared to smoking, vaping may actually be worse for your oral health than traditional cigarettes. The bottom line: any kind of smoking poses serious health risks.
Category: Oral Health
Tags: e-cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, oral health, tooth decay, carrier agents