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Little-known Facts About E-cigarettes

Despite our growing knowledge that smoking tobacco is bad for us more than 8 million Australians have tried smoking at least once in their life and 3.1 million are currently cigarette smokers. Smoking cigarettes is known to cause damage to every organ in your body, and smoking-related illnesses are responsible for 14,900 deaths in Australia [source: Better Health AU]. But nearly 70 percent of smokers report they want to quit, and a little more than 42 percent say they’ve tried to quit during the past year. In 2013 there was a 10 percent decrease in cigarette sales in the Australia and while that directly followed an increase in the cigarette tax, it’s not only price that’s changing the habits of Australian smokers. Electronic cigarettes (known also as e-cigarettes) have also contributed. Global sales of smokeless tobacco products, including smokeless inhalers, has grown to nearly $3 billion — and continues to grow. In an attempt to quit the tobacco habit as many as one-fifth of smokers have tried e-cigarettes [source: Ross].

Where did e-cigarettes come from?

E-cigarettes were first developed in China and were introduced to the Australian market in 2009. Many are similar enough in appearance to be mistaken for regular tobacco cigarettes. But one look inside and you’ll see the main difference: This is a tobacco-free product. E-cigs are actually vaporizers; instead of burning tobacco, the mechanism heats up a liquid. The liquid turns into vapor, which is then inhaled, or “vaped.” While some argue that vapor offers health advantages over traditional cigarette smoke, regulatory agencies and some health experts aren’t so sure that’s true. Before you consider taking up the e-cigarette habit, read on to get the facts.

How E-Cigarettes Work

They look like the real thing. The end glows as you inhale. As you exhale, you puff out a cloud of what looks like smoke. It’s vapor, similar to the fog you might see at rock shows, says M. Brad Drummond, MD. He’s an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

All e-cigarettes work basically the same way. Inside, there’s a battery, a heating element, and a cartridge that holds nicotine and other liquids and flavorings. Features and costs vary. Some are disposable. Others have a rechargeable battery and refillable cartridges. Using an e-cigarette is called “vaping.”

Are They Safe?

The nicotine inside the cartridges is addictive. When you stop using it, you can get withdrawal symptoms including feeling irritable, depressed, restless and anxious. It can be dangerous for people with heart problems. It may also harm your arteries over time.

So far, evidence suggests that e-cigarettes may be safer than regular cigarettes. The biggest danger from tobacco is the smoke, and e-cigarettes don’t burn. Tests show the levels of dangerous chemicals they give off are a fraction of what you’d get from a real cigarette. But what’s in them can vary.

“E-cigarettes may be less harmful than cigarettes,” Drummond says. “But we still don’t know enough about their long-term risks or the effects of secondhand exposure.”

Pro and Con

E-cigarettes have triggered a fierce debate among health experts who share the same goal — reducing the disease and death caused by tobacco. But they disagree about whether e-cigarettes make the problem better or worse.

Opponents say that because nicotine is addictive, e-cigarettes could be a “gateway drug,” leading nonsmokers and kids to use tobacco. They also worry that manufacturers — with huge advertising budgets and celebrity endorsements — could make smoking popular again. That would roll back decades of progress in getting people to quit or never start smoking.

Others look at possible benefits for smokers. “Obviously, it would be best if smokers could quit completely,” says Michael Siegel, MD, MPH, a professor at Boston University’s School of Public Health. “But if that’s not possible, I think they’d be a lot better off with e-cigarettes. They’re a safer alternative.”

Siegel compares replacing tobacco with e-cigarettes to heroin users switching to the painkiller methadone. The replacement may have its own risks, but it’s safer.

Some supporters believe that e-cigarettes could help people quit, just like nicotine gum. Research hasn’t shown that yet, though.

 

What Physical Pains Are Associated with Smoking Cessation?

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Most people who smoke want to learn how to stop, but many are afraid that it will be a painful process.  Unfortunately their fears are correct: quitting smoking doesn’t feel good.

Nearly everyone is familiar with the saying “no pain no gain” and this phrase rings true of smoking cessation. Quitting smoking often engenders a litany of side effects as the body heals from the constant barrage of chemicals and toxins from cigarettes.

[Read more…]

Smoking and Fire Safety

One of the potentially fatal side effects of smoking that people often forget to discuss is the risk of fire. Thousands of people across the globe are killed or badly injured each year in smoking-related fires. According to the National Fire Protection Agency in the United States, cigarettes and smoking paraphernalia like matches and lighters are “the number one cause of civilian fire deaths.” This is just another example of how much destruction smoking and cause outside of the smoker’s physical body.

Most cigarette-induce fires start when a smoker has fallen asleep without putting out his or her cigarette. This usually happens in a bed, chair or some other comfortable place in the home and this is especially dangerous because fires in these areas spread rapidly and make it difficult for people in the house to escape or for fire workers to rescue them. Smoking fires can also occur when people thrown matches away that are still embers or other misuse and mishandling of smoking materials and supplies.

One of the most devastating aspects of cigarette-induced fires is the fact that they often rip families apart by way of death. Children perish, mothers perish, father perish—any combination of family members and their friends can die in a fire caused by smoking and the pain for the survivors can be excruciating. Imagine that you are a smoker who has caused a home fire that took the lives of your two children—but you survived. If there is any kind of accident that should never happen, that never need happen, it is a smoking fire.

While many disaster prevention agencies list ways that you can fire-proof your home or smoking habits (fire-safe cigarettes, deep ash trays, ash trays with sand), we would rather take the opportunity to point out that the risks associated with smoking provide a good opportunity for you to consider quitting your tobacco habit all together. If you make the decision to throw away your last pack of cigarettes for good, then worrying about starting a fire while you smoke will fade away into the past along with all your other smoking memories. Of course, no matter how preventative you are, accidents can always happen. That is just a fact of life. But taking the measures to protect yourself are invaluable, especially when more lives than your own are at stake. The risk of cigarette-induced fires and the devastations they cause should give you enough incentive to kick your tobacco habit and start on a new path towards health and happiness!

Smoking and Bone Health

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Most people associate the harms of smoking with lung damage and cancer, but the tobacco habit’s negative effects on your health go much deeper—did you know that smoking can also damage your bones? The bones are rigid organs that protect the rest of your body, provide your body with structure, and allow movement. Damaging your bones means damaging our ability to move and take part in activities. Let’s take a look at some of the ways smoking harms your bones in order to keep you alert to the harsh reality of how dangerous the tobacco habit really is.

Smoking wreaks havoc on your hormonal system which in turn wreaks havoc on your bones. Your bones need hormone balance in order to stay strong and the hormone imbalances caused by smoking cause the liver to produce hormone destroying enzymes (for example to balance estrogen levels) and this leads to bone loss—these enzymes damage the bones.

Another way that smoking damages the bones is by way of the generation of free radicals. Smoking infuses the body with an overload of harmful free radicals that kill osteoblasts which are the cells that make bones. People commonly make the mistake of misunderstanding that bones are constantly growing and continuous nourishment.  Disrupting the bone growth and nourishment process by damaging and killing osteoblasts can lead to increased risk of fractures and osteoporosis.

Second hand smoke can be just as damaging to the bones of non smokers. It is especially vital to zone in on the damages of second hand smoke because many second hand smokers are children and they are in crucial bone development stages. Being around tobacco smoke can seriously hamper their ability to grow the strong bones they need for a healthy adulthood.

One good reason to put out that last cigarette is your bone health. Unlike many of the other damages the body incurs from smoking, healing the damage done to bones is a very slow process and some of the damage may even be irreversible. Bone density is not something that you can improve in  a week with calcium supplements.

Smoking is abusive to your body. There is nothing about the habit that is good and nothing about it that is healthy. No matter how good you think cigarettes make you feel, they are really destroying you from the inside out. From your bones to your lungs, cigarettes are contributing to a shorter, less enjoyable life. If you are a regular smoker then it is time for you to seriously consider getting rid of your tobacco habit for good.

About Liver Disease


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Liver disease is an umbrella term for the wide-ranging number of disorders that can affect the liver. Hepatitis, Cirrhosis, Cancer, and Gilbert’s syndrome are just a few of the diseases that can hinder your liver’s ability to properly process and regulate the toxins in your body. Liver problems are often hereditary, but they can also occur as a result of viruses and chemicals over a long period of time. Liver problems can be temporary or permanent depending on the ailment.

The liver’s main function is detoxification of the blood and protein synthesis. It is a vital organ as it is responsible for cleansing toxins. Skin discoloration, abdominal swelling, nausea, dark or bloody urine, and fatigue are all signs that something is wrong with the liver and indicate that it is not processing the toxins in your body as it should. Here are some of the risk factors that contribute to the development of these symptoms and the liver diseases that they indicate:

· Smoking: The toxins produced by smoking tobacco make your liver work overtime.

· Excessive alcohol consumption: Similar to tobacco smoke, the liver must cleanse your blood form high alcohol contents, and over time this can damage your liver and impede your body’s ability to cleanse toxins.

· Intravenous drug use: Intravenous drug use both infuses your body with toxins and heightens your risk for contracting liver damaging diseases like hepatitis.

· Tattoos: Tattoos that are done with needles that are not properly cleaned can lead to the same problems as intravenous drug use.

· Unprotected sex: not practicing safe sex can also lead to contracting hepatitis.

· Exposure to chemicals and toxins: Chemicals and toxins can invade your body over time, especially if you work in the mining industry or used to work with products that contained led.

As you can see, aside from regular health problems, liver disease risk factors run the gamut of unhealthy habits related to sex, drugs and alcohol. Staying away from addictive behaviors and unhealthy habits will decrease your chances of developing liver disease and help you to keep your body’s system of regulating and cleansing toxins in order so that you can enjoy a higher quality of life. You can’t control your biological predisposition to contracting liver disease, but you can control the habits that facilitate you consciously putting liver damaging toxins into your body. You only have one liver, and it is important that you treat it well.

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