The electronic cigarette or e-cig first became available in the U.S. in 2007 and was immediately marketed as a safer alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes. These marketing efforts were fairly successful as indeed, most users perceive e-cigs to be a “safer” cigarette. The main difference between e-cigs and conventional cigarettes is that e-cigs do not contain tobacco, although they do contain nicotine, which is harmful to the body and known to be both toxic and addictive.
The truth is there is no definitive scientific evidence to support the safety of e-cigs and in fact, chemicals identified in e-cig vapors including metals and compounds shown to be carcinogenic including propylene glycol, formaldehyde, nickel, lead and many others. Inhaling the vaporized nicotine of e-cigs exposes these known carcinogens to the oral cavity and periodontal tissues. In addition, some of the more common known side effects caused by nicotine use include mouth sores, blisters, nausea or vomiting and a sore throat. Although less common, nicotine use can also contribute to mouth, tooth, jaw and neck pain along with myriad other problems with your teeth.
Given the lack of extensive and definitive scientific data, we cannot endorse or condone the use of e-cigs and certainly do not assess them to be a safe cigarette. Users should be aware that while they appear to carry less risk than traditional tobacco cigarettes, the nicotine alone can still cause considerable problems for your oral and general health. If you have further questions, you should talk to your doctor and dentist.
For more information, you should also visit www.mouthhealthy.org.