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Just about everyone knows how damaging cigarettes are to our health. Piles of scientific research proves smoking cigarettes contributes to declining health and significantly increases oral cancer risks, especially in men. Now there’s a relatively new culprit on the scene using catchy advertising and claims that you can satisfy your urge to smoke with a bit of harmless vapor. These are e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are promoted as a “safe” alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes because they do not contain the same mix of chemicals and tobacco from conventional cigarettes. Little research is available to demonstrate the truth of these claims that e-cigarettes are harmless or should be promoted as a safe alternative to smoking tobacco. Since the jury is still out, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is sponsoring research to see what the effects of smoking e-cigarettes are and how they affect teeth, gums and oral tissues.

What’s Inside an E-Cigarette?

An e-cigarette is battery-operated and often looks like a traditional cigarette, or a cigarette holder. E-cigarettes contain some of the same toxic chemicals as regular cigarettes, and drugs like nicotine, but without tobacco. Propylene glycol usually creates the vapor when an e-cigarette is “smoked.” Currently, the FDA considers propylene glycol safe for human consumption despite reports showing it may cause mouth and throat irritation. Many chemical additives in e-cigarettes are used to make “vaping” or the smoking process more enjoyable and realistic for those who use them.

Are E-Cigarettes Harmless?

The American Dental Association (ADA) states: “It is ‘virtually impossible’ to justify claims that smokeless tobacco and such newer generation products as electronic cigarettes and hookah tobacco ‘are somehow less harmful to the oral cavity than combustible tobacco products or without other adverse effects.’”
The National Institute on Drug Abuse also says: “Testing of some e-cigarette products found the vapor to contain known carcinogens and toxic chemicals (such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde), as well as potentially toxic metal nano-particles from the vaporizing mechanism.”

Therefore, the Case Dental Group takes the same position on e-cigarettes as it does with smoking and chewing tobacco. We all have the freedom to choose what we put into our bodies, but it’s sobering to consider that e-cigarettes contain many of the same chemicals and irritants found in tobacco cigarettes. These chemicals are known to cause mouth and throat irritation and may contribute to gum disease, gum recession, tooth loss, oral cancer and even death. It’s better to breathe easy by avoiding e-cigarettes or tobacco products all together! The friendly dentists at our Elk Grove dental office want to remind you that oral cancer screenings are included in all dental check-ups so we can do our part to keep you as healthy as possible!

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