Are Electronic Cigarettes Safe: 10 Tips on Quitting Smoking

Are electronic cigarettes safe, can you use them to quit smoking, or to just be healthier? You can find out everything you want to know right here.

In recent years, E-cigs or electronic cigarettes have grown increasingly popular in the western world. They have been claimed to help smokers quit, cut down on chemicals and offer a more sustainable approach to smoking. There’s no doubt that less cigarette butts on the streets and in the landfills is a great idea, but are E-cigs all they’re cracked up to be?

What are e-cigs?

kit for healthy smoking on old wooden plank

Wikipedia describes electronic cigarettes as a “battery-powered vaporizer, which has a similar feel to tobacco smoking. Electronic cigarettes do not contain tobacco, although they do use nicotine from tobacco plants. They do not produce cigarette smoke but rather an aerosol, which is frequently but inaccurately referred to as vapor.

In general, they have a heating element that atomizes a liquid solution known as e-liquid. E-liquids are usually a mixture of propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine, and flavorings. Others have similar ingredients but without nicotine.”

Are electronic cigarettes less expensive than traditional cigarettes?

For some, the appeal of switching to electronic cigarettes is the money they will save. With a pack of cigarettes averaging about $7 in the United States, an avid pack-a-day smoker would be spending $49 a week on cigarettes. That’s about $2,400 a year! Even if you only smoke about half a pack a day that’s still $1,200 a year.

This amount also doesn’t take into account the cost of lighters and tooth care. Smoking is quite an expensive addiction! So, what is the average amount a person will spend on electronic cigarettes? Well, it depends on how large the liquid cartridge is and how much the specific brand costs of course, but in general one e-cig lasts about one day depending on how much you smoke.

So, you would need about 365 e-cigs a year. The average annual cost of buying this many electronic cigarettes is around $900. So, you could save at least $300 a year switching to electronic cigarettes.

Are electronic cigarettes safer than traditional cigarettes?

Black and white desaturated which has the concept of choosing the type of cigarette

They are safer for the environment. E-cigs use cartridges that can be replaced or refilled, so they do not pose as much threat on the environment. However, whether or not these new age cigarettes are better for the health of smokers is still in debate.

Of course, not all E-cigs are created equal. Some have just as many chemicals as traditional cigarettes and some have far less chemicals. If you are thinking of trying E-cigarettes to benefit from having less additives, then it is best to do your research to find a satisfactory brand.

One popular brand is Blu Cigs. The ingredients in their cartridges are: Nicotine (when applicable), Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerin, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Distilled Water. That is far less ingredients than traditional cigarettes.

Lung explains that “There are approximately 600 ingredients in cigarettes.When burned, they create more than 7,000 chemicals. At least 69 of these chemicals are known to cause cancer, and many are poisonous. Many of these chemicals are also found in consumer products, but these products have warning labels. While the public is warned about the danger of the poisons in these products, there is no such warning for the toxins in tobacco smoke.”

Lung also provides the following list of some of the chemicals found in tobacco smoke:

  • Acetone – found in nail polish remover
  • Acetic Acid –  an ingredient in hair dye
  • Ammonia – a common household cleaner
  • Arsenic – used in rat poison
  • Benzene – found in rubber cement
  • Butane – used in lighter fluid
  • Cadmium – active component in battery acid
  • Carbon Monoxide – released in car exhaust fumes
  • Formaldehyde – embalming fluid
  • Hexamine – found in barbecue lighter fluid
  • Lead – used in batteries
  • Naphthalene – an ingredient in moth balls
  • Methanol – a main component in rocket fuel
  • Nicotine – used as insecticide
  • Tar – material for paving roads
  • Toluene – used to manufacture paint

From the looks of it, electronic cigarettes are the better choice if you are looking to inhale and exhale fewer chemicals, but sufficient research has not been done to support these claims.

Even with fewer chemicals, electronic cigarettes still contain one very powerful ingredient: nicotine.

What is nicotine?

Nicotine is found in tobacco plants. It is a natural insecticide of the plant to ward off insects from eating its leaves.

Unfortunately for humans, what benefits the tobacco plant does not benefit us. It is highly addictive with most smokers claiming to have been hooked after their first cigarette. Like other drugs, getting off nicotine is extremely difficult. There are many serious withdrawal symptoms that people experience when trying to quit.

WebMD provides this comprehensive list of nicotine withdrawal symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Falling heart rate and blood pressure
  • Fatigue, drowsiness, and insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Increased hunger and caloric intake
  • Increased desire for the taste of sweets
  • Tobacco cravings

As for coping with these symptoms, here is a chart from Helpguide:

Symptom and duration

  • Craving for cigarette(Most intense during first week but can linger for months)
  • Irritability, impatience(Two to four weeks)
  • Insomnia(Two to four weeks)
  • Fatigue(Two to four weeks)
  • Lack of concentration(A few weeks)
  • Hunger(Several weeks or longer)
  • Coughing, dry throat, nasal drip(Several weeks)
  • Constipation, gas(One to two weeks)


  • Wait out the urge; distract yourself; take a brisk walk.
  • Exercise; take hot baths; use relaxation techniques; avoid caffeine.
  • Avoid caffeine after 6 p.m.; use relaxation techniques; exercise; plan activities (such as reading) when sleep is difficult.
  • Take naps; do not push yourself.
  • Reduce workload; avoid stress.
  • Drink water or low-calorie drinks; eat low-calorie snacks.
  • Drink plenty of fluids; use cough drops.
  • Drink plenty of fluids; add fiber to diet; exercise.

Can electronic cigarettes help people who want to quit?

fashion woman with e-cigarette in outdoor

The addiction smokers have to cigarettes is caused partly by the chemicals, but mostly by the nicotine. And now you know that e-cigarettes still contain nicotine. In fact, studies have shown that electronic cigarettes actually make it harder for people to quit because they feel more comfortable smoking in areas where they cannot smoke regular cigarettes such as in their houses, in offices or in bars.

Electronic cigarettes can actually make smoking more accessible! It should also be noted that, contrary to popular belief, it is not safe to smoke electronic cigarettes inside. The chemicals exhaled from e-cig “smoke” are still harmful to the environment and the lungs of non-smokers.

Are electronic cigarettes safe if they don’t contain nicotine?

Some electronic cigarette manufacturers produce mixtures without nicotine. They are simply flavored liquids. The biggest part that makes smoking addictive is the act associated with smoking. It is the thing you do after you eat, when you first get in the car, a social circle at parties and a motion of hand-to-mouth coordination.

When trying to quit, these events during the day all become triggers. After you finish eating you are triggered to want a cigarette because that’s what you always do. When you hop in your car after work you are triggered to crave a cigarette. When you go to a party you get a strange sneaking feeling to migrate outside for a cigarette. All these occurrences make it harder and harder to quit.

Electronic cigarettes without the nicotine may be a way to get over your addiction by still taking part in the act of smoking while not actually getting any nicotine. After some time you may find that the triggers throughout the day become less strong because there is no nicotine rush “reward” after you smoke a nicotine free e-cig.

Some brands also offer electronic cigarette liquids with low nicotine that claim to help smokers slowly get off their dependency. Some people claim to suffer less from withdrawal symptoms using this method.

Other than switching to electronic cigarettes, how can I quit smoking?

Cigarette butt impaled on calendar

If after learning more about E-cigs you’ve decided to go a different way on your journey to freedom from cigarettes, here are some other recipes for success with quitting.

1. Get rid of the nicotine

Whether you smoke traditional cigarettes or E-cigs, if you want to quit, you’ve got to throw out the nicotine. If you can’t reach for them then you can’t grab them.

2. Stray away from triggers

If you know you smoke more when you drink alcohol or when you have coffee, then try to drink less alcohol and coffee. It may seem impossible to give up so much, but just imagine how much faster your body will recover having given up so many intoxicants at once! Your body will love and thank you.

3. Find a new oral fixation

Don’t take this the wrong way. We’re not suggesting you go try a new drug or anything, but a new oral fixation may help you relax your cravings. Lollipops, regular chewing gum or always having a water bottle on you are great ways to keep your mouth occupied.

4. Exercise, exercise, exercise

Female fitness model running outdoors

Exercise is a good step in a healthy direction. When quitting, you may find that your concentration is a bit off. Concentrating on a new, healthy exercise addiction will help you kick your nicotine addiction to curb by speeding up your body’s process of naturally releasing toxins.

5. Drink plenty of water

Headaches, constipation and hunger are just some of the withdrawal symptoms you may face when quitting. Drinking water will help relieve headaches and constipation as well as reduce hunger pains.

6. Change your routine

If you always go to the same coffee shop in the morning, take the same route to work or eat the same thing for lunch every day, changing up your routine may help to confuse your triggers. You’re starting a new smoke free life. So, changing your surroundings will make that seem more real.

7. Be your own personal chef

Hunger kicks in. It is going to become a powerful demon haunting you everywhere you go. A lot of people experience weight gain when quitting and some people say that they are so afraid to gain weight that they will not try to quit. Don’t let it hinder your success. Be proactive!

Smoking kills your taste buds. You will find that a short time after quitting, food seems to taste better. What a marvelous thing! Experiment with learning how to cook healthy foods to nourish your body.

8. Set the date

Like many other important days of your life, they come with planning. Quitting smoking should be treated the same way. Set a date one or two weeks away. Use that time to reflect upon why you are quitting, be conscious of how many cigarettes you are smoking and how much money you actually spend on them every week. The preparation time will help prepare you for your journey to recovery.

9. Reinvent the smoke break

You may be used to taking smoke breaks every few hours throughout your work day. You may find that you get an urge to just get up and do something. Be prepared for this urge and come up with a few things you can do for mini breaks throughout the day. Go for a walk, grab a snack and go outside to eat it, meet up with a coworker to have a quick chat… anything!

10. Seek professional help

If you feel as though you have tried everything and you still cannot quit, you are not alone. Many people find it hard to quit and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s wonderful that you are trying to change your life in a positive way! Join a support group, talk to your doctor and weigh your options. There is so much help available which is yours for the taking.

We hope that you have learned everything you needed to know about electronic cigarettes from this article. Whatever your situation is, we hope that you will make informed decisions on what you put inside your body. If you do choose to switch over from traditional cigarettes to electronic cigarettes, choose a reputable brand.

If you are trying to quit altogether, we wish you the best of luck and success in your journey to freedom from nicotine.

Please let us know about your thoughts about electronic cigarettes in the comments below and don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family on your favorite social media platform.

About the author


Lauren is a writer and painter. When she's not painting or writing, she enjoys cooking, exercising, playing music, singing, and getting lost on YouTube for hours on end.

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