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Arvind Bansal, MD, FCCP, Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine:
An electronic cigarette is a battery-operated device, which heats up a liquid that contains nicotine, among other substances, and forms a vapor that the consumer inhales. There is a vapor produced, actually it's more of an aerosol, which has fine particles that are in organic compounds. The propellant that is in there, when it gets heated up, it can form into potentially cancer-causing chemicals. When it goes into the body when people inhale it, it can cause inflammation in the lungs.
We have a lot of cases of what you call chronic bronchitis, which is inflammation in the lung causing cough and sputum production. There are cases of some unusual pneumonias that have happened in people. More recently, there is a rash of cases of acute lung injury which have happened in the United States. A number of deaths, even in younger people as young as 25, has really put this into focus as a national emergency to keep it controlled.
In my mind, there is no safe cigarette. There is no safe vaping product. There is no safe tobacco product. The earlier you quit, the better it is. Just as for regular cigarettes, the same goes for vaping or any other commercial products that are out there.
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