About this Research Topic
The electronic cigarette (ECIG) phenomenon has taken a strong foothold in twenty-first century culture and is most likely is here to stay. Yet, because of the paucity of empirical research and the controversial data presented, the effects of ECIG generated aerosol on human health remains inconclusive. To better understand how ECIG generated aerosol interacts with biological systems it is imperative that the physical characteristics and chemical composition of the inhaled aerosol be systematically investigated to minimize discrepancy between studies and provide the public with accurate information concerning the potential dangers of this addictive behavior. With that said, the focus of this research topic is to bring forward a collection of research articles regarding the potential impact the physical and chemical nature of ECIG aerosol has on human health.
A benefit of ECIGs is to continue providing nicotine to smokers who are unwilling to give up this addictive substance, but want to eliminate the dangerous compounds associated with smoke. The delivery of nicotine is accomplished by inhaling a vaporized solution referred to as E-liquid. When the heating element of an ECIG is activated, the E-liquid housed within the ECIG is vaporized into aerosol particles. These particles are then inhaled and distributed throughout the respiratory system where they affect multiple systems. The size, number and distribution of aerosolized particles and how they affect human biological systems is highly dependent on a number of factors including, but not limited to, the temperature generated by the voltage of the ECIG battery, the construction of the ECIG device, the composition of the E-liquid itself and the puffing topography used by individuals inhaling the aerosol.
Recognizing the variability associated with E-liquids, ECIG devices, and puffing patterns is essential to understanding the impact ECIG generated aerosol has on human health. E-liquid composition before vaporization depends on the varied formulations prepared by the manufacturers. Ingredients of E-liquid solutions generally employ various ratios of propylene glycol to vegetable glycerin, several concentrations of nicotine, and additional agents which provide flavor. ECIG devices of alternative designs are constructed from different materials. Puffing topography depends on individual experiences and preferences. This variability in the formulation of E-liquids, construction of ECIG devices and puffing topography undoubtedly affects the characteristics and composition of the aerosol generated during the vaporization process, and consequently, affects how inhalation of the aerosol is physiologically manifested in living systems.
Accordingly, it is clear that several issues need to be investigated. First of all, how does inhaling aerosol derived from different formulations of E-liquids impact human health? In addition, what are the relative dangers of inhaling aerosol generated by alternative ECIG design? Furthermore, does puffing topography based on user experiences and preferences play a significant role in how ECIG generated aerosol affects human physiology? Finally, how does the aerosol generated by these ECIGs and E-liquid formulations ultimately affect the ability to effectively deliver nicotine? These are questions that need to be considered so that safer ECIG devices and E-liquid preparations can be developed while still providing effective nicotine delivery.
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