Author: federica calavita
Date: 28/06/2013


The e-cigarette is one of the latest findings in the technological field as an aid for giving up smoking; it consists of a cilinder, as much similar to a normal cigarette as possible, which contains a battery feeding the internal mechanism that allows the smoker to inhale vapour made of a solution of water, propylene glycol, flavours and nicotine in varying amounts (18 or 9 mg / ml) or even absent.

Electronic cigarette

The e-cigarette seems to offer better results in the giving up of smoking than other smoking cessation devices, such as nicotine gums and patches, as it takes also the psychological aspects of tabagism into considaration: in fact the subjects affected by this pathology show both a physical and psychological addiction to smoking. Even though the e-cigarette contains nicotine, it is less harmful than the traditional one as it lacks excipients such as tar, benzene and aromatic hydrocarbons which are carginogens.

Vaping' profiles and preferences: an online survey of electronic cigarette users, 2013

Several chemical trials have been done on the nicotine contained both in e-cigarettes and traditional ones; all these trials lead to think that this molecule is neither a cancerogenous compound in itself, nor a co-cancerogenous substance, nor cause of tumor if associated to other compounds deriving from combustion; however nicotine is a neuro-active substance and can cause addiction and overuse in most individuals , therefore all perplexities concerning the use of e-cigarettes are based on the presence of this substance.
In particular, a study on data collected from a blog used by e-cigarette smokers shows that different side effects might occur as a consequence of frequent and prolongued use of e-cigarettes; some of these side effects, described by 78 smokers out of the 405 who answered the questionnaire, are positive and they mostly concern the respiratory apparatus; some are negative and were reported by 326 users who noticed bad effects on neurological and vascular systems.

Health-related effects reported by electronic cigarette users in online forums, 2013

Inhaled nicotine rapidly affects lungs and reaches SNC where it meets its cholinergic reactors ( with both high and low affinity) , makes them active and thus interfere on several receptor systems such as the dopaminergic , the noradrenergic ,serotononergic , the GABAergic , glutammaergic ones and the one regulated by opioids.
NACh receptors are particularly present on the nopaminergici neurons of the mesolimbicocortical system and their activation causes dopamine release with a consequent sensation of pleasure; their hyperstimulation due to chronical use of nicotine causes, differently from other types of overuse, up-regulation with receptor hyperexpression thanks to their quick re-activation ; it is therefore not necessary to rise the nicotine quantity to get more pleasure from it, but it is necessary to use it frequently in order not to suffer from abstinence symptoms. Nicotine might have both a stimulating and sedative effect; immediately after smoking nicotine affects the adrenal gland medullar provoking an adrenaline flow which increases blood pressure , breathing activity and heart frequency as well as causing a peak of plasmic glicemy ; the sedative effect of this substance depends on the smoker and on its quantity.

"F. Rossi, V. Cuomo, C. Riccardi, “Farmacologia”, Minerva Medica, 2011"

The lethal dose of nicotine is about 40-60 mg , much lower than the quantity contained in a single cigarette, even though we are talking about the e-cigarette reservoir , but even in much lower quantity this molecule is dangerous, in fact it binds with its receptors in different parts of the body : on the neuromuscolar plaque , if it is in such quantity to saturate all receptors, a tonic paralysis of the skeleton muscles occurs; the activation of receptors at SNC level causes convulsion , while arrhythmia and hypertension are caused by the bond of the molecule with the neurons of the ganglions from which the postganglionic fibers that innervate the heart start.

Nicotina, effetti della nicotina

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