Since its introduction in 2004 the use of ECigs or Vaping devices has grown exponentially - in the UK, users have increased from 700,000 in 2012 to 2.6 million in 2015 and worldwide vaping has become accepted as a safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. The United Kingdom, United States and New Zealand have in many respects lead the charge in ensuring Ecigs and nicotine Ejuice are available to the general public as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. Australia was one of the first countries to limit the availability of nicotine Ejuice by restricting the sale of it within Australia and as such Australia hasn't seen the same growth in it's use.
In this article, we will look at the evidence and hear from the experts about the Pro's and Con's of this new and exciting nicotine replacement Therapy.
“If all the smokers in Britain stopped smoking cigarettes and started smoking e-cigarettes we would save 5 million deaths in people who are alive today. It’s a massive potential public health prize.” Professor John Britton, Tobacco Advisory Group of the Royal College of Physicians
The primary parts that make up an e-cigarette are a mouthpiece, a cartridge (tank), a heating element/atomizer, a microprocessor, a battery, and possibly a LED light on the end. There are countless variants to this basic construction but all are alike in this way.
Essentially the ECig heats up an E-Juice which vaporizes and becomes a mist that resembles smoke. When discussing the safety of using ECigs, what is more important than the ECig is the juices that we put in it.
EJuice is made up of four main ingredients - Vegetable Glycerine, Propylene Glycol, Flavouring and sometimes Nicotine. Let's discuss each of these separately.
Propylene glycol (PG) is a synthetic liquid substance that is essentially odorless and tasteless. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified propylene glycol as an additive that is “generally recognized as safe” for use in food. It is also used for its absorbent qualities and as a solvent for flavors and food coloring. Propylene glycol is also used to create artificial smoke or fog used in fire-fighting training and in theatrical productions, it is also used as part of some inhaled treatments for certain medical conditions. The CDC, in their summary definition of the substance, state: “Propylene glycol is generally considered to be a safe chemical.”
“…Inhaling mist from the e-cigarette is rated several orders of magnitude (100 to 1000 times) less dangerous than smoking tobacco cigarettes.” Dr Murray Laugesen: Health New Zealand
Also known as glycerol, VG is a clear and odorless liquid that is made from plant oils, typically palm, soy, or coconut oil. Vegetable glycerin has many uses but you will most often find it in cosmetic products, lotions, and herbal tinctures. VG is not only topically safe to your skin and body, but is also safe to consume, since glycerin is produced in many types of fruits, vegetables and dairy products.
There are countless different types of flavors available for ECig users - everything from Strawberry cream to hazelnut. It is this diversity that has caused some controversy regarding ECigs in the past. There have been reports of some flavorings containing substances that may be harmful when inhaled. Many E-Juice manufacturers now focus on only using natural flavoring but the lack of regulation in the E-Juice market has been a cause for concern for some governments. It should be noted that generally flavorings make up around 10% of the E-Juice. At ECigOz we only use natural flavorings that are free from Diacetyl and acetoin.
Some but not all EJuice contains nicotine. It depends on the user as to whether they wish to have nicotine added. Nicotine is an extremely addictive substance and is the primary reason why people continue smoking. There is a confusion amongst many people regarding nicotine. On its own nicotine isn't all that harmful and studies suggest the physiological effects of nicotine closely resembles that of caffeine found in coffee. It is the addictive properties of nicotine which in turn lead to the continuation of smoking combusted tobacco that accounts for the overall damage caused by smoking cigarettes. There are many nicotine replacement therapies which are promoted by healthcare practitioners including patches and inhalers - Vaping is also nicotine replacement therapy. Nicotine in a concentrated form is however, harmful and must always be kept away from children and pets.
“The British public have voted with their feet and are choosing to use e-cigarettes. This is a positive choice, and we should promote it.” Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK
Smoking cigarettes is the leading cause of preventable death. Worldwide, tobacco use causes nearly 6 million deaths per year, and current trends show that tobacco use will cause more than 8 million deaths annually by 2030. When we examine the evidence and compare Vaping to smoking traditional cigarettes the outcome is clear that vaping is a safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes.
This doesn't mean however that it is a ''safe'' alternative. David Sweanor, Former advisor to the World Health Organisation said:
“Safe doesn’t exist. But electronic cigarettes are low risk compared to regular cigarettes. It’s the equivalent of having a four-wheel-drive Volvo compared to a high-powered motorcycle with bald tires in an ice storm.
With this in mind, people who are currently vaping or just thinking of starting should always remember that the use of ECigs should only be regarded as a tool to help them curb their nicotine addiction rather than a lifestyle choice. ECigs are a useful tool in that regard. Users have the ability to control the amount of nicotine in their juices and this allows users to lower the concentration of nicotine over time with the aim of excluding nicotine altogether. Many nonsmokers underestimate the psychological addiction experienced by smokers. The ritual of lighting your cigarette and taking those few minutes out of your day can be powerful and a major roadblock in giving up cigarettes. ECigs closely replicate this and allow the user to deal with one element of their addiction at a time until its finally time to put it down for good.