Questions about the safety of vaping are usually on the minds of smokers looking to switch to ecigarettes or vaping kits. While the Royal College of Physicians have released a report in which it recommends vaping as a way to quit smoking with high chances of success, smokers understandably want to ensure that the equipment and eliquids used in vaping are safe. Michael Mosely tried vaping in BBC series, 'Trust Me I'm a Doctor' to see for himself.
Ingredients used in Eliquids
There are four main components to most eliquids. Propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerine (VG), nicotine, and flavourings. With our eliquids, you can vary the PG, VG and nicotine content until you find a balance that you are comfortable with. The ingredients used are food-grade and are safe for human consumption. Propylene glycol assists with nicotine delivery, while vegetable glycerine produces the vapour which simulates cigarette smoke. An examination of the effects of both propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin in the Royal College of Physicians Report on ecigarettes reported no adverse effects or toxicity of concern in either of the two materials.
To ensure that you are getting high-quality ingredients, purchase eliquids from British and EU manufacturers in an ISO-certified laboratory. British eliquid manufacturers must comply with the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), and one of the requirements of the TPD vaping legislation is that eliquids be made from high-quality ingredients. While eliquid manufacturers in other countries around the world may strive for quality, they are not governed by the TPD and may also not be shipping eliquids in the tamper-proof and childproof packaging that the TPD requires.
Exploding ecigarettes - not a problem if used according to directions
Ecigarettes have gotten a bad rap for exploding. Vaping kits from top manufacturers, such as the ones that we carry, are quality-tested and are not as likely to suffer from mechanical issues as cheap, mass-produced ecigarettes that you would find at a variety store. But error in use is cited as one of the major factors in exploding ecigarettes by this study. In some cases, users were not using the charger provided with the ecigarette, which is made specifically for the electrical load required by the device.
Ecigarettes and vaping devices should be treated with care and respect as incendiary devices, and manufacturer’s instructions should be followed. You should not, for example, charge an ecig on your computer USB port, even though it would be convenient to do so - you should just use the supplied charger plugged directly into a wall socket. Do not listen to a shopkeeper who tells you that it can plug into anything; nearly all of the cases listed in the study where ecigarettes exploded or caught fire were due to incompatible chargers.
The study also concluded that in terms of quality and materials, vaping and ecigarette products from US manufacturers were superior to those supplied by Chinese manufacturers, with particular attention paid to the quality of the lithium ion batteries used in these products. A well-designed kit will have failsafes in place to prevent explosion, while a poorly designed one won’t.
Don’t purchase used ecigarette or vaping kits, and consider an upgrade if you have had your ecig or vaping kit for a number of years. Older models manufactured in the 00’s were not as well designed as those made today and will have a better safety record. Vaping manufacturers consider safety to be their top priority and will continue to evolve designs to make their rigs safer.
Modding, or modifying a vape kit should be something only done by experienced vapers who have a good understanding of the electrical requirements of their rigs. Most modding is for the purposes of sub-ohm vaping, which produces larger vapour clouds and a hotter inhalation. If you are a beginning vaper, don't start your vaping life with one of these mods. If you decide you want to move up to it, study available guides carefully and consult with fellow vapers or your local vape shop before making the switch.
BBC Journalist's one-man vaping trial
Dr Michael Mosley, a prominent BBC journalist, recently conducted an experiment for his documentary show Horizon: E-Cigarettes: Miracle or Menace in which he took up heavy vaping. Dr Mosley was not a smoker prior to taking up vaping for his show and did notice some slight inflammation of the lungs. Despite this side effect, he called ecigarettes a “game-changer” for smokers and concluded that e-cigarettes were a successful way to get smokers to quit.
Long-term vaping effects are unclear - short-term effects are negligible
The only wildcard in the health effects of vaping are the potential long-term effects. However, experts state that even taking this uncertainty into account, the long-term effects of smoking are much worse. As vaping becomes more popular and is around for longer, there will likely be more studies done on its outcome.
In its Nicotine Without Smoke report, the Royal College of Physicians stated:
“E-cigarettes are generally well tolerated. Similar to oral [Nicotine Replacement Therapy] products, reported short-term adverse effects relate predominantly to mouth and throat irritation,
and tend to be self-limiting.”
Essentially, ecigs give vapers the same throat and mouth irritation one would expect when having a traditional cigarette. The report goes on to state that some of the same compounds found in cigarette smoke are found in ecigarette vapour, including volatile organic compounds and carbonyls - however at drastically lower levels than they are found in cigarette smoke.
“In normal conditions of use, toxin levels in inhaled e-cigarette vapour are probably well below prescribed threshold limit values for occupational exposure, in which case significant long-term harm is unlikely.”
The report concluded that the risks of inhaling vapour from ecigarettes was extremely low compared to the risks of continuing to smoke traditional cigarettes. The report also stated that the long-term effects of nicotine exposure were likely to be minimal.
While ecigarettes are not entirely risk-free, the risk reduction of ecigarettes over traditional cigarettes is monumental. This Public Health England study concluded that ecigarettes were 95% less harmful than smoking. It also concluded that there is no evidence that shows that e-cigarettes are acting as a gateway to smoking for children or other non-smokers; a theory which is at the basis of why ecigarette products are included in the European Union’s Tobacco Product Directive. As long as you purchase high-quality equipment and eliquids and use your device’s supplied charger, vaping is much safer than smoking cigarettes.