E cigarettes and vaping
Electronic cigarettes, known as e-cigarettes or vaporisers, are battery-powered devices, a cigarette substitute that provides small amounts of nicotine without the tobacco or other chemicals from real cigarettes.
E-cigarettes are made up of 3 parts:
- a tank to hold the e-liquid (contains the nicotine and flavouring)
- an atomiser to heat e-liquid (roughly 100 - 250 °C within a chamber)
- a battery to power the atomiser (1000 - 5000mAh approx)
The main substances making up in the liquid in the e-cigarettes are nicotine (which comes in varying strengths), propylene glycol, glycerin, and some flavours/ smells/ aromas ... from fruit favours, to bubblegum to coke. [Yes, we've just thrown up a bit in back of our collective throats]. The e-liquid is heated to make a vapour which looks like the smoke from real cigarettes carrying the nicotine to the lungs where it is absorbed.
Acknowledged that vaping is less harmful than smoking there is a focus on determining what issues and harms e-cigarettes and vaping may cause. Although not harmless, the evidence is that vaping is safer than smoking.
However, it's worth bearing in mind that the history of modern-day cigarettes has been going on for decades while the e-cigarette was only invented in 2003. So, the e-cigarette narrative has yet to run its course, and we have a lot still to learn, particularly concerning what damage and harms they may cause.
The recent spate of news about the harms and deaths vaping causes does not appear to bode well for either users, or the industry. Watch this space!
Smoking vs Vaping | AsapSCIENCE | 16 Aug 2015 | 4m 19s
Electronic cigarette | Wikipedia
Construction of electronic cigarettes | Wikipedia
Positions of medical organisations on electronic cigarettes | Wikipedia
"In June 2019, a paper by prominent US academics found that people who used e-cigarettes were at greater risk of a heart attack. The authors concluded that e-cigarettes were just as risky as tobacco in provoking heart attacks, and that using e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes at the same time was even riskier. Unsurprisingly, this caused a stir in the media – in the form of 35 news stories, to be exact. Also unsurprisingly, it provoked vigorous scientific debate. Eight months later, the paper was retracted. When a paper is retracted it means we can’t trust its results. It’s like being unpublished. The problem is, the paper still exists – it’s in news stories, it’s on social media, it’s in documentaries. Smokers see these stories and increasingly think e-cigarettes are as harmful as smoking. That’s a problem because smoking is deadly."
Vaping and heart disease: setting the record straight | The Conversation | 24 Feb 2020
"The evidence to date suggests that vaping is not a safe alternative to smoking tobacco. This, coupled with the worrying trend of young, previous non-smokers being attracted to vaping, raises fears of yet another generation suffering from chronic lung disease. Indeed, a recent study in The Lancet estimates that in 2040, COPD will be the only disease in the top ten leading causes of death that will still be increasing. Although how much will be driven by vaping remains to be seen."
Extract from "An increasing number of countries are banning e-cigarettes – here’s why" | The Conversation | 23 Sep 2019
E-cigarettes: what we know and what we don’t | Cancer UK | 21 Apr 2021
The great vape debate: are e-cigarettes saving smokers or creating new addicts? | The Guardian | 18 Feb 2020
Vaping and heart disease: setting the record straight | The Conversation | 2 Feb 2020
Vaping nearly killed me, says British teenager | BBC | 12 Nov | 2019
After six deaths in the US and bans around the world – is vaping safe? | The Observer | 15 Sep 2019
UK attacked for defence of flavoured e-cigarettes | The Guardian | 14 Sep 2019
What's behind a vaping illness outbreak in the US? | BBC Newsbeat | 11 Sep 2019
Vaping deaths: 'A new generation of nicotine addicts' | BBC News | 11 Sep 2019
Is vaping actually bad for your health? It's complicated | Wired | 29 Aug 2019
Vaping’s other problem: are e-cigarettes creating a recycling disaster? | The Guardian | 27 Aug 2019
Vaping criticism will only protect cigarette trade, leading NZ academic says | 1 News Now (AU) | 29 Aug 2019
'First vape death in the US' recorded in Illinois | BBC | 24 Aug 2019
Can we stop America's teen vaping epidemic arriving in Britain? | The Guardian | 11 Aug 2019
E-cigarettes: How safe are they? | BBC | 26 Jun | 2019
We ignored the evidence linking cigarettes to cancer. Let's not do that with vaping | The Guardian | 16 Feb 2019
E-cigarettes 'much better for quitting smoking' | BBC | 30 Jan 2019
Vaping by young people remains a burning issue among health experts | The Guardian | 4 Jan 2019
Public Health England maintains vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking | The Guardian | 28 Dec 2018
US surgeon general urges crackdown on e-cigarettes 'epidemic' among teenagers | The Telegraph | 18 Dec 2018
Vaping: how safe is it? | The Conversation | 8 Aug 2018
Vaping: All you need to know about the smoking alternative | BBC Newsround | 17 Aug 2018
Clearing up some myths around e-cigarettes | Public Health England | 20 Feb 2018
A marathon not swings and roundabouts: the evidence on e-cigarettes | Cancer Research UK | 12 Feb 2015
Articles on vaping | The Conversation | 2014-2018