Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes or e-cigs), also known as electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), are battery-powered devices that have cartridges or refillable tanks containing a mixture primarily composed of propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerin, nicotine, as well as a variety of flavourings. There are a variety of e-cigarette types available commercially, but they all have very similar modes of operation. Either inhalation or the use of a button will activate a pressure-sensitive circuit that heats the atomiser and turns the liquid into an aerosol that is then inhaled by the user through the mouthpiece and exhaled as a fine mist. The exhaled aerosol does not contain smoke, tar, or carbon monoxide, and studies have shown that the byproducts from their aerosols produce very low levels of air toxins. The success and the appeal of e-cigarettes for smokers who wish to quit are that while the products emulate smoking behaviour, they do not expose the user or those around them to the toxic smoke constituents of conventional cigarettes that are deleterious to health. This means that there would be a public health benefit if individual smokers completely switched to e-cigarettes or used them to substantially reduce their cigarette smoking habit. There are some concerns, however, that the use of e-cigarettes could be problematic at the population level. For instance, e-cigarettes could fuel and promote nicotine addiction, especially in children, and their acceptance has the potential to renormalise smoking behaviour. Some people also worry that e-cigarette use could also potentially serve as a gateway to other drugs and harmful substances. Below are some fantastic and very informative videos of Public Health experts giving their commentaries on vaping and e-cigarette use.
Professor Ann McNeill, Kings College London
Professor John Britton, University of Nottingham
Deborah Arnott, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
Professor Robert West, University College London
So… There is no doubt that using an electronic cigarette is far better for your health than inhaling the thousands of chemicals from burning tobacco in standard cigarettes. However, e-cigarette users should be aware that not all eliquids are created equal. There is a huge variation in quality across brands – because there are currently no regulations in place regarding electronic cigarettes, anyone can manufacture eliquid (often in their bath tubs at home or the garden shed), or import low quality eliquids from countries, such as China. EL-Science was established to raise the quality of eliquid in the UK, as well as on a global scale. Eliquid manufactured by EL-Science’s qualified chemists has gone through full process control in our state-of-the-art Production Laboratory and has been fully analysed in our Analytical Laboratory, to ensure that the nicotine content is correct and at safe levels, and that chemicals, such as diacetyl, acetylpropionyl and acetoin, which are potentially hazardous to your respiratory health, are not present. For more information on the differences between smoking and vaping click here to view a slide show by our Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Jaydene Halliday.