Is vaping safe?
Thursday, 21 November 2019
There has been a recent influx of negative stories related to vaping in the media. With all these different stories coming out all at once, it's easy for anybody to be confused. In this post, we're looking at what experts in the medical field have had to say about vaping lately.
Can vaping kill you?
There have been no deaths from vaping nicotine e-cigarettes of the type used in the UK.
You might have heard in the news that there have been vaping-related deaths in the United States. Prof. Hajek goes on to explain why this problem exists in the USA, but not the UK:
The outbreak of lung injury in America is due to contaminants in illegally-produced marijuana/THC cartridges. This has nothing to do with the type of e-cigarettes that are used by smokers in the UK.
The contaminant mentioned is vitamin E acetate. This is a synthetic version of vitamin E. It has many uses, most notably in cosmetics. However, some manufacturers of illicit THC e-liquids and cartridges in the USA have used it as a thickener. When the CDC studied the lung tissue samples of those who had become ill or died "due to vaping", vitamin E acetate was found in all samples.
Should we worry about this in the UK?
The Independent British Vape Trade Association released an article about whether UK vapers should be concerned.
No. If you vape, continue to buy your vaping supplies from reputable retailers who can demonstrate due diligence in their product stewardship. If you are among the 7 million smokers who may be thinking about switching to vaping, you can be assured that if you visit a good quality high street vape shop, you will not befall the same fate as those who use illegally produced cannabis oils bought from backstreet dealers.
In the UK, although it may seem like it must be easy to release an e-liquid to the market based on just how much choice there is there are actually many different rules and regulations in place which manufacturers must follow, explains the IBVTA:
Manufacturers wishing to make a product available for sale in the UK must abide by a lengthy set of rules, where there is a list of banned ingredients in place, a set of toxicological risk assessments and product testing must be conducted, and products must be notified to the MHRA.
As a retailer who produces our own brands of e-liquid in the UK (Core, Baze PG and Baze VG), we can tell you first hand that there is an incredibly thorough process that e-liquid makers must go through before being allowed to legally sell a product. No stone is left unturned, no molecule unexamined - the "toxicological risk assessments" mentioned above basically means that all of the different ingredients in an e-liquid need to be tested for safety to make sure that nothing harmful is contained within the e-liquid.
Is it still better to vape than to smoke?
The Sun newspaper asked Professor Hajek whether vaping was still safer than smoking.
Yes, vaping is much less dangerous than smoking tobacco. For smokers who switch to vaping, they will remove the risks to their health by a factor of 95 per cent. The risk of cancer, heart disease and lung disease can be expected to be substantially reduced, too. The current estimate is that vaping poses less than five per cent of the risks of smoking cigarettes.
Does vaping have any risk?
From the NHS Smokefree campaign:
In the UK e-cigarettes are tightly regulated for safety and quality. They aren't completely risk-free, but they carry a small fraction of the risk of cigarettes. E-cigarettes don't contain tobacco and don't produce carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful constituents in cigarette smoke. ... While nicotine is the addictive substance in cigarettes, it is relatively harmless. Almost all of the harm from smoking comes from the thousands of other chemicals contained in tobacco smoke, many of which are toxic.
Although nicotine may be the most well-known substance in tobacco, it isn't the culprit behind the illnesses caused by smoking, though it is addictive. According to Cancer Research UK, tobacco smoke contains more than 5000 chemicals, many of which are known to cause cancer or be poisonous. That fact isn't very well known, but it isn't new at all - tobacco researcher Michael Russel said "people smoke for the nicotine but they die from the tar" in 1976!
Prof. Hajek says:
There is likely to be some risk from vaping. But the data we have so far is only from people who have vaped for two or three years and this raised no serious health concerns.
If you're not a smoker, we wouldn't advise you to start vaping. But if you are, picking up a vape starter kit could be the beginning of your smoke-free journey!
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