Being hailed as a miracle solution to the deadly scourge of tobacco products, electronic cigarettes are the source of an ever-increasing amount of sensationalism and malignant misinformation.
However, despite attempts at crippling the industry in its infancy, it shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, last year alone it generated over $2 billion as Americans said goodbye to cigarettes and hello to vaping, potentially extending their lives by decades. This begs the question: why would anyone other than big tobacco rally against the ultimate smoking cessation tool?
Understanding VAPING (and How Vapor Really Is NOT Just Some New Version Of Smoke) Is Crucial To Address The ‘Are E-Cigs Safe’ Issue
Unfortunately, the public remains largely ignorant about vaping and its mechanisms. First off, it’s important to understand that absolutely no tobacco is consumed, and of course, no smoke is involved. Instead, nicotine is delivered through a propylene glycol vapor, which is produced by the heating of fluid covered coils, sparing the lungs from the over 3,000 chemicals found in a cigarette. Aside from nicotine, the E-Cig Liquid mixture usually contains only three main ingredients all of which are approved by the FDA for human consumption.
Here is A quick rundown of what I personally use – just the 3 common things that just about every vape liquid “mix-master” big or small does – use to prepare their Liquid Nicotine Recipes:
- Propylene Glycol, and/or Vegetable Glycerin
- Purified / Pharmaceutical Grade Nicotine (which is diluted into the PG/VG base)
- Flavouring (typically) – while not a single ingredient strictly; most e-juice suppliers (these days especially while being so highly scrutinized) go to great lengths to source only exceptional, quality flavor concentrates (some more than others make this their mission – check out the fantastic flavor-focused writing from the highly regarded AHLUSION E-Juice for lots of details)
Yes these three things are what make up the vast majority of e-liquid out there. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything out there to look out for – sticking with a reputable e-cig brand or better still, try one of the respected American E-Liquid suppliers (see our list of top e-liquid brands list). There has been a growing trend in ‘smaller-batch’ boutique e-liquid suppliers – it is a trend we’ve seen lots of recently and exploring juice blends from places like above-mentioned Ahlusion E-Juice, High Brow Vapor and Mt.
Although originally patented in the 1960s, modern electronic cigarettes were introduced to the Chinese market in 2004. Three years later, they were readily available to both U.S. and European consumers. The first incarnation of these devices was disposable, designed to mimic the look and feel of an analog cigarette, but the rapid growth of the industry lead to the consistent evolution of its products. Now, the vaping community trends towards tank devices, which resemble ball-point pens, are filled with flavorful juices and produce a much stronger hit.
A Question of Carcinogens – or Is It Really?
Like So Many of the recurring issues and points of contention raised by your avergae anti-ecig crusader (or journalist, whether helping to spin the story knowingly or just too rushed to do their homework) details, specific quantities and measured values are key. I mean you do know that Banana’s are notably radioactive, right? Yes indeed that fabulous fact of pop-fruit trivial pursuit is correct – but as noted by this entry on Listverse: “you’d have to eat roughly 5,000,000 of the things to get anything near radiation sickness“
That’s a lot of Bananas!
Similarly while it IS true that residual trace amounts of what are known technically as ‘Tobacco-Specific Nitrosamines‘ – like the Nitrates you’ve likely been warned of at some point (and definitely have been exposed to, well, daily – kinda like that radioactivity bombarding you from all directions in sunlight). It’s a pretty universally understood concept that much of the time the dangers posed by potentially toxins is less about the toxin in question than the quantity / intensity of exposure.
Talking about this issue on his excellent ‘Ashtry Blog‘ out of the UK James Dunworth writes:
According to studies conducted, most e-cigarettes don’t even seem to contain nitrosamines. In a survey of 16 electronic cigarette studies, Cahn and Siegel (2011) found that just two studies detected trace levels of nitrosamines in the ingredients (but not the vapour) produced by electronic cigarettes. The maximum level of nitrosamines found were 8.2ng/g. Each ng is equal to one billionth of a gram, so the maximum concentration of nitrosamines found was 8.2 parts per billion or 8.2/1,000,000,000. That’s at similar level to approved nicotine patches, which weigh in at 8 parts per billion. These have not been linked to cancer. In contrast, Marlboro cigarettes contain levels of nitrosamines of 11,190 per billion. See more at: http://www.ecigarettedirect.co.uk/ashtray-blog/2013/02/nitrosamines-in-e-cigarettes-do-you-need-to-worry.html
The authors of the study mentioned above, Cahn and Siegel reported that the nitrosamines in electronic cigarettes were:
…orders of magnitude lower than TSNA levels in regular cigarettes…. electronic cigarettes contain only 0.07–0.2 per cent of the TSNAs present in cigarettes, a 500-fold to 1400-fold reduction in concentration.
The Anti E-Cig Crusader’s Fighting Style Is Anything Goes
Ethics Are Nowhere In Sight As Extremely Underhanded and Manipulative Attempts At Warping The Truth To Extremes While Spoiling What Could Be Useful Medical Studies By Gaming Results
Every few months, you’re likely to see a media outlet condemning electronic cigarettes. Typically, these stories revolve around the presence of formaldehyde in the vapor. While one study did find traces in 3 out of 10 products, levels were found to be up to 450 times lower than cigarette smoke. Two recent studies specifically focus on vaporizer pens, claiming the devices produce just as much formaldehyde as a Marlboro. Although that may sound alarming, a little investigation quickly discredits these findings.
For starters, it’s important to note that the main study, conducted by Dr. Maciej L. Goniewicz, was funded by Pfizer, the manufacturer of smoking cessation product Chantix. As if that bias wasn’t enough, the experiment involved severely overheating the fluid, something a normal user would never do. The study cites the act of “dripping”, which is dripping fluid directly onto the heating mechanism, as significantly increasing carcinogens. Unfortunately, researchers conducted these experiment at unrealistic temperatures, allowing the devices to continue to burn after the fluid was consumed.
At best, these studies are illogical and inconclusive. At worst, they are biased and intentionally misleading.
From the very beginning, the FDA has been confrontational to e-cig companies. Truth be told, the industry has grown so rapidly that the organization is struggling to keep up. First proposing a complete ban in 2009, the effort to criminalize them outright was thwarted by the courts. This time, they are filing to regulate them as tobacco products, despite the fact they contain zero tobacco. The legal justification given for this is that the nicotine used stems from tobacco. However, the same can be said of nicotine patches, gum and lozenges. Yet, they are classified as pharmaceuticals. The reasoning for this is very simple: the FDA is salivating at the thought of regulating and taxing these life saving devices.
Another common complaint heard by the opposition is that the flavorful nicotine liquids are meant to intentionally target children. Usually, a study is cited that finds 6.5% of American adolescents have tried electronic cigarettes. What these activists fail to mention is that the majority of these underage respondents were already smoking cigarettes on a regular basis. Also, it takes logical gymnastics to assume only minors enjoy fruity flavors. At the heart of these smear campaigns is a severe lack of empathy. In their holier than thou pretentiousness, anti-tobacco crusaders are doing their very best to deprive smokers of a viable, less deadly alternative
Mistakenly, many people assume nicotine is a source of cancer and ill health. While it is extremely addicting, it proves to be no worse for you than caffeine if used responsibly. It certainly isn’t a carcinogen, and no concrete study has been able to establish anything other than minimal cardiovascular risk. In fact, numerous benefits have been attributed to the stimulant. From increased alertness and appetite suppression to reducing chances of developing Parkinsons, the potential benefits are ample. That said, the next generation of electronic cigarettes are raising some warranted concerns over the liquid nicotine used to fill them. While the devices are well on their way to being regulated by the FDA, the liquid nicotine extract has little oversight.
Coming in all sorts of fruity flavors, very real dangers are posed to children and other mentally incompetent beings. In 2013, over 1,351 Americans called poison control centers due to e-liquid mishandling. Tragically, cases of children under the age of four mistaking the substance for candy are increasing, and needless to say, careless adults will always exist. Be that as it may, it’s unreasonable to blame the product itself for bad parenting and idiocy. After all, nobody is proposing a ban on bleach because mentally unstable individuals tend to chug it when they are feeling down. Still, even e-cig companies support warning labels and proper education.
Is vaping completely safe? Too early to tell, but likely not. Then again, the processed food and sugar consumers shove down their throats aren’t exactly safe either. Regardless, one truth remains abundantly clear: cigarettes claim over 80 million lives worldwide annually. No medical expert in their right mind will argue that electronic cigarettes even come close to matching that kind of overwhelming lethality.
JAMA Network | JAMA Pediatrics | Electronic Cigarettes and Conventional Cigarette Use Among US Adolescents: Â A Cross-sectional Study. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1840772
The New York Times. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/04/business/some-e-cigarettes-deliver-a-puff-of-carcinogens.html?_r=0
The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary: Conclusion of New Glantz Study on Electronic Cigarettes is Junk Science. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/2014/03/conclusion-of-new-glantz-study-on.html
U.S. teens’ e-cigarette use associated with smoking: study| Reuters. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/06/us-ecigs-smoking-study-idUSBREA251JX20140306
Those Evil Nitrosamines (Anti-THR Lies Blog)
– See more at: http://www.ecigarettedirect.co.uk/ashtray-blog/2013/02/nitrosamines-in-e-cigarettes-do-you-need-to-worry.html#sthash.VKSVaWXH.dpuf