IS VAPING SAFE ?
We are back again to talk about whether vaping is safer than smoking, and to discuss some of the rumours & myths that are going around about vaping and the use of e-cigarettes. Recently there has been another article on social media platforms, a very unfortunate story about a 16 year old who has been vaping for 6 months and the doctors have said he has the lungs of an 80 year old. This young teenager has been diagnosed with having Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis.
Now, this would come to a shock to many people who are considering quitting smoking and possibly start vaping as an alternative or for a means to quitting smoking. A headline like this would persuade you from doing so but just like many other articles or cases, not all the details seem to be available. What we did find out is he was an ex-smoker but no mention of how long he had been smoking. An article does say that he had two different E Liquids but only one was reacting
Blood test analyses showed that his condition may have been caused by one, as opposed to both, of the e-cigarette liquid flavours as Fisher had IgM specific antibodies for liquid 1, but not liquid 2, raising the possibility that the eliciting antigen was present in liquid 1, noted the authors. After 14 months, Fisher’s symptoms cleared up, and the condition of his lungs returned to normal based on his spirometry.
What it doesn’t advise is what these e liquids contained? Were these branded products made by a registered manufacturer? Or were these e liquids that were affecting him made in someone's garage? What ingredients were used in creating these e liquids? These are very important questions that should have been asked, so the question for us is why isn’t this information provided? Surely if it was just one of the e liquids that was causing this then an investigation should have been carried out, the manufacturer of that e liquid should have recalled all products but there is no mention of this. Not that we are sat here in our tinfoil hats but something doesn’t seem to add up here...
There is many stories similar to this and it seems more likely that people have been purchasing and using homemade e liquids which could be using any type of ingredients that are not regulated. You may also recall the sudden media coverage of vaping ‘’related’’ illnesses in the USA, this was then debunked when investigators found out that people were vaping liquids that contained THC, resulting in some deaths. These illegal liquids were often sold off the street or from unknown sources. This is why we feel we need to address some of the most frequently asked questions and tackle some of the rumours that are floating around.
How safe is vaping really?
First of all, we want to provide you with a statement from Public Health England as people still ask is vaping safe?
Public Health England found that vaping is 95 percent less harmful than smoking. The study also found that 44 percent of smokers wrongly believed vaping to be just as harmful. You can view the article here:
But E Liquids aren’t regulated
One of the most commonly used arguments against vaping is that you have no idea what’s in the E Liquids. Well, we can tell you that E Liquids do not contain Hydrogen cyanide, lead, arsenic, ammonia, Nitrosamines, or radioactive traces such as Uranium which is found in the fertilizer of tobacco plants.
Since the vaping market has grown in the UK there have been many changes to how E Liquids can be made and what ingredients can be used. The UK is one of the strictest countries in the world when it comes to regulation for E Liquids. In 2016 the Tobacco Product Directive (TPD) came into place and changed the vaping world. Though many E Liquid shops, online vape shop, and manufacturers faced a big problem with existing stock we believe there was good cause for this. E Liquids are subject to quality and safety standards whereas before they weren’t. Products also need proper informative packaging advising of products containing nicotine. All E Liquid products must be notified to the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) by the manufacturer with detailed information including all the ingredients. Once these are tested and forms completed there will be a certificate confirming this.
Second hand vaping is just as bad as second hand smoking?
We have all been aware of the impact of second-hand smoking and how the health risks this has so it is a fair assumption to believe that second-hand vapour would also affect someone but Public Health England (PHE) says otherwise. In 2018 PHE found there were no identified health risks when it comes to passive vaping. Though people with health conditions such as asthma or any other respiratory condition are likely to be more sensitive to this. The ingredients that go into E Liquids are Nicotine, propylene glycol, VG glycerine, and flavourings, these are very different to cigarettes and there is no side-stream vapour emitted by an e-cigarette into the atmosphere.
It is illegal to smoke in enclosed public places and workplaces but when it comes to vaping it is down to the employer or organization to decide on their policy and to consider the staff at all times. What we always ask for is for vapers to be considerate of others.
NICOTINE MUST BE HARMFUL?
We think here is where a lot of the confusion comes from, most people believe it is the nicotine in cigarettes which is the most harmful, and unfortunately this is not true. Studies show that four out of ten non-smokers and smokers believe that nicotine is the cause of tobacco smoking-related cancer. Yes, Nicotine is addictive but evidence shows that nicotine carries minimal risk to your health, it is all the other chemicals in a cigarette which causes the severe health problems and can lead to cancer. Carbon monoxide and tar are the most harmful aspects when it comes to smoking, and vaping E Liquids do not contain these substances.
All regulated E Liquids will be clearly signposted as to whether they have nicotine. TPD laws state that nicotine can only be present in bottles of 10ml and under. Any E Liquids you find in larger bottles are referred to as 'shortfills' and will come with 0mg of nicotine, though there is normally space for you to add nicotine if you wish to do so.
In 2016, prior to the TPD laws coming in there was a study around whether vaping causes popcorn lung. Before we go further into the study, let’s explain exactly what popcorn lung is as many people have heard of it but might not be able to explain it properly.
Popcorn lung is a type of lung disease (not cancer) and is called Bronchiolitis Obliterans, the name popcorn lung was given to it as it was initially found within workers in a popcorn factory. The chemical that can cause popcorn lung is called Diacetyl, which was used as a flavouring for packaged microwave popcorn.
One study which was carried out in the US and published in 2016 looked at whether E Liquids contained Diacetyl, out of 51 different E Liquids, 39 came back testing positive for some level of Diacetyl, this is where the idea that you can get popcorn lung from vaping E Liquids. The problem with the study is that there was no investigation and no evidence to see whether vaping E Liquids can cause popcorn lung. We wouldn’t exactly call this a study, it’s more of just an assumption which is one of the most widely used excuses that people use when saying that vaping is bad for you.
Despite the fact that there’s been no evidence to suggest popcorn lung is caused by vaping, in 2016 the use of Diacetyl was banned in the creation of E Liquids under the Tobacco Products Directive. I’m sure this did cause some minor problems but as our parents always told us, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you are interested in looking into this further at cancer research UK.
We hope that you find this article helpful and we wish that we’ve helped clear up some concerns when it comes to vaping. We have previously written an article about Vaping vs smoking so feel free to have a read of that also.
Every week we get told about people's success stories and how they have managed to quit smoking and in our eyes, that’s a win. Out of the 3 million vapers in the UK, more than half have completely stopped smoking. The NHS also advises that a further 770,000 people have given up both vaping and smoking, smoking rates have also dropped to an incredibly low of 14.9%. We really hope this continues and that we can help the UK go smoke free. The battle still continues though as currently there are still over 7 million smokers. If you are looking for more information about how smoking cigarettes can harm you we strongly recommend looking on the NHS website.