E-cigarettes, sometimes shortened to e-cigs or vapes are electronic cigarettes. E-cigs are battery-powered, portable smoking devices. They are made up of several different parts that all work together to produce vapour which users inhale. E-cigs come in all shapes and sizes, but they all have the same basic components that make them work.
How does an e-cig work?
Have a look at the image below to see what the different parts of an e-cig are called.
What's in an e-cig?
The cloud of vapour that is produced when people smoke an e-cig is not smoke. It is made from the e-liquid that you put inside the e-cig.
These are the chemicals that are found in e-liquid:
Propylene Glycol (PG) - is a colourless, odourless and slightly sweet liquid. It is generally recognised as safe and is widely used in food, medicine, and cosmetic products.
Vegetable Glycerin (VG) - is made from plant-based oils, it is a clear, odourless and sweet liquid. It has a consistency similar to syrup.
Flavourings - various flavourings are added to the above ingredients to create unique e-liquid flavours. It's important to make sure the e-liquid you are buying doesn't contain Diacetyl, as this flavouring when vaped is known to cause health problems.
Are e-cigs safe?
Current research suggests that e-cigs are less harmful when compared to smoking tobacco. However, e-cigarettes should not be used by non-smokers or young people.
Obviously, smoking anything at all isn’t good for your health, but, if you are already smoking tobacco, e-cigs are a better alternative. If you would like help to stop smoking click here.
There have also been issues with the safety of the batteries within e-cigs. You may have seen videos or heard stories of them blowing up. It is important to make sure that you follow the manufacturers' guidelines when charging and operating your e-cig. Make sure you buy one from a reputable store, to ensure you buy authentic and genuine branded products.
Young People & e-cigs
E-liquid comes in lots of different flavours and under all sorts of different brand names. It’s debated, whether these flavours influence young people into trying them. There are also lots of vape influencers online who promote the use of e-cigs by doing tricks with them. This could be seen as appealing to young people but we also think this could appeal to adults too.
It’s also important to note that some e-liquid contains nicotine and it has been proven that young people's brain development can be affected by early exposure to nicotine.
Developing a nicotine addiction, or habit of vaping through the use of e-cigs from a young age could lead to young people taking up smoking in the future.
E-cigs and The Law
The UK has one of the most regulated e-cig markets in the world.
Minimum standards of safety and quality
Packaging and labelling requirements
A ban on advertising in print, broadcast, online and other electronic media
A ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s and on purchase by adults on behalf of under-18s
E-cigarette refillable tanks bigger than 2ml are banned
E-liquid (with nicotine) cannot be sold in quantities bigger than 10ml
The strength of nicotine must not exceed 20mg/ml,
Some additives, flavourings and ALL colourings are banned
Q: Will an e-cig help me to stop smoking?
A: Maybe. e-cigs might be able to help you to stop smoking.
E-cigarettes can help people stop smoking. Using an e-cig can help you manage your nicotine cravings. To get the best results, make sure you're using it as much as you need to and with the right strength of nicotine in your e-liquid. Remember: try to cut down on your cigarettes/ stop smoking cigarettes while using a vape to reduce the harm to yourself. Using e-cigs without completely stropping smoking does not provide health benefits.
You can get advice from specialist vape shops or your local stop smoking service.
To find out what services are in your area, visit the Quit Your Way website.
Q: Is e-cig vapour harmful to others?
A: Nope, not that we know of.
So far, there is no evidence that e-cigs can cause harm to other people around you. However, we can't guarantee it won't annoy them. Current evidence suggests that any risk of harm is extremely low, especially when compared with secondhand tobacco smoke. But, there still is a risk. It's best to puff on your vape outside, and treat it just like you would tobacco smoke.
Have a look at the links below for further reading and information.
NHS SMOKE-FREE - https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree/help-and-advice/e-cigarettes
U.S Surgeon General - https://e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/
Cancer Research - https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/
ASH Scotland - Vaping & Young People - https://www.ashscotland.org.uk/youthvaping