When vaping first hit the scene, the automatic reaction of many was to treat it with the same disdain as traditional smoking. Yet vaping or using e-cigarettes is significantly different than smoking combustible cigarettes.
Vaping involves the use of an electronic device to vaporize e-liquid for inhalation. Smoking uses combustion to produce smoke for inhalation, smoke that comes packed with more than 4,000 chemicals (including 43 carcinogens and 400 toxins). Here are six things you need to know about vaping before forming an opinion.
E-Juice Ingredients Aren’t a Mystery
E-juice ingredients are no longer a mystery. Respectable companies will openly list their e-juice ingredients, which typically include propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), optional nicotine, and flavoring. PG and VG are both recognized as generally safe for consumer use.
Some e-juice companies may use artificial colorings and flavorings, while others steer clear of additional chemical additives. Certain tobacco e-juice companies, for instance, will use natural tobacco extract instead of synthetic flavors to provide an authentic taste and experience.
Designed to Satiate Cigarette Cravings
While vaping with any e-juice flavor can provide a throat hit and ritual many smokers enjoy, the greatest satiation may come from e-juice flavors specifically designed to help reduce cravings. Tobacco e-juice again comes into play here, especially real tobacco e-juice that actually tastes like tobacco.
Comes With or Without Nicotine
You’ll notice the e-juice ingredient list mentioned optional nicotine. That’s because most e-juice companies offer different levels of nicotine, generally ranging from up to 24 mg of nicotine all the way down to zero.
This lets people adjust their nicotine levels as desired, with the ability to start at a higher nicotine level and work their way down. Gradually reducing nicotine levels can help reduce nicotine cravings and addiction, a key for those with a desire to quit smoking or vaping altogether.
Has Growing Community
Millions of people have turned to vaping, many of them adult smokers or former smokers looking for an alternative to traditional cigarettes. Statistics put the vaping crowd at about 4 percent of the population in both the U.S. and the U.K. The number of adults who regularly vaped or used electronic cigarettes in the U.S. hit 9 million in the U.S. as of 2014; it hit 2.3 million in the U.K. as of 2015.
The vaping community also has a strong presence, both online and in person. Online vaping communities, groups and organizations have come together to defend the industry. In-person get-togethers range from large annual conferences to smaller, local hangouts and cloud-chasing parties.
Has Growing Body of Positive Evidence
An increasing number of studies and reports are uncovering findings in favor of vaping. A review published by Public Health England reported vaping was about 95 percent less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes.
A study funded by Cancer Research U.K. noted that smokers who switch to vaping decrease their exposure to known carcinogens as much as smokers who switch to nicotine patches, gum or other nicotine replacement therapies.
England’s Royal College of Physicians recommended doctors encourage vaping over smoking to help reduce health risks for individuals while improving overall public health.
Even Has the FDA Coming Around
While the most vocal support from authorities appears to be coming out of the U.K., even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has softened its former stance against vaping. In addition to extending the deadline for an exhaustive application process that could have wiped out most of the nation’s small vaping businesses, the FDA has also pledged to review the process to make it more transparent, efficient and predictable.
The deadline extension was granted to give the FDA time to ensure the agency is “striking an appropriate balance” between its proposed regulations and providing enough latitude for companies to develop “innovate tobacco products” that could be less harmful than traditional cigarettes. And those innovative tobacco products may already include e-liquid and vaping devices.
Combine the FDA’s shift in focus with the growing body of positive evidence, the growing vaping community, and the fact that many adult smokers turn to vaping to put down cigarettes, and you may be given a fresh view on the industry. Hopefully this view does not include automatic disdain but rather a fair and informed outlook.