Do you know what actually goes into electronic cigarettes?
A lack of information on the safety and quality of e-liquid has prompted both legislators and anti-nicotine campaigners to call for a ban on e-cigarette sales.
But this supposed lack of knowledge isn’t quite true according to research published by Professor Siegel in the journal of Public Health Policy. Scientists do in fact know what e-liquid is made from. Where as there are hundreds of chemicals in tobacco smoke which are yet to be even identified.
After extensive tests, a new study has reached the conclusion that the contents of the e-liquid refill cartridges for e-cigs are actually surprisingly good. The research was led by Professor J F Etter, who has kept a more or less neutral stance on the issue of electronic cigarettes.
These studies analysed 20 bottles of e-liquid to establish the levels of nicotine and impurities. Half the tested bottles were found to have contents that met medicinal standards. The rest of the bottles had more impurities than the accepted medicinal nicotine solution.
The study concluded that when comparing the contents of e-liquid to tobacco, any existing impurities are less of an issue, because even with the presence of the impurities found in some samples, e-cigarettes are still a lot less dangerous than smoking the regular cigarette.
What needs to happen is the e-cig manufacturers must be held to a high standard. They must only produce e-liquids that don’t exceed the dosage of medicinal nicotine as found in half of the sample solutions in this study.
Vaping better than Smoking
This research goes a long way to confirming the perception of many people on the safety of e-cigarettes. A recent survey showed that around 70% of the U.S. public believed that e-cigs are less harmful than a typical cigarette.
It will take some more time to sort out any necessary regulation for these cigarette alternatives, but it looks like the usage of electronic cigarettes will continue to increase rapidly as more people discover a safer way of smoking, or vaping as it is called with e-cigs.
A recent study published on June 24, 2013, found a 13% one-year quit rate among smokers who had no interest in quitting, while observing improvements in participants health.
(Caponnetto P, et al. Efficiency and safety of an electronic cigarette as tobacco cigarettes substitute: A prospective 12-month randomized control design study. PLos One 8(6): e66317.)
The clinical trial was conducted in Italy and involved following a group of 300 smokers with no interest in quitting for a period of one year. The participants’ statements of smoking cessation were verified with measurements of exhaled carbon monoxide.
The participants were randomly put into one of three groups;
1. Electronic Cigarettes with 7.2 mg nicotine cartridges for 12 weeks
2. Electronic Cigarettes with 7.2 mg nicotine cartridges for 6 weeks, followed by 5.4 mg for six weeks
3. Electronic Cigarettes with 0 mg nicotine cartridges for 12 weeks
The overall result was that the 12-month smoking cessation rate for Group A was 13%. The combined rate amongst the three groups was 7.8%. Unexpectedly 70% of the people who quit smoking had also quit using their Electronic Cigarette.
Interestingly, the parameters of this study provided almost the worst possible chance to prove the effectiveness of Electronic Cigarettes, yet results still managed to show relatively good numbers. Of the participants, 40% failed to show up for their final assessment and were treated as ‘failed to quit’. There were several other factors that perhaps negatively affected the final results such as; all participants had no known intention of quitting, the e-cigarettes provided are now out of date and not as effective as current models, and participants were provided with very low levels of nicotine. With all these factors hindering the chance to show positive numbers, the results were still similar to regular NRTs (Nicotine Replacement Therapies) on the market. However NRT studies are almost always conducted on participants that have a high desire to quit and have still only managed to generate numbers around the 12% success rate.
The trial also discovered a dramatic reduction in respiratory and smoking related symptoms from all three groups, including far less instances of shortness of breath, dry cough, mouth irritation and headaches. Therefore this study provides the first rigorous scientific evidence that Ecig usage sees improvements in smokers’ health.
There will be more clinical studies in the months and years ahead, which should show far more effective results if conducted under more realistic conditions for a fair comparison against available smoking cessation products.
Due to growing support for the devices, an Australian clinical trial will kick off this year, which we will be covering once the results are published.
People who want to make a change and are tired of their old smoking habit and are considering trying an Electronic cigarette wouldn’t be out-of-line to ask the question “Are Electronic Cigarettes Safe?” and also inquire about its side effects. E-cigarettes are now gaining in popularity due to the convenience, cost savings and how it can potentially make the tobacco free transition easier. Experts and research institutes are often quoted saying that e-cigarettes, although not cleared as perfectly safe, they are seen as much safer than the real cigs because the vapour they procude contains mainly harmless ingredients as opposed to the 4000+ chemical coktail of tobacco smoke.
An important point to consider is that Ecigs do not produce dangerous second hand smoke, which means they are safer for the people around you.
So for people who are looking for an answer to the question “Are Electronic Cigarettes Safe?”, we can say with confidence that almost any alternative is safer than smoking regular cigs and Ecigs look to be magnitudes safer than the real deal. It also lessens the risk of burning down your house or a hole in your new leather couch!
Do Ecigs contain carcinogens?
The FDA reported that electronic cigarettes contain low detectable levels of known carcinogens to which users could potentially be exposed. However, it is vital to illustrate that these potential carcinogens found in the tested FDA samples are also found in many consumer products including beer, bacon, pickles, fish and some meats and cheeses. They are found in electronic cigarettes because the nicotine used is generally extracted from tobacco but the levels are similar to Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRTs) such as nicotine patches and gum. These levels are sometimes hundreds times less than regular cigarettes. You could potentially argue that Ecigs may be hundreds times safer than cigarettes.
Ecig Side Effects
Nearly all reported Side Effects related to Ecig use have been positive such as:
- Breathing Easier – Less Coughing up weird creatures
- 100% reduction of nasty deal-breaking smells
- Increased stamina to use behind closed doors
- More money mysteriously found in your wallet
However there has been reports of some negative ones too:
- Dry throat
- Headache if using too much nicotine
- Increased appetite (a Side Effect of quitting smoking tobacco cigarettes)
Ecigs have been on the market for 10+ years and while nobody knows exactly what the long-term effects might be, however they are likely to be minimal compared to the effects of tobacco smoking.
One of the ingredients found in Electronic Cigarette E-liquid is Propylene glycol.
Propylene glycol is referred to as “PG” in Ecig lingo and is used in many medications, food additives, shampoos, toothpastes and lotions. So you have almost certainly been eating, brushing your teeth and smothering your skin with it for a very long time.
PG is a food base and is used in many artificial flavorings. Recently I was at the supermarket and 4 various McCormick liquid flavorings, including imitation vanilla all contained PG and listed it as an ingredient. It can also be found in many other common household products and the ironic thing is that you’ll also find it along with hundreds of other ingredients in regular cigarettes.
It is also one of the ingredients in some antifreeze products. PG is considered to be safe for human consumption (even injection!) and has been consumed by humans for years with no known health issues. It is FDA approved and out of all ingredients in anti-freeze it is the least to worry about apart from water.
If someone adds water to an arsenic mixture, does that make the water dangerous? Just because PG is added to some antifreeze doesn’t make the PG dangerous by itself.
I think the best gift for a smoker in 2012-2013 is definitely an Electronic Cigarette.
The gift says that you care about the person’s health without telling them to quit but encouraging them to try a smarter alternative that they may not even know about.
Although they have been on the market for more than 10 years, they are still relatively unknown to many and have a certain wow factor. The devices are sold and intended for use by people 18 and over. The devices can be loaded with many interesting flavours and different strengths of nicotine. They are rechargeable and offer considerable savings when compared to traditional cigarettes and have many other benefits that may be the perfect fit for your smoking loved one.
This gift can help them:
- Save lots of money!
- Smell better
- Breathe easier
- Improve self-esteem
- Avoid cigarette burns on skin, clothing and furniture
- Smoke almost anywhere they want
- Avoid expensive anti-smoking drugs
- Lower nicotine content gradually all the way to zero
- Avoid producing dangerous second-hand smoke
- Be more productive at work
- Meet new people – they are a conversation starter
- Save money on insurance
It might just be the best gift they have every received and one they may always remember!