What Are E-Cigarettes?

There is plenty of research and information about cigarettes. For many, this provides a sense of security as we are all aware of the effects smoking has on our body.

But what about e-cigarettes and vapes?  

What are e-cigarettes/vapes?  

Short for electronic cigarettes, e-cigarettes are also commonly known as vapes, or e-cigs, or by their full name “electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)”. They work differently to cigarettes in the sense that rather than burning and producing smoke, e-cigs produce a vapour, which is then inhaled by the user.  

Because they do not burn & produce smoke, there is no carbon monoxide (a poisonous gas caused by burning). There’s also no tar or any of the other 4000+ ingredients found in a cigarette. In fact, there are only four ingredients in an e-liquid; water, nicotine, flavourings, and a propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine base. It’s also important to note that not all e-cigs contain nicotine! 

I’ve heard the term popcorn lung a lot, what is it? 

You may have heard of terms such as ‘popcorn lung’ (bronchiolitis obliterans). This is where the tiny air sacs in the lungs become scarred and constricted – resulting in no air movement.  

The term popcorn lung first came about in 2004. This was when the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported multiple cases of ‘popcorn lung’ in workers in a microwave popcorn plant in Missouri in 2000. One of the flavourings agents (diacetyl) used to give the popcorn a buttery taste was found to cause popcorn lung when inhaled.  

Can vaping cause popcorn lung? 

Probably not. However, a single US study published in 2016 looked at whether e-cigarette liquids available at the time contained diacetyl. It found that 39 of the 51 e-liquid flavours tested contained some level of diacetyl. The idea that e-cigarettes could cause popcorn lung came from this study.  

However, this study didn’t look at whether there was a link between e-cigarette use and popcorn lung in people. So far, there’s no good evidence that e-cigarettes could cause popcorn lung. 

In the UK, diacetyl was banned in e-cigarette liquids under the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) in 2016. So, e-liquids sold in the UK shouldn’t contain diacetyl. 

We would always advise that if you buy any liquids or devices, you buy from a licensed reputable shop.   

Should I consider vaping? 

If you’re someone who has never smoked before, it is not a great idea to start. Nicotine is so highly addictive. But if you are already addicted to nicotine through cigarettes then vaping is by far the better option, as there is no carbon monoxide or tar, which are the most harmful parts of the cigarettes. 

Our advice is… “If you do not smoke… do not vape. If you do smoke… consider vaping instead”. 

See the video below for Public Health England‘s advice on e-cigarette use:

Is vaping safe? 

The fact is, that although e-cigarettes are not 100% safe, they are 95% less harmful than smoking. So, if it’s a toss-up between vaping or smoking then vaping is by far the ‘healthier’ choice. 

The problem comes when someone chooses to start vaping, then something happened to their vape, it breaks, or leaks or they just forget to bring it out to the pub on a Friday night. They then think it is ok to smoke. No, there is no safe amount of smoking, even one will cause damage. 

So, if you are considering switching to vaping from smoking… be sure to only vape.  

Lastly, as vaping is so new, we are unsure of the long-term health implications of using the device, so we would recommend that you don’t vape forever. 

Do you have any advice on buying an e-cigarette? 

Buy the best vape you can afford – speak to the experts in the shop. They will let you try different vapes and flavours and help you get the right product for you. Remember, when you started to smoke you had to get the ‘right technique’, it’s the same with vaping.  

You can buy liquids with varying amounts of nicotine. As with using a nicotine patch where you would reduce the amount of nicotine over a 3-month period, it is worth considering doing the same with a vape to quit smoking. 

How can we help?

The Surrey Stop smoking service can help with planning your quit attempt and it’s always easier with the support of those who specialise in nicotine addiction. 

Want more information?  

Give us a call on 01737 652168 or click below – we’d be happy to help.  

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