Are E-Cigs Harmful?
Wednesday, 27 April 2016 | Admin
Are e-cigs harmful? If you're smoking cigarettes and thinking of switching over to vaping, naturally the health implications are going to be high up on your list of priorities. Recent studies have apparently discovered that smoking is bad for you, so surely anything that could help you kick the habit is a good thing, right?
Well yes, probably. As science, personal experience and the NHS suggest, e-cigs are a great alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes. Are they harmful though? Well, that depends on your definition.
Vaping Vs Smoking
The process of vaping differs significantly from smoking, and it's definitely an improvement since many of the toxic chemicals are produced when something is burned. Vaping merely consists of heating up the e-liquid until it vaporises (turns into vapour), and then that vapour is inhaled. Smoking requires the combustion of the tobacco, and this combustion reaction produces some unwelcome by-products.
A quick test is just to inhale some e-liquid from your vaporiser then blow it out onto a piece of tissue paper. The paper will still be nearly white. If this is done with a cigarette the paper will be severely discoloured. While this isn't the most scientific of experiments it at least shows that not as many substances are staying in your lungs when you vape, whereas tar in particular stays in your lungs when you smoke.
Flavour of the Month
One area there has been some concern with regards to e-cigs has been the flavourings. While it's nice to be able to vape almost every flavour combination you can imagine, some of these flavours might contain questionable substances. The trouble is, with the current lack of regulations governing e-cigs it's hard to know exactly what's going into them. This means that it's more important than ever to buy from reputable sources (cough... Vape Mountain...) and steer clear of any deals that seem too good to be true.
Nicotine, as anti-vape campaigners will say, is a harmful substance. However, while it is addictive, in the quantities associated with vaping the nicotine would seem to pose little risk. The myriad other chemicals in cigarettes/cigarette smoke are the ones to blame for cancer, heart and lung disease, such as tobacco, tar and carbon monoxide. Nicotine itself is just a stimulant in small doses, and while it's not ideal to be addicted to anything, no one would bat an eyelid if you're one of the people who can't function without coffee every day.
Other arguments state that you risk nicotine poisoning, but for that to happen you would effectively have to drink the bottle of e-liquid, and even then it might not be enough to be fatal (though we don't recommend trying this out). Drinking shampoo probably wouldn't be very good for you either, but it hasn't been vilified in the same way as nicotine has.
Are They Harmful Then?
Harmful is a relative term. While it would be foolish to suggest that vaping is harmless, it seems almost certain that it's less harmful than smoking, making it a good alternative. Long-term effects can't be studied unless we discover time travel in the next couple of years, but e-cigs are a calculated risk that many people have had positive results from.