As the popularity of e-cigarettes rises, so does the confusion surrounding them, it seems. The more you read about e-cigs, the more conflicting information there is to be found. To help you decide whether e-cigs are right for you, we answer a few of the more popular and frequently asked questions about them.
Are e-cigs safe? There is much debate and discussion regarding the safety of e-cigs. Studies from across the world have found conflicting results. However, many agree that compared to smoking tobacco cigarettes, e-cigs are safer. A recent UK study by Public Health England ruled that e-cigs are 95 percent safer than tobacco cigarettes, which call for a user to inhale a smoke that contains thousands of chemicals.
In general, e-cigs are for smokers who wish to stop and use a healthier alternative. They are a harm reduction device. Any substance that contains nicotine – an addictive stimulant similar to caffeine – has its risks. But taking out the toxic tobacco smoke and replacing it with a smokeless vapor reduces the risk of harm when compared to traditional cigarettes. Also, e-cigs can be purchased without any nicotine at all, reducing the risk of addiction as well.
Do e-cigarettes contain anti-freeze? This is a popular myth based on an outdated U.S. Food and Drug Administration study. Currently, the base liquid in e-cigs in propylene glycol, which is “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA. Propylene glycol is commonly found in many cosmetics, foods and medicines. Interestingly, it is also the substance that helps fog machines create mock smoke at concerts and stage performances.
Can e-cigs help me quit smoking? Public Health England in August 2015 released their study about e-cigs, stating that the devices can help people stop smoking tobacco. E-cigs not only can provide the nicotine smokers crave minus the smoke, they also give users an experience similar to smoking tobacco – inhaling and exhaling a smoke-like cloud. Even though in this case the smoke is actually a nearly odorless, quickly dissipating vapor, it mimics the feel of smoking that many have come to consider an important part of their habit.
Public Health England supports e-cigs being marketed as smoking cessation devices similar to nicotine patches and gums, but fears misinformation about them is keeping some smokers from converting to e-cigs. They cite statistics that show an increasing number of people – 22 percent compared with 8 percent two years ago – think e-cigs are just as harmful or more harmful than tobacco. As a result, they say some smokers are choosing not to switch because they believe e-cigs are no safer than their usual tobacco smokes.
Those in favor of e-cigs being used to combat tobacco smoking say the public needs to be educated that although e-cigs can contain addictive nicotine, they do not contain more dangerous chemicals such as the tar and arsenic often found in tobacco.
Can I use e-cigs anywhere? In short, no. Many local communities have banned e-cig usage outright due to concerns that they are as harmful as tobacco cigarettes. Even at public, outdoor venues, using an e-cig can be illegal and cause those around you to become upset. While it might be tempting to break these rules – which are often based on inaccurate beliefs about the dangers of e-cigs – before you vape it is wise to check out the rules and follow them accordingly.
These are just some of the frequently asked questions regarding e-cigs. In future blogs, we will answer more so that you can make a fully informed decision about whether e-cigs are right for you.