‘Vaping’: is it really as safe as we think?

Published on by Eliza-Joan Garvey (author), Emily Huelin (editor)

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It is thought that nearly three million people in the UK now regularly use e-cigarettes, this is four times more people than in 2012. Little is still known about the medical risks of vaping, nevertheless people are more inclined to now pick up an e-cigarette instead of an actual cigarette.

The popular electronic device was featured in this year’s ‘Stoptober’ campaign for the first time. Stoptober is a 28-day campaign by Public Health England beginning on the 1st of October. To date the campaign has aided over one million people to attempt to quit smoking, the promotion is based on research that has shown if you are able to stop smoking for at least 28 days, you are five times more likely to be able to stay smoke free for longer. 

These smoking devices are proving to be the most popular and effective way for quitting. However, they are yet to be officially prescribed on the NHS. There are currently no types of e-cigarette on the market that are seen as licensed medicines. While e-cigarettes do not produce toxins such as tar and carbon monoxide, which are conventionally found in a normal cigarette, there have been studies to show that the actual vapour from e-cigarettes contain potentially harmful chemicals. You will also find these chemicals in cigarette smoke, but the chemicals come at a much lower level in e-cigarettes. 

The laws towards vaping were amended on 20th of May this year, altering the guidance to how much you are able to fill up your e-cigarette. According to the UK Vaping Laws of 2017 the maximum refill is not allowed to exceed ten millilitres, this will in turn increase the cost of e-liquid as packaging makes up a significant amount of the production cost. There is now maximum nicotine strength of 20 milligrams to be used in an e-cigarette, this could come as a blow for new users who are breaking out from a heavy smoking habit. 

Before the new 2017 laws came into play 24 milligrams was the common allowed strength to help initially kick a cigarette habit. While 2017 has been a big year for the change in e-cigarettes it has meant that smaller businesses are suffering and consequently shutting down resulting in a massive reduction of products being offered and sold to customers but also the inflation of prices on products because of this. 

While the ‘World Health Organisation’ has expressed many concerns over the public use of e-cigarettes, ‘Public Health England’ has said: “vaping may be 95% safer than smoking tobacco”. 

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