Busting the myths about electronic cigarette
Electronic Cigarettes – the untaxed, cheap and only effective alternative to traditional cigarettes have generated much publicity both good and bad. But what is fact and what is fiction – let us explain and you can make up your own mind.
An electronic cigarette such as the popular ego cigarette range is a very simple bit of kit – a battery, a heating element and liquid. The battery heats the wick which evaporates the liquid and you breathe in the vapour – that’s it. Everything else is fancy gadgetry to improve the vaping experience.
It is the liquid that matters most and is where the publicity is targeted. The e-liquid is a mixture of propylene glycol(PG) and vegetable glycerin(VG) along with various levels of nicotine concentrates and a host of flavourings such as fruits, vanilla, cola, coffee, menthol, hookah or even the regular tobacco. The e-liquid is available in bottles as well as in disposable cartridges. The nicotine is most often extracted from tobacco.
Myth 1 ‐ Electronic cigarettes are just as deadly and carcinogenic as tobacco cigarettes.
The FDA found traces of carcinogens in some samples (not the majority) of electronic cigarettes but the levels of nitrosamenes and other harmful substances were at such low levels that they do not pose a health risk.
The majority of studies have not been able to prove a dangerous link to health from electronic cigarettes.
Recently, the National Consumers’ Institute (INC), claimed researchers from the institute had detected alarmingly high levels of formaldehyde, acrolein and acetaldehyde in several of the ten different rechargeable and disposable e-cigarette models they had tested. However, these chemicals were only found in some of the tested models and the institute’s research has not been published and so it is unclear how accurate their findings are. This is especially given no other research has found anything similar.
Tests have also shown that other nicotine products, such as nicotine gum and nicotine patches, also contain chemicals found in some electronic cigarettes and e-liquid.
Myth 2 – Electronic Cigarettes contain anti-freeze
The FDA claimed in 2009 that they had tested electronic cigarettes and found diethylene glycol, an ingredient in anti-freeze. This was only in one sample and no repeat studies have ever made the same findings.
Myth 3 – Electronic Cigarettes are attractive to children
Many feel that the fruit flavours and others such as chocolate and bubblegum will attract teens and children.
Customer research has found that the tobacco‐flavored liquid does not have a pleasant taste for many smokers, as it is difficult to reproduce the tobacco taste. Those studies requested sweeter flavours that would work well with the liquid base. They also say that sweeter flavours make tobacco cigarettes taste particularly bad and further reduce their chances of returning to smoking cigarettes.
In addition, children are attracted to tobacco cigarettes because they are taboo and have a danger appeal attached to them much like alcohol. Electronic Cigarettes are mostly seen as a way to switch to a less dangerous way to smoke and lacks the danger appeal.
Myth 4 – Electronic Cigarettes give smokers an alternative and so they are less likely to quit smoking
Tobacco smoking is declining as fewer people are taking up the habit. However, NRT products like patches and gum have been around for years yet many addicts are still smoking cigarettes. If people start using electronic cigarettes instead, it is no bad thing since they are clearly not as dangerous.
Myth 5 – Electronic cigarettes are dangerously addictive
FDA testing found that some e liquid and electronic cigarettes contained nicotine levels that were different from those advertised. Critics claim that means electronic cigarette users may be inhaling too much nicotine and causing them to become even more addicted.
However, recent tests have shown that E cigarettes do not deliver nicotine as efficiently as conventional cigarettes, which means even if the nicotine levels were slightly higher than advertised people would still be taking in lower levels than when they smoke. Additionally, smokers tend to “self‐regulate” their intake – when they have had their nicotine fix, the smoker no longer has a craving and stops smoking / using an electronic cigarette.