How safe is vaping?
Smoking or vaping, or sticking nicotine patches? Which way is best, or should we all just completely quit all these addictive products? How safe is vaping actually, and what is in e-liquid?
What is in an e-cigarette?
An electric cigarette is basically a very simple device with a battery. A filament, covered with mostly cotton, is heated to vaporize a liquid which is then inhaled. The Kanthal thread is harmless, as is the cotton. An e-cigarette is therefore in itself a very safe product. But what about the liquid that is being evaporated?
Tobacco in a cigarette contains thousands of substances, most of which are harmful when burned. E-liquids consist of only a few ingredients:
- Vegetable Glycerin (VG): This thick liquid is known to be completely safe to inhale and is found in many foods.
- Propylene Glycol (PG): This thinner liquid is safe to inhale, but can cause (mild) allergic reactions. If this is the case, you can opt for 100% VG e-liquids.
- Water: Optional to obtain the correct viscosity.
- Aroma: To give a flavor to the vapor, ranging from tobacco to fruit flavors.
- Nicotine: Optional, to keep ex-smokers off the cigarettes.
Nicotine, in particular, is controversial because it is an addictive substance. However, this substance is not the reason that smokers get cancer and experience other physical complaints. That's really because of the tar, soot, and other harmful substances in cigarette smoke. Liquids without nicotine are also available.
Vaping as a last resort
If you cannot quit smoking on your own, e-cigarettes can offer an alternative. It is not yet known whether an electric cigarette without nicotine can be harmful to health in the long term. The substances in e-liquids have been extensively researched and certainly not new, this method of inhalation is more recent. Most scientists agree that in any case, vaping is much less harmful than smoking, and that even quitting later in life makes a difference to health.