Despite what you may believe or expect, the jury is out on vaping. In January the medical world was stunned by research from the New England Journal of Medicine entitled “Hidden Formaldehyde in E-Cigarette Aerosols”, which found the apparent production of lethal chemicals in the e-cigarette vaping process.

Barely three months later a contradictory study was unveiled in vapeaboutit.com, featuring the work of renowned cardiologist Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos, who believes that the original study was fatally flawed, that e-cigarettes are at least 95% safer than smoking, and that smokers should swap over.

So what to do? Should all smokers toss away their pack of 20 and reach for their e-cigarette and liquids? Or might the 2.6 million adults in Great Britain who use e-cigarettes be no worse off with tobacco?

The simple answer, with a complex background story, is: It depends on the chemicals. A basic, common or garden e-cigarette should contain just four basic chemicals: propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, flavourings and nicotine.

The glycerin and glycol ethers are used as liquid carriers for the other parts, and are not harmful. In themselves then, these elements should be fine, although of course the addictive qualities of nicotine are well-established.

One of the main selling points of e-cigarettes is that the purchaser knows exactly how much nicotine is being ‘vaped’, giving a level of control that cigarettes somewhat lacked. Therefore, if created in a responsible manner, by professional, regulated companies, the purchaser should know the chemical construction of their e-cigarette and can easily search online for anything on which they are unsure.

So one might believe that the only dangerous game being played in this field comes when one gambles with an e-cigarette that looks the part but was produced in a back-alley laboratory, free of regulation and heavy with potentially dangerous substances. And yes, the internet is replete with horror stories of nasty surprises in vaping chemicals and incorrect usage, but the story is not quite as clear-cut.

For example, In Newcastle diacetyl, which is actually fine to eat but lethal to smoke, was found in a leading e-liquid brand. A recent study reported in the Independent completed by researchers in Portland State university in Oregon found that chemicals used to add flavour to e-cigarettes are fine when eaten, but dangerous when ‘vaped’. Six of 24 identified compounds were recognised as primary respiratory irritants, which could be harmful, even though the products were marketed as safe. Chinese e-juice has a reputation for being manufactured with pesticide-grade nicotine, and a lack of regulation.

Let’s assume that in such a thriving market the vast majority of e-cigarettes are fine, but for some reason you are concerned about a batch in your possession. It goes without saying that one should not vape if you suspect something may be amiss. If it’s ‘too’ cheap, with fatuous claims and no list of ingredients and poor-quality packaging, then the alarm bells should ring.

E-liquid testing by EL-Science is one safe option; simply send an e-liquid to the Peterborough-based laboratory which will scan for unwanted chemicals such as diacetyl, acetylpropionyl and acetoin. That also means that if you’ve created your own e-liquid and are keen to put it to market you’ll now have an industry-standard analysis for your labelling, which will give peace of mind. It’s only with rigorous testing such as this that we can be reassured of the quality and contents of an e-liquid. Otherwise take the renegade fluid to a police station or hospital – making sure it goes nowhere near your mouth.

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One Comment

  1. All e liquid should be tested before being made available to the public, all e juice company’s out there should be making sure that the industry as a whole is working together to make vaping safe for everyone.

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