E-Cigarette Safety: The Facts Explained

In this extended (13 minute) video, experts take a deeper look at the evidence on some of the issues that surround the use of e-cigarettes. This is the second of a series of five NCSCT films for the public, part-funded by Public Health England and produced in association with the New Nicotine Alliance.

The professors and experts in the video provide some in depth knowledge of the main topics or queries consumers have when it comes to electronic cigarettes and their safety.

The main points covered were:

1. Components of E-Cigarettes vs. Tobacco Cigarettes

There’s no inhaling of tobacco smoke with e-cigarettes. This is a good thing as it is the components of smoke which leads to the death of many smokers.

Smokers die from the tar and other harmful components of smoke but not nicotine. With e-cigarettes, there is no combustion of tobacco which produces the majority of harmful toxins. E-cigs are all about harm reduction as people can still continue using nicotine but in a less harmful way.

2. Reduce Amount You Smoke

Not only can e-cigarettes be used to reduce the amount you smoke, it can also be used in situations where you’d otherwise normally smoke and many individuals have actually switched to vaping altogether after trying it.

3. Less Hazardous

The experts in this video have described how vaping is much less harmful than smoking. First off, the chemicals found in tobacco cigarettes are far more toxic than those found in electronic cigarettes. Many e-cigs don’t contain these toxins but if they do they are 100 or more times less.

Like all electrical products, e-cigarettes are subject to rigorous safety testing and must conform to safety requirements. More often than not, chargers catch fire because they have been kept in a jacket pocket with money, causing them to become short-circuited. We also have to remember that tobacco cigarettes cause a huge amount of fires each year with many people falling asleep while smoking.

4. E-Cigarette Flavours

The flavours of vape is an important mechanism as it draws users in. Like everything else, these flavours must also be tested to ensure they don’t impose a significant health risk. The chemical glycol, which is found in the flavours, is not harmful and is used in many other products. Although it may be irritant to some users, it doesn’t seem to have any lasting long-term effects.

Breathing in other people’s vape is also nothing compared to breathing in smoke. It is second hand smoke that is really harmful, not vape. How many non-smokers get caught walking behind someone smoking only to realise they are vaping? Even just the smell of tobacco smoke is stomach churning and repulsive, while vape always has a sweet smell.

5. Making the Switch

For some people, the switch is very effective and they quit smoking almost immediately. However, others may not feel confident enough and it may take them a little longer. Often people need to be convinced that e-cigs or other nicotine products can do virtually the same job as smoking. There is also evidence that some people who never wanted to quit in the first place end up on e-cigarettes and have now reduced or completely stopped smoking.

Other issues highlighted in the video include:

–>the safety of e-liquids and vapour, compared to burning dried tobacco leaf products and the substances released by doing so (up to 20 times less harmful);

–>second hand vaping – very low levels of harmful substances, comparable to asthma inhalers;

–>the ‘gateway’ theory;

–>an analogy of smoking vs. driving – steps taken to minimise the harm caused by smoking;

Speakers in this clip include:

–>John Britton – Professor of Epidemiology at University of Nottingham

–>Ann McNeill – Professor of Tobacco Addiction at Kings College London

–>Linda Bauld – Professor of Health Policy at University of Stirling

–>Robert West – Professor of Health Psychology at University College London

–>Clive Bates – Counterfactual Consulting

What’s very interesting to hear from these experts is that smoking rates are going down across the UK. The same can probably be said about the Irish market but we need more promotion and more of our health experts to get on board.

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