Is vaping safe? Man that's a fun question. It really depends on where you get your information from. The two leading sources in vaping research are the UK and the US. And like I said, depending on who you listen to you'll get two totally different stories. Let's explore the major differences between the UK and US ideologies on the vaping industry shall we?
What's in your e-liquid?:
Let's start by analyzing what goes into a commonly manufactured e-liquid. The 5 recognized ingredients that make up e-liquids are as follows: (PG) propylene glycol, (VG) vegetable glycerin, nicotine (not used in all juices), food grade flavorings, and sometimes water. So let me break down each one.
Propylene Glycol (PG): Non-cancer causing. Read the bottom right of the first page.
Vegetable Glycerin (VG): Might make you poop or give you a headache. But no cancer.
Nicotine: Strike 3. It's the tar that causes cancer folks, not the nicotine.
Food grade flavorings: These are the same flavorings used in your day to day foods. The biggest no-no in the industry was diacetyl which has since been removed from all responsible flavor vendor's ingredient lists. Can't say that about cigarette companies now can we?
Water: Unless the water comes from Flint Michigan, water hasn't been proven to cause cancer.
Some companies do add artificial sweeteners to their juices. These sweeteners fall under the food grade flavorings category. The only real harm they do is gunking up your coils a bit and make you change your cotton a bit more frequently. None of the ingredients listed above have proven to be harmful so as far as safety goes, so far so good. Let's see what the UK has to say.
Vaping has been popular much longer in the UK much than it has in the US. This has given the Royal College of Physicians more time to study vaping as a whole and the effects it has on the human body. According to them vaping is actually 95% safer than the smoking of actual cigarettes. Nothing is 100% safe, not even the air we breathe. So for vaping to be 95% less harmful than smoking a cigarette is pretty damn good in my opinion. The Royal College of Physicians has stated several times based on their findings that not only is it safer but they actually encourage smokers to use electronic vaping devices to quit smoking. You won't see that in the articles commonly published in the US. The UK has also hosted vaping summits over the past few years to actually discuss the benefits of vaping and assuage some of the fears their government may have. While this paints a very hopeful picture, the UK is currently going through some very harsh regulations aimed at the vaping industry as well as the tobacco industry. It seems the UK has also lumped e-cigarettes in with tobacco products just like they have here in the US. Speaking of the US, let's see what their thoughts are on the matter.
The US seems to be very conflicted when it comes to vaping. The medical community is extremely divided between pro and anti vaping. It's almost impossible to get a straight answer here in the states. You have the anti vaping side that provides their findings from testing they did that swears vaping is as dangerous if not more dangerous than actual cigarette smoking. What they fail to tell you is that their testing methods, while scientific, contain no common sense when it comes to application. One such study stated that vaping at high wattages released high levels of toxic substances. This is absolutely true. But if you only read the headline and don't take the time to read the actual study then you will find yourself grossly misinformed. Let me see if I can break that test down in a quick nutshell. These fine folks built some coils, added cotton, and coated the cotton in e-liquid. So far so good. Where the disregard of common sense comes in is what occurs afterwards. The scientists then proceeded to fire the vaping device several times at a very high wattage. This in turn caused the e-liquid to vaporize quickly, drying out the cotton. The cotton then went up into flames and released the toxic chemicals. Think about that. That's like taking dry hit after dry hit. Who does that? I don't. Neither do you. The premise behind the test was sound but the execution was all wrong. In their study vaping is absolutely bad for you. But let's be honest folks, that's not vaping. It may meet the definition of vaping in Merriam-Webster but it makes absolutely no sense.
Who is really behind these studies in the US?:
This is a great question actually. I'm sure you're familiar with companies providing grants for research on certain things right? Well let me paint a picture and I'll let you draw your own conclusions. University A wants to do a study on the effects of vaping. University A reaches out for grant money in order to finance their research. Company B, a pharmaceutical company hypothetically, reaches out to University A and says they'll give them the money to do the research. Let's also say hypothetically that Company B is a major manufacturer of top selling smoking cessation products on the market. So University A does their testing and hypothetically finds that vaping isn't as bad as everyone says it is. They present Company B with their findings and ask for more money to finish their research. Company B doesn't want to hear that vaping is a safer alternative because it will cost them potentially billions of dollars in lost revenue if people use e-cigarettes instead of their cessation products. Company B says to University A that they will give them more money for this project and potentially fund future research projects with just a little catch. If University A is willing to maybe say vaping isn't all that great that would be a great help to Company B. Again, this is situation is purely hypothetical. This wouldn't ACTUALLY happen in the good old US of A would it? Would it?