What is vaping? Is it safe? Why is it so popular? These are just some of the many questions surrounding the vaping industry as a whole. Let's look at a few of these questions and see if I can't provide some answers.
What is Vaping?
This is how Merriam-Webster defines vaping: to inhale vapor through the mouth from a usually battery operated electronic device (such as an electronic cigarette) that heats up and vaporizes either a liquid or solid. This definition is pretty general and lacks any real detail. With a definition like that it's pretty easy to see why a lot of folks are just plain confused about what vaping is. In layman's terms vaping is the inhalation of a vaporized liquid that may or may not contain nicotine. E-liquids usually contain minimal ingredients such as PG or propylene glycol, VG or vegetable glycerin, food grade flavorings, possibly water, and possibly nicotine depending on the liquid. The vapor produced contains no tar or other hazardous chemicals that are usually associated with cigarette smoking. The FDA somehow classifies vaping as a tobacco product though. I don't remember seeing tobacco mentioned in Merriam-Webster's definition nor mine. The FDA's classification has also lead to a lot of backlash from the vaping community. Many people attribute their ability to quit smoking traditional cigarettes to vaping. In fact even the CDC acknowledges that vaping is the most used form of smoking cessation behind quitting cold turkey and progressively cutting back your daily cigarettes. Vaping has taken people's desire to quit smoking and turned it into a multi-million dollar industry. The people who are vaping now are the same people that had no luck with the gums, patches, lozenges, or the many other smoking cessation products on the market. For these reasons the FDA has currently put a 90 day delay on it's deeming regulations toward vaping. They are said to be using this time to look further into vaping and possibly overturn or re-write some of the current regulations. Fingers crossed!
Is Vaping Safe?
That's another great question that is swirling in controversy. Depending on who you listen to, vaping is either the next best thing since sliced bread or the ruin of mankind as we know it. The UK is the pro-vaping dog in this fight. It seems that almost every article coming out of the UK states that vaping is 95% safer than smoking actual cigarettes. They agree that vaping isn't 100% safe, (what really is?), but rather a form of harm reduction compared to smoking. And they aren't just making an educated guess. These findings are coming from the Royal College of Physicians. Vaping has been around much longer in the UK than it has in the US. This has allowed the Royal College of Physicians more time to do more in-depth studies on the vaping industry. The US on the other hand seems to be stuck in the stone age. It seems at least half of the studies conducted here come out saying that vaping is the worst thing they've ever seen. They base their findings more on conjecture than fact it seems. When you look into some of the studies that have been don in the US you actually end up laughing if you're a vaper.
A study that was released stated that harmful chemicals were released when the e-liquid was vaporized. Sounds somewhat reasonable until you understand what they did for the test. The test seemed simple enough, wrap some coils, add some cotton and a little bit of e-liquid, and then hit the fire button. The problem with the test was the researchers turned the wattage on the device up way too high and fired it repeatedly. This caused the e-liquid to burn off quickly and combust the cotton. This of course created harmful byproducts that are harmful to inhale. The issue with this test is that there was no common sense involved. No vaper, experienced or new, would vape under these conditions for a prolonged period of time. Think of the first dry hit you ever took. Would you do it again on purpose? Not only that, would you continue doing it day in and day out as your preferred method of vaping? No! As a matter of fact, HELL NO! This test proved nothing other than if you inhale the fumes from combusted cotton it is harmful to you. That my friends is common sense. Also, none of the ingredients used to create e-liquid are known to harmful or cancer causing. Go ahead, look it up.
Why is vaping so popular?
Vaping has gained immense popularity for one simple reason, it works. Like I stated before, even the CDC recognizes that. Today's vaper has probably tried to quit cold turkey, eaten packs of nicotine gum, and sucked on several tins of nicotine lozenges. They have plastered themselves with nicotine patches, tried cutting down their daily cigarette consumption, and maybe even tried acupuncture or hypnosis. Problem is they go right back to smoking. How do I know this? I was that guy. I tried all of the above several times. I was almost successful once with the cold turkey method. I had quit for almost 2 years that way. Then I had a major stressor come up in my life and guess what the first thing I did was? You guessed it, I bought a pack of cigarettes. What's different today? Is my life just that great that I have no stress and I just sit back and vape all day? Yes and no. Vaping gives me the ability to change my nicotine levels. I usually vape a 3mg nicotine juice but I keep a 12mg juice sitting around for those stressful days. This allows me to reach for the "high power" stuff when things get a little hectic without resorting to going to the store and buying a pack of cigarettes. And that my friends is the true reason vaping has become so popular. The fact that I stay vaping when presented with the situations that used to cause me to smoke a cigarette speaks volumes. Not to mention vaping becomes a hobby for some folks. Vaping allows people to build their own devices, their own coils, even their own e-liquids, and truly customize their vaping experience. You can't do that with a pack of cigarettes!