Knowledge is Power: What we Have Learned
Welcome to our 12th edition of the Knowledge is Power blog series. Over the past several weeks we have looked at many different controversial aspects surrounding e-cigs and vaping. Today we’re going to summarize all we have learned.
Our goal in this series was not to tell you what to believe, but rather to give you the information you need to make a knowledgeable decision on your own. Here is a quick summary of everything we have learned throughout this series:
- In Health Effects of Vaping vs. Smoking1 we discovered that people smoke mostly because of the nicotine; nicotine users die mostly because of the smoke. Nothing in life can be classified as 100% safe, however e-cigarettes can be an attractive, low-risk alternative to smoking.
- In Vaping as a Smoking Cessation Tool2 we found that e-cigs have a larger public reach than any other Nicotine Replacement Therapy(NRT), so even if they are only as effective they could have a huge effect on public health. The harm reduction stance recognizes that there will always be people using nicotine, and if we can provide a safer alternative than tobacco, that we should offer that option to the public.
- In Nicotine – Deadly Poison or Promising Medicine3 we realized that the effects of nicotine are similar to those of caffeine. For years, nicotine and tobacco have been thought to be the same thing, creating a tobacco-esque stigma applied to the mention of nicotine. There are many positive effects that can be derived by utilizing nicotine.
- In E-Juice-What’s Inside4 we confirmed that e-juice contains only 4 ingredients: Propylene Glycol (PG) used for over 50 years in a variety of applications, including pharmaceutical aerosol applications; Vegetable Glycerine (VG) in which no toxicity concerns have been found; Nicotine which we have already discussed; and Flavorings which are all FDA recognized as Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS).
- In The Truth About Diacetyl5 we discovered The amount of diacetyl in a traditional cigarette is 110 times higher than amounts found in the e-liquids tested. As there are no documented cases of popcorn-lung being developed from smoking, I would conclude that the levels of diacetyl found in some e-cig juice is relatively safe.
- In Nicotine Absorption when Vaping6 we found that 5 minutes of vaping is the equivalent of approximately ¼ of smoking a cigarette as far as nicotine absorption. Plus, while the amount of nicotine in e-juice establishes a baseline for nicotine exposure, the hardware used and the way you vape make a difference in the amount you absorb as well.
- In What About the Children Part 1 – Advertising & Selling to Minors7 we discussed marketing as a valid part of any business. Exposure to youth has increased, and that is certainly affected by the fact that there is more advertising in general. However, understanding how marketing is conducted, and the key demographics being targeted, should be taken into consideration. This is especially true when the key demographics for the advertisements in question were all aimed at people of legal smoking age. We support restricting sale of nicotine products to only those of legal smoking age.
- In What About the Children Part 2 – E-Liquid Safety8 we realized the reality of the danger of nicotine is not as overwhelming as it may seem when looking at the daily headlines. Even so, nicotine can be harmful and precautions should be taken. We use child-proof safety caps and strongly encourage storage of e-juice in a cabinet or on a high shelf.
- In What About the Children Part 3 – The Allure of Flavors9 we agreed, it’s true that children like candy flavors. However, that does not mean that all products created in these flavors are for marketing to children. There is evidence that these flavors are a contributing factor in ex-smokers utilizing e-cigarettes to quit using tobacco. Grown-ups like flavors too.
- In Is Vaping a Gateway to Tobacco10 we discovered that the study published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regarding concerns of vaping as a gateway to smoking was flawed. Studies conducted since have shown that concerns of transitioning from vaping to traditional cigarettes is unfounded.
- Finally, in Finding the Sweet Spot in Legislation11 we concluded that there are regulations that will offer safety and security to vapers, not just limitations. The key is finding the sweet spot where vapers are protected and can ensure they are receiving safe equipment, without over-restriction limiting access.
As always, I encourage everyone to educate themselves. Read the blogs listed in the references below, and learn more about the different aspects of vaping. We can only make a difference if our voices are heard. In order to do that, we must be on the same page and be promoting a community of positive support and education. Come back next week when we ask, based on what we know, why is there so much controversy? Until then, we look forward to your questions and comments. Vape on!
Written by: Michelle Harnden
- Health Effects of Vaping vs. Smoking
- Vaping as a Smoking Cessation Tool
- Nicotine – Deadly Poison or Promising Medicine
- E-Juice – What’s Inside
- The Truth About Diacetyl
- Nicotine Absorption When Vaping
- What About the Children Part 1 – Advertising & Selling to Minors
- What About the Children Part 2 – E-Liquid Safety
- What About the Children Part 3 – The Allure of Flavors
- Is Vaping a Gateway to Tobacco?
- Finding the Legislation Sweet Spot