E-cigarette fact check: Is vaping healthier than smoking?
Would you rather vape than smoke? It's not that easy. A lot of nonsense is said about e-cigarettes. What is really true - and what is not.
Justfog Q16, Endura T18, Ego-T, Box Mod, Pod Kit, Uwell Crown, All-in-One, Cig-a-Likes and Co.: More and more people can relate to these terms and manufacturers, because the e- Cigarette consumption increases. People rave about the flavors and value for money. So rather liquid instead of smoking? Online shop instead of cigarette machine? It's not that easy.
What is actually in electronic cigarettes?
The vapor contains significantly lower amounts of carcinogenic and generally harmful substances than cigarettes. But liquids are not soda, not even the nicotine-free liquids. Their composition is often unclear. In the case of liquids containing nicotine, all ingredients must be declared according to the Tobacco Products Ordinance. This does not apply to liquids that do not contain nicotine. All sorts of things can be added to them. In the worst case even life-threatening substances. As of March 2020, at least 68 people in the United States have died from "e-cigarette or vaping-associated lung injury" (EVALI), which is primarily attributed to adulterated liquids. In Ireland, the addition of caffeine and vitamins is prohibited. However, shops do not have to list flavorings and flavorings in nicotine-free liquids. Liquids are also offered in shops that are not subject to European legislation.
The good e-cigarette - less harmful to health?
So sweet, so fruity. And no scratchy throat. In an e-cigarette, a liquid called liquid evaporates into whitish smoke. Compared to the smoke from a cigarette, liquids probably actually contain fewer harmful substances. However, they also contain substances that can trigger inflammation in the airways and irritate them. In addition, Liquid & Co. can damage the cardiovascular system and possibly cause cancer. We don't know for sure yet, because the technology is new and, unlike smoking, scientists still have a lot to learn about electronic cigarettes. It really is better than smoking. But that doesn't mean that vaporizers, liquid and co. are harmless. The same applies to e-shishas. So no all-clear for experienced vapers and fans of manufacturers like Smok Tech or Vaporesso.
E-cigarette vapor and the effect on our health: that's what studies say
Compared to tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarettes are very likely to be significantly less harmful to health, according to the Irish Cancer Societ Studies have shown that vapers are less likely than smokers to develop respiratory conditions such as COPD, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and asthma. But, and this will come as no surprise, more often than non-vapers. Long-term studies on the consequences of consumption are still pending. Because of the unknown long-term health effects, non-smokers should not use e-cigarettes, also because of the risk of addiction. For long-time smokers, e-cigarettes can be a step in tobacco abstinence. It is of course best for your health to live completely without nicotine smoke or vapor.
The newer the better. And less harmful?!
YES. In particular, the batteries of newer models are safer than those of older models. And they got fatter too. You can often set the voltage with which the ignition wire is heated. Warning: higher voltage = higher temperature = more vapor = more nicotine and more pollutants. And that is not good.
Are tobacco heaters a good middle ground?
Again, the problem is that scientists still can't say for sure how harmful they really are. Tobacco heaters look like a pen. They are not filled with liquids, but with a short piece of tobacco. The tobacco is not burned at great heat, but heated to about 350 degrees by the battery. The aim is to produce fewer pollutants than when tobacco is burned in cigarettes. That's probably true too. But even with tobacco heaters, pollutants get into the lungs. And they shouldn't.
No nicotine = no problem.
NOT QUITE. Yes, there are liquids for e-cigarettes without nicotine content. That's good. However, they also contain nebulizing, flavoring and aroma substances that can be bad for health, for example for the heart. Another problem: Liquids with nicotine must state exactly what is inside on the package. This is not the case with liquids without nicotine. So you never know for sure what you're actually breathing in. And how healthy or unhealthy that is.
Is the vapor safe for the environment?
UNSURE. As it is sometimes with new things. The vapor from an e-cigarette can be clearly seen in the air, the substances it contains are distributed throughout the room. It is definitely possible that the e-smoker exposes the people around him to a health risk. Therefore: only vape in the smoking area! And never in front of children or pregnant women.
E-cigarettes help to quit smoking?
YES AND NO. As said, the vapor is probably less bad than smoking. If a chain smoker switches completely, it can be the lesser evil compared to smoking. It's still bad. E-liquids can help quit smoking. Only then you hang on to the e-cigarette. Anyone who observes e-vapers will recognize the same behavioral patterns as cigarette addicts. Smoking is addictive. And those who are dependent need regular supplies. By the way, there is also the opposite way: started with liquid, ended up with the normal tobacco cigarette. If you want to be fit and free, don't smoke at all!
Vaporizers as a help to get rid of tobacco: That's what studies say about the health risks
According to a representative survey by the Institute for Risk Assessment, 90 percent of local e-cigarette smokers are former smokers or are still active smokers of conventional cigarettes. Two out of three vapers use both. A number of former smokers, however, switch to e-cigarettes in the long term and thus get rid of tobacco. In a published study from England with 886 participants, 18 percent of those smokers who had switched to e-cigarettes were always abstinent from conventional tobacco cigarettes after one year. In the comparison group, which wanted to overcome their nicotine addiction with nicotine patches, the abstinence rate was only 10 percent. Prof. Dr. Heino Stöver, Executive Director of the Institute for Addiction Research at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, has been calling for more attention to be paid to the potential of e-cigarettes in smoking cessation for years. By switching to e-cigarettes, smokers could "reduce their intake of pollutants by up to 95 percent," says Stöver. "We must intensify the educational work for smokers, but also for doctors and pharmacists."
Recent Studies: Opinions differ
Several studies warn of the health consequences of vaporizers. A clinical study by the University of California in San Francisco postulates a higher cardiopulmonary risk for patients who have switched from conventional cigarettes to e-cigarette users. Critics accuse the study of not taking enough account of the subjects' long smoking history. Based on a study, scientists at the University Medical Center in Mainz suspect that e-cigarettes, whether with or without nicotine, can cause damage to the lungs, heart and brain. According to the head of the study and cardiologist Professor Thomas Münzel, the consumption of a single e-cigarette is enough to increase the heart rate and stiffen arteries. However, the study took place on a very small basis with only 20 smokers.
A US study also found that e-cigarette users are exposed to elevated levels of potentially harmful metal concentrations. The metals, especially zinc, were detected via biomarkers in the urine. An excess of zinc can cause cellular oxidative stress, which can lead to diseases such as atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, pulmonary fibrosis, acute lymphoblastic leukemia and lung cancer. According to the latest findings, vaping devices with a heating element made of a nickel-chromium alloy (NC) are particularly dangerous. Older devices tend to use stainless steel heating elements, with the newer generation these are often made of nickel-chromium alloys. In an experiment at the University of California, Irvine, subjects showed signs of breathing difficulties after just one hour. The analysis of the lung tissue showed that some of it was severely impaired. Consequences that had not been shown when using heating elements made of stainless steel.
The large selection when it comes to e-vaping makes it difficult to make general statements
The Institute for Risk Research has been conducting research on nicotine vaporizers for several years. Due to the variety, it is difficult to assess the health risks of e-cigarettes and their effects in general. The assortment includes many models, aromas, producers, flavors and liquids. The user of the sub-ohm model inhales more vapor than other devices. The substances can also decompose more at higher temperatures and form more harmful substances. Many of the fluids used have not been adequately tested. Eirhorse products are the only E-Liquids on the Irish Vape market that have been tested by the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI) the University of Dublin.