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Royal College of Physicians: Vaping Can ‘Prevent Almost All The Harm From Smoking

Royal College Of Physicians Says E-Cigarettes Can ‘Prevent Almost All The Harm From Smoking’

“Smokers who use nicotine products as a means of cutting down on smoking are more likely to make quit attempts,” the RCP says. “Promoting wider use of consumer nicotine products, such as e-cigarettes, could therefore substantially increase the number of smokers who quit.”

In England, the RCP notes, e-cigarettes have surpassed nicotine replacement therapy (NRT, i.e., gum, patches, nasal spray, etc.) as an alternative to smoking. While the evidence so far is limited, it suggests that e-cigarettes are at least as effective as NRT in helping smokers quit, and there is reason to believe they will work better for many people, since vaping more closely resembles the activity it is supposed to replace.

The National Health Service’s Stop Smoking Services (SSSs) recently started to help smokers trying to quit with e-cigarettes, and the early data are promising. “The average quit rate in all smokers using SSSs was around 51%, and among e-cigarette users it was 66%,” the RCP reports. “Although factors other than the product itself are likely to be involved in this difference, the finding is certainly consistent with high efficacy as a cessation therapy.”

Data from England indicate that “smokers who use e-cigarettes at least daily are indeed twice as likely to make a quit attempt, or else to reduce their smoking, [as] those who do not.” Although that study did not find that e-cigarette use made success more likely, “independent clinical trials and observational data from the Smoking Toolkit Study [a British survey] indicate that e-cigarette use is associated with an increased chance of quitting successfully.”

Ilona Orshansky uses a vaping device at her e-cigarette shop in Brooklyn (Image: Timothy Fadek/Bloomberg News)

 Are e-cigarettes a gateway to smoking?

Critics of e-cigarettes worry that they will “renormalize” smoking and increase its incidence by fostering nicotine addiction among people who otherwise never would have used tobacco. But there is very little evidence that is happening. To the contrary, smoking rates and vaping rates are moving in opposite directions, and regular use of e-cigarettes does not seem to have much appeal among people who have never smoked.

“There is no evidence that either NRT or e-cigarette use has resulted in renormalisation of smoking,” the RCP says. “None of these products has to date attracted significant use among adult never-smokers, or demonstrated evidence of significant gateway progression into smoking among young people.”

If there were a significant gateway effect, surveys should identify people who have never used tobacco but who regularly use e-cigarettes (often enough to get hooked on nicotine) and eventually move on to smoking. But if such people exist, there are not many of them.

“E-cigarette use in Britain is, to date, almost entirely restricted to current, past or experimental smokers,” the RCP notes. “As with NRT, there is no evidence thus far that e-cigarette use has resulted, to any appreciable extent, in the initiation of smoking in either adults or children; the extremely low prevalence of use of e-cigarettes among never-smoking adults and children indicates that, even if such gateway progression does occur, it is likely to be inconsequential in population terms.”

By contrast, the impact of turning large numbers of smokers into vapers could be dramatic. “The growing use of electronic cigarettes as a substitute for tobacco smoking has been a topic of great controversy, with much speculation over their potential risks and benefits,” says John Britton, chairman of the RCP’s Tobacco Advisory Group. “This report lays to rest almost all of the concerns over these products, and concludes that, with sensible regulation, electronic cigarettes have the potential to make a major contribution towards preventing the premature death, disease and social inequalities in health that smoking currently causes in the UK. Smokers should be reassured that these products can help them quit all tobacco use forever.”

What’s in and not in that e-juice you’re vaping

What’s in — and not in — that e-juice you’re vaping

Vegetable glycerine, propylene glycol and nicotine. These are the three base ingredients that all e-liquids have in common. Individually, they can be found in products that we encounter every single day; whether it’s food, medicine, household products, or if you visited the hospital today — in the very air we breathe.If these substances are so common and harmless, what’s the big deal about everyone vaping it? Surely if the Ontario government wants to treat these devices and the liquids that go in them like actual cigarettes, they must be terrible, right? Let’s talk about that.

With one of the oldest and largest research data volumes of any non-food substance that we encounter frequently, propylene glycol (PG) is what I believe to be the most important ingredient in e-liquid.

It does the heavy lifting: Keeping the solution together, carrying flavour and nicotine, as well as delivering the retired smoker that ever-sought-after throat hit. Too much of it, however, will make it uncomfortable to vape, while too little will cause certain parts of the liquid to fall out of solution and separate.

In effect, propylene glycol is inert, and can be found in a whole gamut of pharmaceutical applications: inhalers, injected with medications that cannot mix with water, and pumped into hospital air for purification are just a few of its uses.

Given that, it is worth mentioning the substance comes with absolutely no health-related concerns when used in any form. None. While it is possible to be sensitive to PG, it is not at all possible to be “allergic” or “intolerant” to it. The absolute worst thing that it does when vaporized is dry out your upper respiratory tract. Fortunately, it is not the only thing in e-liquid and one of the other major components helps counteract the dry throat.

Vegetable glycerine (VG) is major component No. 2. It can be considered mainly a filler, as it is less expensive than propylene glycol, and significantly smoother to vape.

When this industry was in its infancy, e-liquids were predominantly found in mix ratios that contained more PG than VG. These days, however, devices are leaps and bounds more powerful and are capable of producing more vapour at higher temperatures.

This has seen e-liquid manufacturers flip the mix ratio around completely. This is mainly because on its own, PG is harsh on the throat. The VG counteracts this harshness, providing a more of a moist feel in the mouth and throat.

VG is actually an alcohol and is not technically made from food products at all anymore. In fact, most manufacturers use pure synthetic pharmaceutical-grade glycerol these days. Don’t let that scare you, though — if I hadn’t said anything, you probably wouldn’t have known the difference. I don’t and I vape all kinds of different e-liquids every day. Besides, it’s kosher!

Nicotine is the third and final ingredient absolutely all e-liquids have in common.

While nicotine itself is a very addictive substance, its effects on the body are actually not much different than caffeine. They are both stimulants that increase heart rate, blood pressure and will absolutely make you sick in large enough dosages.

If you’re not a smoker, but a heavy coffee drinker and you’re reading this, think about that terrible headache and crankiness you feel when you haven’t had a coffee yet. The lethargy, irritability and the feeling like you could snap on anyone for even the smallest reason — that’s how a smoker feels when they go from lots of nicotine, straight down to none.

Clearly, it’s not at all ideal to be addicted to anything. However, there are significantly worse things to be addicted to. Nicotine is not the bad guy here — it’s the thousands of other chemical compounds that can be found in cigarettes that are released by combustion, or burning, the tobacco.

This alone is the reason I always encourage folks who are new to vaping to stick to the amount they are comfortable with for as long as they please, and to not rush stepping down to lower concentrations.

At this point, anyone reading this is probably wondering what the big deal with these liquids is, given that I haven’t mentioned a single negative thing about any of these substances — except for nicotine being able to kill you in a large enough dosage, in which case the same can be said for pretty much anything.

The danger for any serious side effect when vaping actually comes from the flavouring used. Compounds such as acetyl propinyl and diacetyl are the Big Two that manufacturers look out for, as they are possibly linked to health problems.

Both of these compounds occur naturally, or are added as flavour enhancers in food, which makes them safe to ingest, but possibly not to inhale. While the e-juice industry aims to eliminate these two agents and most major e-juice manufacturers don’t use it, they can be found at extremely high concentrations in cigarette smoke.
Fortunately, we have an organization here in Canada called ECTA (Electronic Cigarette Trade Association). They do everything in their power to ensure that standards are set for both hardware and liquid alike, and set very strict guidelines for what compounds can be in e-liquid, as well as what the acceptable levels are. In order to be a member of ECTA, everything you sell or distribute must adhere to its standards. With that said, many of the more popular brands either are members or are distributed by ECTA client members.

At the end of the day, inhaling nothing but pure clean mountain air is the best thing for us, but what I am getting at with all this information is that these ingredients themselves are not harmful, and it is possible to know exactly what you’re putting in your body.

Many of these companies are completely transparent when it comes to their lab test results and ingredients. Off the top of my head, without even looking them up, I can guarantee that Twelve Monkeys, The Illusions, Theravape, The Juice Punk, Gold Seal, and Moshi, just to name a few, post their lab test results publicly on their websites for anyone to see.

Bottom line: Do your research, find something you like and that you are comfortable with, and vape happy. It’s as easy as that.

If for some reason you still don’t trust these liquids, but still like the idea of using a vaporizer as tobacco harm reduction, flavorless liquids exist that literally only have the three base ingredients, and come with no chance of having anything in them that you haven’t already run into today.

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