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What is an electronic cigarette?
An electronic cigarette – otherwise known as an e-cig or e-cigarette – is a battery-powered, electronic nicotine delivery system that is designed to imitate conventional smoking. The device contains a nicotine-based liquid – or e-liquid – that is vaporised and then inhaled. Although electronic cigarettes have a variety of appearances, many look and are shaped like traditional cigarettes.
How do electronic cigarettes work?
When the user inhales on the mouthpiece of an electronic cigarette, the device’s battery activates an atomiser that heats up a replaceable cartridge filled with e-liquid. This turns the e-liquid into a vapour, which then passes through the device into the user’s mouth and lungs. Using an e-cigarette in this manner is called ‘vaping’.
Why use electronic cigarettes?
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Many studies have suggested that e-cigs are far healthier than smoking traditional cigarettes. This is because most of the health problems associated with smoking are linked to the thousands of harmful chemicals which are created when tobacco burns – not nicotine, which is a relatively harmless stimulant.
For this reason, Derek Yach, the former head of tobacco control at the World Health Organisation (WHO), wrote the following in The Spectator:
“All of us involved in tobacco control need to keep that prize in mind as we redouble efforts to make up for 50 years of ignoring the simple reality that smoking kills and nicotine does not.”
In addition, Professor John Britton, chair of the Tobacco Advisory Group of the Royal College of Physicians, told the BBC:
“If all the smokers in Britain stopped smoking cigarettes and started smoking e-cigarettes, we would save 5 million deaths in people who are alive today. It’s a massive potential public health prize.”
Can you use electronic cigarettes in public places?
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At present, it is legal to smoke electronic cigarettes in public places. However, some privately owned establishments, such as restaurants, have decided to ban e-cigs from their premises. In addition, some companies such as airlines have also banned their use on flights. Nonetheless, you can smoke electronic cigarettes in most public places.
How does an electronic cigarette compare to traditional cigarettes?
The first thing you may notice when picking up an electronic cigarette is the difference in weight. Electronic cigarettes weigh a little more than traditional cigarettes, so it may take some time to get used to holding one regularly.
Secondly, in terms of taste, you can buy e-liquid cartridges that deliver vapour in a variety of flavours. For example, you can buy electronic cigarette flavours that mimic the taste of traditional cigarettes. However, there are also flavours such as apple, cherry and vanilla available.
The third comparable difference is throat hit. Like traditional cigarettes, the throat hit from an electronic cigarette differs by brand. Nevertheless, you may need to take a longer and deeper drag on your electronic cigarette to get a comparable nicotine hit.
What ingredients are in E-Liquid?
E-liquid from most reputable electronic cigarette brands consists of propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin, plus food ingredients approved by the FSA to create the flavours. Propylene glycol is an organic, clear, odourless liquid, which contains acetone and chloroform. However in small doses – like taking a draw on an e-cig – the toxicity of propylene glycol is very low.
What makes electronic cigarette vapour different to cigarette smoke?
The first and biggest difference is that electronic cigarettes do not contain tobacco. As previously mentioned, electronic cigarettes actually contain liquid nicotine. Conventional cigarettes also contain many harmful chemicals and additives to make the smoke taste a certain way – which electronic cigarettes do not.
Is second-hand vapour from electronic cigarettes bad for you?
Electronic cigarettes do not burn and emit smoke into the atmosphere like conventional cigarettes do. However, potential bystanders are still exposed to vapour exhaled by an electronic cigarette user. There have been numerous studies into the toxicity of chemicals that electronic cigarettes produce.
Many studies suggest that the level of toxins released into the air by electronic cigarettes is far less than with conventional cigarettes. This includes research by the University of Southern California which suggests e-cig vapour contains 10 times fewer carcinogenic materials than traditional cigarettes.
Can electronic cigarettes help you stop smoking?
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At present, electronic cigarettes cannot be marketed as an aid to help people quit smoking. This is because no electronic cigarette manufacturer has yet been able to create a cigarette that meets the strict medical criteria for them to do so.
That said, there are a whole host of studies that suggest smokers could use electronic cigarettes to help them quit. These include:
- E-Cigarettes and Smoking Cessation: Evidence from a Systematic Review – research from Australian Catholic University and the University of Melbourne that suggests e-cigarettes can help with smoking reduction.
- Electronic Cigarettes Are Effective for Smoking Cessation: Evidence From a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis – A systematic review of six studies involving a total of 1,242 participants suggests electronic cigarettes are effective for smoking cessation.
- Effectiveness of the Electronic Cigarette – A small study that suggests second-generation e-cigs are an effective aid for reducing cigarette cravings.
How many people use electronic cigarettes in the UK?
According to Action on Smoking Health (ASH), who conducted a study into usage, 2.6 million UK adults use electronic cigarettes. During the same study, ASH discovered that the most popular reason why people start using electronic cigarettes was to help them stop smoking.
What can you expect when transitioning from traditional cigarettes to e-cigs?
Although every smoker is different, you may still crave traditional cigarettes for the first week or so after making the switch. This is because it’s normal for you to have some type of withdrawal from the level of nicotine and chemicals found in traditional cigarettes. In addition, although rare, some people are allergic to the propylene glycol found in many electronic cigarettes.
Are electronic cigarettes safe?
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To date, a growing body of evidence suggests that electronic cigarettes are far safer than traditional cigarettes. This includes a new study by Dr. Konstantinos E. Farsalinos, who analysed 21 e-liquid samples and concluded that they were much safer than cigarette tobacco.
In addition, you can easily find out what chemicals and compounds are found in e-liquids by looking at the label. In comparison, because burning tobacco produces thousands of chemicals, it is impossible to identify every harmful element in a traditional cigarette.
For this reason, perhaps the more accurate question should be: are e-cigs safer than traditional cigarettes? To which the answer is almost certainly, yes.
What is the best way to start using electronic cigarettes?
If you are new to e-cigs, electronic starter kits contain everything you’ll need. This includes an electronic cigarette, a charger, case and refills. Plus, if you want, you can choose different flavours, strengths and sizes to create a vaping experience that suits you.
So, if you want to swap traditional cigarettes for a healthier hit of nicotine, grab an iCig Electronic Cigarette Starter Kit today.