Electronic Cigarettes Vapor – Composition and Safety Issues

Electronic cigarettes have been gaining popularity as a tool to quit smoking. They haven’t been on the market too long – less than a decade, but they have taken the public imagination by storm.

Electronic cigarettes are being marketed as an alternative to the real thing.  There are many different brands available in different price ranges as well. Device makers also offer a variety of flavors to entice customers into buying the product and use it as a smoking cessation tool.  Battery operated, every device consists of a cartridge and atomizer.  The cartridge is the part that holds the solution, which when the device is activated will convert the solution into vapor and deliver it directly to the lungs of the user. Here is a look at all the ingredients that make up the e-cigarette.

List of Ingredients:

  • Propylene Glycol:  This is a fairly common ingredient in many commonly used products like toothpaste and cosmetics.  It is used to keep foods moist as well; quite a few hospitals even use it in their air conditioning systems as it is well known for its anti-microbial properties.   In electronic cigarettes, this ingredient forms the base and creates the vapor that is eventually inhaled.
  • Glycerin: Sourced from vegetables, vegetable glycerin is found in many everyday products like cosmetics and different foods to help them keep their consistency. In e-cigarettes, it helps in making the vapor appear thicker.  Some people prefer a solution which contains just glycerin – others contend that propylene glycol gives the vaping experience a bigger boost.  E-liquid manufacturers have the option of adjusting the amount of glycerine and glycol they wish to use – most of them use somewhere between 20-30% for the best results.
  • Nicotine: Though this is the main ingredient in cigarettes which makes people take up and enjoy smoking, it is entirely optional in electronic cigarettes.  Quite a few people use nicotine free fillers for their personal use.  For those who want their nicotine fix, they can buy it in different strengths/concentrations.  Quite a few researchers and scientists subscribe to the thinking that nicotine is a dangerous drug and some others compare it to caffeine.  The fact of the matter is that it is all the chemicals that are used in the manufacturing process of cigarettes that make it dangerous to smoke. Nicotine in its purest form gives users a relaxed feeling.  Vaporized nicotine also gives people a kick which they enjoy.  Quite a few e-cigarette smokers gradually reduce the amount of nicotine they use and taper off smoking altogether.  It is a known fact that the lungs absorb nicotine well and the exhaled vapors have no trace at all.
  • Water: Quite a few manufacturers put some water in their e-cigarette solutions.  This seems to increase the viscosity of the vapor and the solution easier to handle.  Water forms less than 10% of the concentration in the solution.  Manufacturers usually mention the concentration of all the ingredients on the packaging.
  • Flavors:  One of the coolest aspects of using electronic cigarettes is that users not only get a choice of how much nicotine they want and also their favorite flavor.  Some prefer to buy solutions that mimic the flavor of tobacco and eventually move on to using other flavors.  Menthol is a common and favorite one – other choices that are available to people are chocolate, caramel, coffee, cotton candy, bubblegum, strawberry, mint and even lemon.  Popular flavors are based on candy available in the market – and there is no way to go wrong with these.

E-cigarettes provide the perfect alternative to regular cigarettes and many people are getting great pleasure with being able to smoke without the side effects.  Though e-cigarettes in their current avatar were introduced in 2007 to the US market, the patent for the very first smokeless cigarette was obtained in 1963.  This product became popular in China in the early part of the decade and usage went viral around the world.  Electronic cigarettes have been at the center of many controversies – first off, there aren’t enough studies to verify the safety of the product nor its efficacy.  Clinical studies were done with very small control groups making it almost impossible to extrapolate results on a bigger scale to draw conclusions.  As a smoking cessation tool, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to indicate that people are very thrilled with this product.

Many people have used the e-cigarette with the hope believing stories that it would help them kick the habit. The concern is that the product is easy to get and isn’t regulated by bodies like the FDA making it easy for children to gain access and start using them.  US regulatory bodies and the medical professionals always talk about the ills of tobacco but they are leery of endorsing e-cigarettes without some more evidence.  The FDA has been working hard to get e-cigarettes categorized as a tobacco product – which will require that the product be registered, ingredient lists have to be given and meet a number of other requirements as well.

All in all, e-cigarettes are a great product to have – with newer innovations, surely there will be new ones which can truly help people get over their tobacco addiction.  In the meanwhile, e-cigarettes offer people options to either indulge or try and shake off their nicotine habit.  There is no need to write it off altogether – Electronic cigarettes have a role to play.