What is Vaping?
Vaping is the act of using an electronic device, commonly known as an e-cigarette or vape, to inhale an aerosol which is often referred to as vapour. The vapour is created by heating a liquid, known as e-liquid. Vaping devices come in many different shapes, sizes and specifications, and e-liquids also vary greatly, with different flavours, nicotine strengths and types of e-liquid technology. Vape e-liquid does not always contain nicotine.
How does vaping work?
Vaping works by using power from a battery to heat a metal or ceramic coil. Just above the coil is a wick made from absorbent materials like cotton which soaks up the e-liquid. When the coil gets hot enough, it evaporates the e-liquid and turns it into an aerosol which the person using the vape device or e-cigarette then inhales.
In a “closed system” vape, the coil and wick sit inside a pre-filled ‘closed’ pod or cartridge. When the e-liquid in the pod is finished a new pod needs to be inserted into the device. In an “open system” vape, the coil and wick are added manually to the device battery, must be changed periodically when you clean the device, and you need to fill the e-liquid manually from a bottle.
What is in vape e-liquid?
The three primary ingredients of vape e-liquid are propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), and food flavourings. Some e-liquids also contain nicotine, but many others are nicotine-free. The nicotine concentration of e-liquids is limited by government regulation to 20mg/ml in the EU. Many other countries follow a similar nicotine cap but there are jurisdictions, like the USA, where higher levels of nicotine are allowed.
Who invented vaping?
Vaping was first introduced in 2003 when Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik invented and then commercialized the first modern vaping device. Since then, vaping has been adopted and enjoyed by many adults looking for an alternative to smoking. In 2019, the World Health Organisation estimated there were around 40 million vapers worldwide compared to more than 1 billion tobacco smokers.
What are the main benefits of vaping?
E-cigarettes contain no tobacco and do not use combustion to produce vapour. As a result of this, many of the harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke, which are recognized as causing lung disease and respiratory illness, are not present or at the very least drastically reduced in e-cigarette vapour.
Due to this fact, Public Health England have stated that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking cigarettes. The opinion that vaping should be seen as a way of encouraging adult smokers to transition to something less harmful is supported by a growing number of public health bodies and governments around the world.
“The current best estimate is that e-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than smoking…[t]here is no evidence so far that e-cigarettes are acting as a route into smoking for children or non-smokers.” – Public Health England
“Switching from tobacco cigarettes to vaping products will reduce a person’s
exposure to many toxic and cancer-causing chemicals.”
Government of Canada
“On the basis of current evidence vaping e-cigarettes is definitely
less harmful than smoking cigarettes”
“Complete switching from combustible tobacco cigarettes to e-cigarettes would be expected to reduce tobacco-related health risk”
National Academies of Science, Engineering & Medicine (USA) Vaping and e-cigarettes, has enabled 6.1 million people in Europe to stop smoking by switching to vaping, and a further 9.2 million have reduced their cigarette usage.