As a representative of the vaporizer industry, I understand the concerns people have about vaping e-liquids. They want to know that the ingredients are safe, and that we are doing all we can to keep them out of the hands of minors.
Some also want to know if they really help people to quit smoking, or if they are possibly a gateway to further nicotine addiction. While there are no easy answers, there is a lot more information available that is popularly believed.
Now that vaping has been around for well over a decade, more and more studies are available to track its use and effects, and the results are definitely skewed toward the positive side. A U.K. study found that, of the 20,000 smoking-related deaths annually, the number would drop to under 4,000 if every smoker switched to vaping today. This is not to be read that those 4,000 deaths were caused by vaping; rather that the damage was already present before the vaping began. While no substance is 100 percent benign, it stands to reason that the choice is clear in the comparison.
It is important to use e-liquids that are manufactured under controlled conditions, using safe ingredients that adhere to U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards. They should be tested for certain chemicals that may be irritating to the respiratory system, like diacetyl and acetyl propionyl. As the industry matures, these concerns have been at the forefront of national manufacturing and are a standard with the major national brands.
There are dangers associated with the misuse of vaporizers, and under extreme testing conditions, they have been shown to develop formaldehyde. What is not always clear is that the formaldehyde is developed only under super-high wattage — much higher than the levels used in regular vaporizer use. It would actually be impossible to inhale the vapor under such extreme heat. Even at their highest setting, the vape batteries max out at around 220 watts, within safe levels.
That said, most vapers are happy with a much lower setting, and average between 8 and 50 watts. It is necessary to change the coil, which contains the wick, and the resistor periodically, as these do burn out eventually. It is true that inhaling a burned coil is not optimal, but it is all but impossible to use it once it has reached its limit. So it is obvious when it is time to change it.
It is not clear to everyone that not all e-liquid contains nicotine. A variety of nicotine levels are available, and in fact many people take advantage of the ability to step down gradually, with low to zero nicotine being the goal. It is then easier to taper off vapor completely, if that is the goal, and it’s a way to avoid relapsing back to smoking when faced with the usual triggers that often lead ex-smokers back to cigarettes.
Among my heaviest smoking clientele, I have seen great success using vaping to finally end their habit. After exhausting various other methods throughout the years, I have witnessed the most obstinate among them — some of whom have smoked for 40 and even 50 years — greatly reduce and often give up smoking completely.
Lastly, we have a strict policy against underage sales. It is posted on our door that one must be age 21 or older to shop in the store. That even includes non-tobacco items. Shop owners do not want to sell to minors. Not only is it illegal, but it also can lead to fines and prosecution. We rely heavily on our standing in the community and would never sell the public’s trust for a quick buck. We would not have been in business for 20 years if that was our policy.
by Natalie R. Ethington