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Is Vaping Bad For You? What Do You Need To Know?

By Matt McConnell

Monday February 29, 2016
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Is vaping bad? That is a fair question and people deserve an honest answer. Too often, people are not getting honest answers about vaping. There are so many moving parts, so many variations, and quite frankly so many different agendas that the truth is usually obscured. On one hand, you have the special interests of pharmacy companies and Big Tobacco. They have a lot to lose financially and that drives their agenda.

Then you have the anti-tobacco groups many of which, not all, are against vaping and make a false equivalence between vaping vs smoking. Some of these groups have good intentions but genuinely do not understand the fundamental differences between vaping and smoking. Many of these groups operate on public donations and grants and it is also to their financial benefit to paint vaping in a bad light.

On the other side of the coin, there are some ecig companies that do not know what they are doing. The inferior vape brands are causing problems for the reputation of the industry. They are selling inferior products that are prone to problems. Many are selling counterfeited vape mods that are overheating and catching fire. Yet others are making ejuice in the backs of vape shops or in their homes with the unfortunate result of contaminated eliquids. Even in cases where the ejuice is not contaminated, most often amateur ejuice vendors are using flavors with diacetyl or acetoin.

A recent Harvard survey found that most Americans are badly misinformed about ecigs and vaping. The media is not helping matters at all. In all, the combination of corporate interests, paid special interests, and the poor practices of some vape brands have colluded to cloud the question of “Is vaping bad”? It is not a yes or no answer. I do have a good answer and that is vaping with a quality device is as much as 200 times safer than smoking. Public Health England uses the figure 95% safer. So let’s step back, take in the big picture, and see if we can sort this out with everything in proper context.

What Is Vaping?

Vaping-Vs-Smoking-CigarettesVaping is intended for smokers seeking an alternative to tobacco. If you don’t smoke, don’t vape. Vaping involves inhaling nicotine and that may be addictive. The question of whether or not nicotine is bad for you is debatable. Medical researchers are learning more and more about potential benefits of nicotine for some people. At the same time, we know nicotine can negatively impact the unborn and children. Even though the question of addiction has been doubted by some scientists, any time you can avoid any potential addiction by not starting, you are doing yourself a huge favor. If you don’t smoke, don’t vape.

With that said, it is very important to make the distinction between vaping and smoking. You can’t know the answer to is vaping bad for you if you don’t know the differences. Let’s start with smoking. We all know that smoking is bad for you. It is horrible for you. There is also no doubt that the quitting smoking timeline tells us that quitting offers remarkable benefits. Smoking involves inhaling 7,000 chemicals including toxins and carcinogens. If you stop doing that, your health will improve.

Smoking involves burning treated tobacco. Burning or combustion happens when you surpass the ignition temperature of a substance and set off a massive cascade of chemical reactions. The flame of a lighter or match brings the tobacco to ignition temperature and the process of combustion begins. The chemical reactions involved in combustion are so fast and so violent, a huge number of toxins are released. Setting anything on fire and breathing in the smoke is a bad idea. Combustion produces smoke and smoke is made of carbon monoxide as well as thousands of additional particulates and gases that are not suitable for breathing.

The burning of treated tobacco is especially dangerous. Tobacco is treated with chemicals like ammonia. Ammonia accelerates the absorption of nicotine into the brain. This acceleration of nicotine absorption is a major part of tobacco addiction. Tobacco additives also include toxic accelerants that make the tobacco burn faster. The number of dangerous toxins in tobacco smoke is staggering and they are released through the process of combustion.

On the other hand, vaping does not involve combustion in any way shape or form. Vaping involves heating but not to the point of ignition, there is no flame. And instead of igniting treated tobacco, vaping involves heating a liquid solution to the point of vaporization. The liquid is called e-liquid or e-juice and it contains a base of propylene glycol and or vegetable glycerin, flavoring, water and nicotine.

is vapor from e-cigarettes dangerous

 

Propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin(VG) are approved food additives that you will find in foods, medications, cosmetics and basic necessities like toothpaste. These substances have been with us for a long time and they are regarded as safe. There is nothing mysterious or unknown about PG and VG. The flavoring in eliquids is also food grade but we have a caveat here. Not all food flavorings are alike. Some flavorings can contain volatile substances like diacetyl or acetoin and this is where you have to be careful.

Is E-Juice Safe?

Part of the problem with answering the question of ‘is vaping bad’ is the question of diacetyl. That brings in to question is e-juice safe? There are a large number of low quality eliquids on the market that do contain diacetyl. It is important to note that there is a lot more diacetyl in cigarettes than in the worst ejuices but nonetheless many people have concerns. Here’s the thing, it is very easy to avoid diacetyl in eliquid.

There are many high quality manufacturers who know what they are doing and rely on state of the art eliquid labs operated by highly trained professionals to blend eliquids that are totally free of diacetyl, acetoin or any other impurities. You can make vaping safer simply by buying your eliquid from a reputable brand like Halo, Apollo or VaporFi. Go with the brands that use professional labs, offer independent reports and know what you are getting.

See How E-Liquid Should Be Made

Now I am going to make things worse. Unfortunately, what I am going to describe next is going to complicate things even more. First, diacetyl is a buttery type flavoring like they use on microwave popcorn. There are amateur eliquid manufacturers out there who claim that their ejuice is diacetyl free even though it may no be. In fact a Harvard ecig study found diacetyl or acetoin in 75% of eliquids that they tested. Acetoin, by the way, is another flavor additive that the body will metabolize into diacetyl. So, why do some ejuices that claim to be diactyl free still have ejuice in them? Simply because they vendors don’t really know what they are doing.

Here’s what happens. A guy starts an ejuice brand in his basement. We’ll call him Dave. Dave goes on eBay and buys ejuice bottles, a shrink wrap device, a label maker, some PG and liquid nitocine. Now Dave wants to offer diacetyl free ejuice so he carefully looks for food based flavorings that do not list diacetyl in the ingredients. He is doing his best to offer a genuine quality product but Dave is not a chemist and he does not have a real lab. In the end, Dave is selling ejuice with diacetyl because regardless of what is on the flavor label, he unknowingly buys flavoring with diacetyl.

So how does Dave end up selling an eliquid with diacetyl when the label on the food flavoring did not list diacetyl? The reason for that can be traced to an FDA allowance for companies to not have to list every ingredient based on the protection of “trade secrets”. Basically, it is leeway given to help manufacturers avoid being forced to give away the exact recipes of some foods, cosmetics etc. Everything in the ingredients has to be FDA approved, just not listed exactly.

increase vaping safety by eliminating diacetyl and acetoin

Is vaping bad if there is diacetyl in eliquid? That’s hard to say. It will still be less harmful than smoking cigarettes. What we can say is that vaping is probably much better if you buy eliquids that are manufactured by true professionals in a lab setting. Vaping is better if you buy diacetyl and acetoin free eliquids from the best brands like VaporFi, Apollo and Halo.

When you take all of this into account, it really drives home the importance of knowing what you are buying when it comes to vaping. If you are new to vaping, make sure to consult ECCR’s Vaping For Beginners guide. We want you to access the best quality vaping products and safest eliquids possible.

Let’s sum this up quickly. When you are vaping a quality eliquid, the vapor is derived from food grade ingredients, flavor and nicotine. The liquid solution is heated to essentially a boiling point (vaporization) and a vapor is produced. Compare that to tobacco. The end result is smoke containing 7000 chemicals versus a vapor derived from 3 or 4 ingredients.

Is Vaping Bad?

Even the harshest critics of vaping admit that ecigs are less harmful than cigarettes. For example, Tom Frieden at the CDC hates ecigs but even he admits that “stick for stick” ecigs are not as harmful as tobacco. The largest scale study to date completed by Public Health England has shown that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. In England they are recommending vaping to smokers and even Prime Minister David Cameron is behind the vaping movement. It’s simply obvious. There is no equivalence despite what critics try to claim. There is a huge difference between smoke and vapor.

Is Your eCig Safe?

high quality vaping products for sale

Just as we have covered the differences in the eliquids on the market there are also big differences in the ecigs available on the market. Some are excellent, some good and some are not so good. Answering the question is vaping bad for you can also depend on the actual device you are using to produce vapor.

Have you heard about the claim of formaldehyde in ecigs? Some ecigs have generated a trace amount of formaldehyde when used at very high temperatures. Despite the rarity of these results, these claims have been overblown and do not hold up to scrutiny. Formaldehyde in trace amounts, far less than cigarettes, has occurred in low quality ecigs or when researchers intentionally misuse vaping devices in order to generate toxins.

The earliest formaldehyde in ecig claim came from the FDA. Is vaping bad? The FDA wanted you to think so. Many years ago when vaping products were much less sophisticated than they are now, the FDA tested 9 different ecig brands. They put each of those ecigs through the ringer and the end results showed trace elements of formaldehyde in the vapor of one of the 9 ecigs. How much formaldehyde? Less that you are exposed to when you wash your hands with the soap they use in gas station restrooms.

You can see how this almost decade old study is still being manipulated by anti-vaping groups to this day. They never give you the context, all they give you is the conclusion that they want to public to reach. So you can see the problem with trying to get a strait answer to the question “is vaping bad for you’?

Even though we are vaping advocates we have to be neutral and confirm that cheap, low quality electronic cigarettes are a problem for the industry. Is vaping bad for you? It may be with cheap, low quality vapor products. Low quality atomizers that are overheated by cheap ecigs can be problematic. Trace metallic elements have been detected in the vapor generated by low quality products. There are questions about the practice of dripping. Dripping often involves unregulated devices that can easily overheat of catch fire. The biggest offenders are mech mods that operate at very high power outputs and cheap devices made from low quality materials.

In essence, the ecig business is like any other. There are good products and bad products. The bad ones inflict an undeserved black mark to the entire industry. The issue of cloned and counterfeit devices is also a problem and it is very difficult to determine a fake from authentic products from trusted vape brands. The vaping community is fighting for sensible regulation that protects your right of choice while at the same time ensuring that the products that are available meet minimum quality standards.

Until regulations are in place, it is up to you to ensure that you buy quality vaping devices and eliquids. ECCR is here to help. We are an ecig review site that works every single day to determine the quality electronic cigarette products that you can rely on. Use our top rated ecigs list as your reference to avoid poor quality and potentially dangerous vaping products.

There is great news in terms of the excellent quality products currently available. The leading vaping brands are producing incredible quality devices. The advances in technology in recent years have been amazing. The quality of vaping overall has improved markedly in recent years.

The Safety Of Vaping

an e-cigarette is a device that heats e-liquid to create vapor

Did you know that modern vape mods measure and regulate atomizer (heating element) temperatures thousands of times per second? The Smok Treebox mod measures and regulates temperature 4000 times per second! It is one of many advanced, modern ecig devices that is loaded with safety features that prevent problems with overheating or battery thermal runaways. If you use a vape mod as directed and charge it properly, you will be making vaping safer. The safety of vaping has never been better.

Today’s vape tanks are also brilliantly designed with safety and quality in mind. The best quality brands use the best building materials and precision engineering to manufacture simply excellent quality products. They also use the best quality elements in atomizers including Kanthal wire, Nickel, Titanium and stainless steel. Organic Japanese cotton is used as the wick for ejuice.

The quality manufacturers are companies like Eigate Aspire, Kangertech, Smok, Innokin, Joytech and a few others. American ecig brands like Halo, Apollo and VaporFi also offer high quality products.What you have to be careful of are clones and counterfeits. There are 600 ecig factories in China and many of them exist to copy successful products but do so using the cheapest components. You don’t want a clone.

People in the vaping business get emails every day from Chinese companies offering what they claim to be name brand products for a fraction of the price of authentic products. The manufacturers claim that they are offering “1:1” clones meaning they are just like the real thing. They are not like the real thing! Many vape shops and online vendors can easily be tempted by higher profit margins vs authentic product. It is important that you buy direct from reputable vendors in order to avoid clones. And always check your authenticity code after purchase.

vaping devices with nicotine for low prices

The easiest to use and safest ecigs are the cigarette style models also called cigalikes. Cigalikes look like traditional cigarettes. They rely on smaller ecig batteries and use a pre-filled cartridge that you attach to the battery. These are likely the best ecigs to get started vaping with. They offer the familiar experience for smokers, they are affordable and easy to use. Best of all, today’s cigalikes are fantastic quality as compared to what they were a few years ago.

With a cigalike you never adjust voltage output nor do you ever have to refill an ecig tank with elqiuid. Everything is done and all you have to do is connect a new cartridge and keep your ecig batteries charged. This is the easiest type of vaping and perfect for new vapers as well as smokers who do not want to bother with advanced devices that require some time and attention to operate.

Once again we have an exception. The cigalikes that they sell in retail stores tend to be lower end products that offer higher margins for retailers. Is vaping bad with these cheap retail cigalikes? It’s not so much bad as just lower in quality and reportedly less satisfying that the best brands like Halo eCigs G6. It is best to buy direct online and to buy from proven American brands.

Is Vaping Bad For You?

If you are a smoker who can’t quit, you want to know the answer to the question “is vaping bad for you“? As we have covered, vaping is nothing like smoking and there is a massive difference between smoke and vapor. We have also shown that whether or not vaping is bad for you can depend on the eliquid that you are vaping and the device that you are vaping it with. If you stick to quality, you are going to be much better off for it.

Can vaping really help you quit smoking? Some paid studies have attempted to deny any connection between smoking cessation and electronic cigarettes. In order to generate false results, at least one of these studies exclude anyone who has actually quit with ecigs! The truth is that the CDC’s own vape data shows a correlation between quitting smoking and ecigs. The CDC vaping data found that 55% of people who had quit smoking in the last year had used ecigs. Furthermore, they found that a large number of former smokers now vape.

Get this stat. For people who use ecigs regularly, only 15.9% still smoke cigarettes. That is a smaller percentage than the national average smoking rate. It is estimated that 4 million people now vape instead of smoke cigarettes. The US smoking rate has just hit another all-time low. Something is going on and things are changing. Is vaping playing a part in that? Anti-vaping people will say no. Do your own math and look at the facts and you might very well derive the real answer. Either vaping is playing a hand in significantly reducing smoking or coincidence abounds.

So while many attempt to answer ‘Is vaping bad for you?’ based on fear and conjecture, the leading studies are showing the opposite of what many special interests are claiming. One example is the claim that ecigs lead to teen smoking. The real numbers do not back that claim up. In fact, s Yale ecigarette study found that banning ecigs actually increases youth smoking.

banning ecigs will increase teen smoking according to yale vape study

Another vaping safety concern has been the issue of second hand vapor. Last year, leading ecig researcher Dr. Konstatin Farsalinos found that second hand vapor was not distinguishable from normal room air. He went on to publish results that showed that exhaled vapor contained less volatile chemicals than normal exhaled air. Dr. Yach of the World Health Organization broke from the company line and admitted that ecigs could save lives compared to tobacco. He said that smoking kills and nicotine does not.

Rutgers University completed a study in 2015 and found connections between quitting smoking and ecigarettes. The University Of London published a study in Cancer Prevention Research stating that smokers who switch to vaping are exposed to far fewer toxins. A group of German researchers found that vapor was far less toxic to lung cells. The list goes on and on.

One thing that we do know, regardless of how you feel about whether or not is vaping bad for you, the thing we do know is that this year smoking will kill 480,000 people in this country and millions more around the world. For anyone who thinks that the fight against smoking is contained, those numbers will bring you back to reality in short order. We do not have a vaping problem, we have a smoking problem.

Now is not the time to limit a smoking alternative that can save lives. How about this for a barometer of “is vaping bad for you”. Yes, there are some researchers who do not like vaping. These researchers are highly qualified but many are professors who never actually work with human patients who are struggling with smoking addiction. A large number of primary care physicians, that is family doctors who see patients every day and get to know their patients as people, are recommending that people vape instead of smoke. A Plos One ecig survey found that 67% of practicing doctors feel that ecigs can help people quit smoking.

Is vaping bad for you? At the end of the day you are talking about putting nicotine in your body and that is the worst thing about vaping. Nicotine, however, is not a carcinogen and does not cause cancer. Smoking does. The majority of the evidence supports the Public Health England finding that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. This definitive finding was based on the largest and most comprehensive vaping study done to date. The final 111 page report left little doubt.

Vaping is a smoking alternative that as an adult smoker, and you have the right to explore your options. The important thing is to focus on quality. Not all ecigs are alike! Choose well.

The last word on the “Is vaping bad for you?” question will go to the 50 top scientists who sent a letter to the World Health Organization. These were 50 of the best of the best from 15 different countries who banded together to urge WHO not to crack down on vaping. Spokesperson Dr. Margaret Chen said that e-cigs are a critical piece of strategy to aid in reducing tobacco harm. The experts agreed that vaping has the potential to save hundreds of millions of lives in the 21st century.

Matt

Team ECCR

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