Is vaping bad for you, what are the laws on e-cigarettes and is it safer than regular tobacco?


MANY smokers have swapped traditional cigarettes for e-cigs in recent years – and now there are calls to relax the rules around vaping.

The devices are designed with the goal of helping smokers quit and are billed as a healthier alternative. Here’s all the info on vaping and e-cigarettes.

 Modern e-cigarettes have been the subject of much debate


Modern e-cigarettes have been the subject of much debateCredit: Alamy

What is vaping?

Vaping is the process of smoking e-cigarettes, allowing a person to inhale nicotine without other harmful substances in tobacco.

The term is used as e-cigarettes do not produce smoke – instead releasing a vapour.

The vapour is produced from a material such as an e-liquid.

Millions of Brits now get their nicotine hit via e-cigarettes, and they are continuing to grow in popularity.

 Experts say that the best way to protect your health is to give up smoking completely


Experts say that the best way to protect your health is to give up smoking completelyCredit: Getty Images

What is an e-cigarette?

E-cigarette is another name for electronic cigarette.

It is a handheld device that gives you the same feeling as smoking a normal tobacco cigarette.

The first modern e-cigs were developed by Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik who wanted to create a safer alternative to smoking.

E-liquid is the mixture used in vapour products.

In May 2018, top doctors called for flavoured e-cigs, such as strawberry, bubblegum and chocolate to be banned as they said they encouraged kids to try the devices.

E-cigs and vaping pens come with a tiny sensor and computer chip that activate a heater, which warms up the nicotine inside every time a person takes a draw.

When the liquid nicotine warms up it vapourises, creating a vapour that users can then suck through the mouthpiece.

Unlike normal cigarettes, the devices don’t produce tar and carbon monoxide.

But, that does not mean the vapour produced is free of harmful chemicals.

Studies have found it contains some toxic chemicals, that are also found in cigarette smoke, at lower levels.

Health officials have claimed e-cigarettes were 95 per cent safer than tobacco.

 Recent studies have warned vaping is as bad for your heart as regular smoking


Recent studies have warned vaping is as bad for your heart as regular smokingCredit: Getty Images

What are the laws on the sale of e-cigarettes?

Vaping laws were created to restrict the sale of e-cigarettes and e-liquids.

The products cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 18.

The new guidelines include:

  • Refillable tanks must have a capacity of no more than 2ml
  • E-liquids can not be sold in quantities greater than 10ml
  • Unless registered as a medicine e-liquids can not have a nicotine strength of more than 20mg/ml
  • E-liquid packaging must be child-resistant and tamper evident
  • Additives including colouring, caffeine and taurine are banned
  • All e-cigarettes and e-liquids must be registered with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency before they can be sold
  • Stricter labelling requirements

It comes after an undercover investigation found that almost nine tenths of British vape shops are willing to sell e-cigarettes to non-smokers – against the industry code of conduct.

 New studies reveal vaping could be more harmful than first thought


New studies reveal vaping could be more harmful than first thoughtCredit: Getty – Contributor

Is vaping harmful and does it damage your lungs?

A study in August 2018 has suggested vaping is more harmful than first thought.

Researchers found e-cigs boost the production of inflammatory chemicals in the body.

And the vapour kills protective cells in the lung that keep the air spaces clear of harmful bugs.

Study leader Prof David Thickett said: “I don’t believe e-cigarettes are more harmful than ordinary cigarettes.

“But we should have a cautious scepticism that they are as safe as we are being led to believe.”

Public Health England said vaping poses only a small fraction of the risks of smoking and switching completely from smoking to vaping conveys substantial health benefits.

And they said the evidence does not support the concern that e-cigarettes are a route into smoking among young people.

They claim e-cigs are 95 per cent safer than traditional cigarettes.

And they suggest smokers should consider switching to vaping in a bid to help them quit.

San Francisco became the first US city to ban electronic cigarettes in a bid to curb underage use of tobacco products.

E-cig manufacturers, Juul labs whose headquarters are in the city say that the move will deprive adults of healthier smoking alternatives.

 MPs have called for the rules on vaping in public spaces to be reassessed and potentially relaxed


MPs have called for the rules on vaping in public spaces to be reassessed and potentially relaxedCredit: Getty – Contributor

In June 2018, scientists warned that inhaling flavoured e-cigarettes can damage cells lining the heart and blood vessels, leading to cardiovascular disease, strokes and heart attacks.

Another study warns vapers may be at greater risk of a life-threatening stroke than smokers.

Mice exposed to e-cig vapour for 10 to 30 days suffered more severe strokes, and greater nerve damage than those exposed to tobacco smoke.

While results have yet to be confirmed in humans, the warning signs are there, the researchers said.

The team at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center said: “Vaping is not safer than tobacco smoking and may pose a  similar, if not higher, risk for stroke severity.”

Another study said e-cigs could increase your risk of cancer even when there’s no trace of nicotine.

The number of under 18s who have tried vaping has doubled in just four years, official data reveals.

Health bosses admit e-cigarette “experimentation” among young people is on the rise.

Officials admit the steep rise means they must remain “vigilant” on youth smoking.

What have MPs called for?

On August 17, 2018, MPs called for e-cigarettes to be made available for free on the NHS.

They have also said that vaping should be allowed in offices, arguing that they should not be treated as the same as cigarettes as vaping is less harmful.

A new report by the Science and Technology Committee (STC) has also called for an urgent review to make it easier for e-cigarettes to be available on prescription, and proposed a wider debate on vaping in public spaces.

MPs have also called for greater freedom for the industry to advertise the devices as a less harmful option for smokers.

According to the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Vaping (APPGV), employers should provide designated indoor vaping areas – including in the Houses of Parliament.

They want vaping to be more acceptable around the workplace with proper vaping policies for businesses and public places to be put in place in a bid to tackle “misunderstandings” about the practice.

The group believes that guidelines for “reasonable vaping etiquette” should be drawn up and that all outside areas should be available to vapers unless there’s a legitimate safety or professional reason to stop it.

APPGV chairman Mark Pawsey said that Britain’s current anti-vaping culture created a “false” impression among the public that passive vaping was as harmful as passive smoking.

Has Donald Trump banned them?

Trump has announced that he will be banning flavoured e-cigarettes, following a spate of vaping-related deaths.

The US President said vaping was a “new problem” – especially for children – after six deaths and 450 reported cases of lung illness across 33 states were tied to it.

US Health Secretary Alex Azar said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would finalise a plan to take all non-tobacco flavours off the market.

Speaking at the White House, Trump his administration would implement strong rules to protect “innocent children” – like his 13-year-old son Barron.

He pointed to the influence of First Lady Melania, who tweeted this week that she was “deeply concerned about the growing epidemic of e-cigarette use in our children”.

Trump said: “We can’t allow people to get sick and we can’t have our youth be so affected.

“That’s how the first lady got involved. She’s got a son, together, that is a beautiful young man and she feels very, very strongly about it.

“People are going to watch what we’re saying and parents are going be a lot tougher with respect to their children.”

Many of the 450 reported US cases are young people, with an average age of 19.

Michigan this month became the first US state to ban flavoured e-cigarettes.

The latest person to die was in their 50s and from Kansas.


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