A Less Harmful Truth

There is much debate over the new vaping trend that has taken the world by storm over the past few years, but the fact that can’t be argued is that it is aiding people to make their smoking habit a thing of the past – which can only be a positive thing! Critics are raising cause for concern over the ingredients that make up that liquid fuels the E-Cigarettes – known as E Liquid, so in this post we aim to shed light on the ingredients and give you a deeper insight on how they affect you.

Nicotine

Nicotine is a chemical that contains nitrogen’s. Found naturally in the nightshade family (of which includes red pepper and tomatoes), it can also be synthetically produced. As well as being a prominent ingredient in cigarettes, nicotine has also been used as an insecticide.

Nicotine is notorious for being highly addictive, and withdrawing suddenly can cause a range of symptoms that include anxiety, irritability and depression. This is because nicotine effects the user in both a pharmacologic and psychodynamic way, stimulating the central nervous system and raising blood pressure and heart rate and inducing feelings of increased alertness, increased relaxation.

Although nicotine is not known to cause cancer, it is linked to type 2 diabetes due; nicotine stimulates adrenaline to be released, triggering a rush of glucose.

Propylene Glycol (PG)

A colourless, odourless liquid, Propylene is a synthetic ingredient with an extremely versatile nature that is derived from petroleum products,; because it contains at least one molecule of carbon, it can be labelled as an ‘organic compound’. It comes in many different grades, and when used as a base in E Liquids, it is of pharmaceutical grade.

Described as being hygroscopic, which means that it absorbs moisture from its surroundings; when inhaled whilst using an E Cigarette, this can lead to a dry and irritated throat, and increased thirst; these symptoms may last for up to a week, but as the body becomes accustomed to Vaping rather than smoking, they should subside; PG is favoured by many users as it provides a ‘throat hit’ that a VG base doesn’t compare too- It’s also the hygroscopic properties of both PG and VG that turn the solutions into a vapour.

There are extensive arguments as the both the positive and negative effects that propylene glycol has on the body, and long before the E Cigarette was invented, there have been studies carried out on the deterrent nature of propylene glycol on respiratory diseases and is also used as a preservative due to it harbouring anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties.

Vegetable Glycerine (VG)

An extremely diverse product, VG is a carbohydrate (although chemically speaking it is classed as an alcohol) naturally derived from plants- typically palm, soy or coconut oils, the oils are extracted from the plants by means of hydrolysis. Another widely used E Liquid base; similar to PG, vegetable glycerine is colourless and odourless, but unlike PG, it emits a slightly sweet taste to the user which can enhance the sweet flavours of E Liquid.

Due to its chemical makeup as a triglyceride, vegetable glycerine has a syrup like consistency and a higher temperature resistance than PG – it requires a higher powered vaporizer than PG would require; it also produces a much denser vapour.
There have been also reports of increased triglyceride levels in the body of those that used E Liquids that use VG as a base exclusively, but no medical studies seem to have yet taken place to secure the validity of these claims.

There are reports on the heating of Propylene Glycol causes small amounts of carbonyl compounds such as Formaldehyde, Acetaldehyde and Acrolein to form.

Propylene Glycol is known to cause allergic reactions in some users, and those switch to use 100% VG based liquids. However, to experience the benefits that both solutions offer, you will commonly find E Liquids use a PG/VG mix.

Flavourings

There are almost 8000 flavours of E Liquid to choose from and these flavourings are either naturally occurring or approved as ‘food grade’. Some of the chemicals in flavourings include Acetyl pyrazine, Vanillin, Mallic Acid and Beta-Ionone.

In conclusion, while Vaping is undoubtedly, a far less harmful option that smoking and an effective tool in smoking cessation. While there are still risks concerned with the use of E Cigarettes and the ingredients they contain, it is considerably less than the 11,000 contaminants found in cigarettes -It seems to be the ‘healthy’ claim that is causing controversy. There are still risks when it comes to vaping and Darren Sharples from Cloudstix offers some advice, “It is good practice to do research into the products you are considering and don’t be afraid to contact the sellers or manufacturers to inquire about the ‘grade’ of the ingredients.”