After reportedly causing a wave of illnesses, vaping is gathering a negative reputation throughout the United States. Products produced by industry-leader Juul have received scrutiny because of the company’s advertising practices, a rise in teen vaping, and concern over the consequences of the ingredients in their products.
However, some health advocates are still supporting vaping as a better alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. While research into the overall safety of e-cigarettes is still in progress, it’s important to know what your options are if you’re looking to cut smoking out of your life.
UK Medical Professionals Encourage Doctors to Promote E-Cigarette Use for Smokers
Medical officials in Britain have embraced e-cigarettes, at least for now. The Royal College of Physicians, one of the world's oldest professional bodies dedicated to medicine, encourages doctors to promote e-cigarettes “as widely as possible” for smokers who are trying to kick their habit. Public Health England, an agency with a similar role in the United Kingdom as the Centers for Disease Control has in the United States, has said that vaping is about 95 percent less dangerous than smoking.
One of the keys to the different perceptions of vaping in the UK might be attributed to the country’s regulations on e-cigarettes. Unlike the U.S., Britain has strict regulations on the advertisement of vaping products. Companies like Juul are banned from advertising on television, the radio, and online.
“E-cigarettes are promoted to middle-aged smokers as a way to quit, and the imaging from our annual quit campaign is usually all men with beards, so it looks pretty boring,” said Laura Bauld, a public health professor at the University of Edinburgh.
As mentioned above, research regarding the safety of e-cigarettes is still ongoing. In some cases, some research even seems to be contradicting with some finding the products to be a better alternative and others warning of the possibility of increased addiction and exposure to dangerous chemicals. If you’d like to turn to e-cigarettes to quit smoking, avoiding certain ingredients might be beneficial.
E-Cigarette Ingredients You Should Be Aware Of
Diacetyl is an additive that helps make microwaved popcorn have a smooth, buttery flavor. It earned a reputation in the 1990s after it caused workers in a popcorn factory to contract bronchitis. Bronchitis contracted by the factory’s workers earned the name “popcorn lung.” Before this incident, diacetyl levels had only been tested in food and the effects it had on the lungs had yet to be studied.
Acetyl Propionyl and Acetoin
These ingredients are like diacetyl and serve as substitutes for it. However, one study found that these substances can make any trace amounts of diacetyl to react faster, thus making it more dangerous. So, even trace amounts of diacetyl could be a cause for concern in the presence of acetyl propionyl or acetoin. While no studies link these chemicals to significant health risks, many vapers choose to avoid them until the scientific community has a better understanding of them.
Other Ingredients to Watch For
If you’re concerned about the side effects associated with vaping but still want to quit smoking, avoiding these ingredients is a best practice. Note that nicotine use is also linked to health risks of its own, so tapering the amount of nicotine in your e-cigarette might help you avoid medical problems in the future.
Other vaping ingredients to avoid include the following:
- propylene oxide
Remember That E-Cigarettes Are Still Being Researched
It’s important to be skeptical of any claims stating that vaping is unquestionably safe. While it might be a better alternative to smoking, vaping is still widely unregulated in the United States, and its safety still requires substantial scientific research. If you do choose to vape, paying attention to ingredients and avoiding questionable “black market” products is important for protecting your health as much as possible.