E-cigs, health and lifestyle boon and controversial hotbed.
You could use both of those terms to describe how people have perceived e-cigs, vaporizers, vape pens, and all the electronic kin that has come into the market since the original debut, one thing is for sure, people love talking about e-cigs.
And for good reason, electronic cigarettes have changed the way we look at cigarette smoking and nicotine consumption. Gone are the days when the only way you can sit back with a cigarette like device in your hand was right out of a 50’s movie, yes, gone are the days when lounges filled with movie stars are what you think of when smoking comes to mind, technology has brought us a safer, more beneficial way to keep the experience alive and well without the extreme cost on our health and others.
Let’s just say not everyone feels that way. Since their general introduction into Asian markets in 2004, e-cigs have come under a lot of scrutiny, and people were only right to be skeptical. Smokeless cigarettes themselves are nothing new, having originally been patented by Herbert A. Gilbert in 1965 (check out the awesome interview James Dunworth put together at the ever-awesome Ashtray Blog). Even back then people were quick to realize the undesirable effects were not something people could continuously live with, there had to be a better way.
Fast forward 40 years and the dream of taking the cigarette experience and turning it into something that won’t harm yourself or others around you is now a possibility. The modern e-cig allows you to have a portable, rechargeable power source that is safe and easy to use, as well as giving you freedom and control over things like the material you consume and how strong the vapor is. It’s a modern miracle in the palm of your hand, not only because of its insane convenience but also its capacity for health benefits.
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So instead of having people constantly produce tar, ash, and thousands of chemicals in the air, putting e-cigs in the hands of those people and thus giving them a new lease on life should be a pretty cut and dry thing, no? Not quite. In the day and age we live in, all types of technology and innovation are closely monitored and tracked, and when something as uniquely engineered as e-cigs comes along, unfortunately there tends to be more questions and accusations thrown around by the media than actual facts.
Such studies including “A longitudinal study of electronic cigarette users. Addictive Behaviors” by J Etter and “Tobacco taxes & payment” by RJ Reynolds have not only gone into the details with how electronic cigarette use has actually affected consumers, but they’ve outlined ways that the tobacco companies can make their case in how the vaping industry hurts their bottom line.
Examine the truth for yourself and the light becomes a little clearer. Put simply, big tobacco stands to lose money from the growing popularity of e-cigs, and they aren’t the only ones. Tobacco cigarettes are one of the most taxed products you can buy legally in the US market, many departments get a cut from this, and there’s a lot of money being exchanged with each carton purchased. Common sense dictates that the tobacco companies and any organization or individual that makes their living off the sales of tobacco are going to be threatened by advances in electronic cigarettes and personal vaporizers, and this can result into a lot of misinformation spreading into the public. It’s your responsibility to educate yourself and help put a stop that.
Independent researchers have found that inhaling the miniscule by comparison amount of chemicals found in e-cigarette vapor pales in comparison to the thousands of toxicants inhaled into your body from burnt tobacco. Right away you can see that e-cigs are a healthy alternative for those simply looking for a better life.
So What’s In E-Cig Liquid – The ‘E-Cigarette Ingredients’ Anyway?
Some say a good Chef never reveals his secrets. If you eat an elaborate meal, you may not know every particular ingredient included, but you can be sure you enjoyed it, and it satisfied your hunger. But what if one were to dissect the meal in this context, and examine each and every micro ingredient used in each item? Picking apart the meal could reveal components that by themselves, could be unsafe when taken in large quantities. Nobody would recommend eating 64 ounces of pure syrup, but using a small amount of sweetener in a favorite beverage is generally acceptable and deemed ok for human consumption.
We see a similar parallel to that in e-cigs. Chemicals found in e-cigs are noted by those who study them to be at safe levels for human use. It’s only when numbers are blown up to portions beyond what normal humans consume, that opponents of e-cigs begin to chant for their un-safeness.
In reality, we see that e-cigs use something called e-liquid, or e-juice. It normally comes as a combination of two base properties, Vegetable Glycerin and Propylene Glycol, also referred to as VG and PG commonly. Propylene Glycol has come under attack in recent years even though it was deemed safe by the FDA due to the fact that it can also be found in anti-freeze. What some fail to point out when bringing up that fact is the reason why it was included in antifreeze in the first place is because of its non-toxic properties. Other PG products that you may have heard of also include desserts, salad dressings, sauces, and vitamins. Added to that fact is PG has been studied in labs and test subjects have shown no harmful long term affects after 12 or 18 months.
Vegetable Glycerin is also deemed as safe for human consumption by the FDA and is found in many products as it is sweet to the taste but contains fewer calories than sugar. It’s also found in many uses in the food industry today.
So after examining the two main ingredients, what else could there be to harm users? Obviously, it’s the nicotine. Since Nicotine is also found in regular tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarettes by association must be bad news just because of that fact, right? Well, that’s not true either.
Studies have shown that high levels of nicotine inhalation in rats have produced no harmful tumors and no increase in pulmonary neuroendocrine cells, unlike similar effects that were found in regular tobacco users. So not only has it been the effects of cigarette smoke inhalation that has proven to be the root cause of health issues, but on the flip side nicotine has actually been shown to have some beneficial properties, such as being able to relieve several neurological disorders including schizophrenia and MCI. Some have also shown that it has the capacity to improve mental function and focus.
Furthermore for any chemical not already classified in the above paragraph, we have a protection to safeguard the liquid from any possible harmful issues from e-cigs. Efforts produced by AEMSA10 in the US and ECITA11 in Canada are organizations of caring individuals who have the knowledge and know how to make sure that e-juice that is manufactured by the various brands meets safe to consume standards that we all can enjoy. Even though the government does not specifically regulate e-cigs themselves at this time, we’re able to see group efforts taking place that allow us to get a clearer picture on what risks are actually out there, and have the peace of mind to know we are still well within our limits of consumption. For more information on AEMSA, please see http://www.aemsa.org/ and for more information on ECITA, see here http://www.ecita.org.uk/theise.html
The vaping community as a whole seems to support itself, and that speaks volumes for the e-cig movement’s long term prospects. It should be possible in the event that any unsafe product or liquid that gets released to the public whether by accident or otherwise, that it gets properly identified and banned from the appropriate sources. It’s because of the efforts of individuals and joint efforts by groups that we enjoy the freedom from e-cigs that we do today.
More information about Glycerin and Glycol can be found here, http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-vegetable-glycerin.htm and http://www.drugs.com/inactive/glycerol-231.html as well as http://jpet.aspetjournals.org/content/91/1/52.abstract
For information regarding common foods and substances that can contain harmful properties but are safe for humans, look here http://abouttesting.testcountry.com/2010/06/6-common-food-with-nicotine-content.html as well as http://eatdrinkbetter.com/2012/02/22/cyanide/
So you’re ready to stop your road on becoming another tobacco cigarette statistic and you want to take the steps needed to get into the vaping lifestyle.
Well first, good on you, and second, welcome to the family.
It’s definitely exciting to get into using the product, they wouldn’t be popular if they weren’t fun, but it’s also an important realization to know that you’re making a conscious effort to improve your health and your life.
So what are some e-cigarette models, vape pens or products you should at look at first?
No doubt the mini cig, or cig-a-like cig should be at the top of your list as someone just starting out – and frankly it’s about impossible to compare anyone in this category for the moment anyway to the recent V2 Cigs EX in this class they truly are a category killer. Though other brands have much to offer, and if you insist on skipping ahead to a vape pen or have a brand you are curious about, definitely check out our e-cigarette reviews for our thoughts on specific e-cigarette brands and models (and while generics may be tempting, consider some of what you will read on the subject elsewhere on the site as to the downsides of cheaping out on your vapor cigarette gear).
This is the bread and butter product of the industry and the one that has had the most engineering weight put behind it. Since its initial inception, the cig-a-like has been changed, improved, re-designed, and overhauled by multiple vendors and manufacturers. Thankfully for us they also agreed to settle on a consistent standard, which means that most mini e-cig products will be compatible with most accessories such as batteries and chargers, this unification across the brands means more convenience and a better level of customization and control. Your options with the mini cigs are either disposable or rechargeable ecig kit, with the disposable ones being a common recommendation for those just wanting to get their feet wet a little. It’s a zero-setup option but unfortunately they are not built to last long or give you the best experience possible.
That’s where an actual personal vaporizer such a vape pen comes into play.
You might have seen the eGo style also commonly recommended, as it’s one of the most popular vape pens available on the market. The vape pen usually will contain a small rechargeable battery as well as an atomizer tank which allows you to do your own e-juice refills. Your refills will vary in time depending on your usage, so if you were a heavy smoker and plan to be a heavy vaper, you’re going to end up needing bigger e-liquid bottles and will thus go through more refilling procedures.
To sidestep that, think seriously about upgrading from just a standard vape pen and go with an advanced personal vaporizer, or APV. Many vendors have started to market these high end devices as enthusiast and performance products that allow for bigger tanks, bigger batteries, and more powerful vapor production which is sure to satisfy even the most particular of users.
There are also box mods available as well as mechanical mods which allow you an even further degree of customization over your vape. These devices let you change things such as the power sent to your atomizer as well as control the actual vapor production, giving you a more powerful “cloud” of vapor that might be right up your alley. Of course mods are not for everyone, we only generally recommend them for the experienced user or the tinkerer, as these can get up there in price and the learning curve can be somewhat steep for beginners.
The E-Liquid Varieties Out There Are Simply Immense.
There’s a lot of different eliquid flavors by a lot of different manufacturers, so it is possible to get confused rather quickly. But do not fret, most of the e-juice you’ll find is closer in properties to each other so it shouldn’t matter what specific brand you choose as much as it matters that you choose a reputable, top brand as opposed to bottom line no-name brand.
Your e-liquid will also more than likely be available to customize in several ways, including flavor mixture as well as the amount of nicotine that you want. Yes, in the e-cig world, you have the chance to customize exactly how much nicotine you want to inhale at any given time. This is a great way for those using e-cigs as a cessation method because depending on where you’re at in your journey to quit smoking, you know that your body needs a certain amount and you’re certainly not going to get all of it from other stop-smoking methods such as the gum or patch, you need to be able to inhale it like it was part of your normal routine. E-liquid delivers this in spades as you can go from variable of 36mg strength all the way down to 0mg. The average tends to hover around 18mg but we wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to get a few different levels to try as every user is different with different needs.
It’s with hope that all this information allows you to debunk some of the mystery and put some really bad, somewhat harmful myths to rest.
Electronic cigarette products get a bad rap from individuals and organization not because they aren’t helpful to consumers, but because they are afraid of what they are actually capable of. Remember, e-cigs aren’t only helping people live longer, more beneficial lives, they are also helping take away the livelihood of those that make a lot of money off the suffering and death of the millions of tobacco customers. This is a bigger deal than most are willing to admit, and since money is the almighty ruler in today’s business market, we can see where a lot of misinformation gets spread around to confuse people into making the wrong decision, or sometimes worse, no decision at all.
It’s because of this that we feel the best tool we have at our disposal is that you need to arm yourself with the same thing that has been keeping naysayers at bay for years, knowledge, and the ability to put that knowledge to good use. So if you know anybody who has been misinformed by bogus studies or just generally thinks that e-cigs share the same stigma as regular tobacco cigs, feel free to turn them on to this article and the information within and inform them just as you have.
The electronic cigarette industry is not going away, on the contrary, we do feel that we are just getting started and have a long ways yet to go.
But it’s not going to be possible without the help of more properly informed consumers, buying the products and supporting the top tier vendors that have our best interests at heart, but also spread that live saving knowledge onto others.
Misinformation in the media is nothing new, and admittedly there is not much we can do to stop both online and print media from publishing what they are going to publish.
They want the clicks and the views, and a sensationalist story is going to get a lot more press than one that just cites studies and facts. So in this day and age it’s important to be informed, be prepared, and most of all, not forget why you became interested in electronic cigarettes in the first place, to improve your experience and the quality of life not only for you, but for the friends and family around you that you care about who might have also been affected by the harmful effects of tobacco.