- Slides: 11
Purpose of session To increase your knowledge of the issues around electronic cigarettes and to develop your own informed opinion about their use.
Learning outcomes • Explain what an electronic cigarette/vape is, the types that exist and bust myths • Present an argument for and against electronic cigarettes/vapes • To present your own opinion on electronic cigarettes/vapes
Types of electronic cigarette Sometimes electronic cigarettes are referred to as vapes. There are different types of electronic cigarette. The first generation looked like normal cigarettes, but now they come in different sizes and shapes.
Electronic cigarettes work by super heating liquid nicotine and turning it into vapour (a bit like steam). When this vapour is inhaled it is absorbed by the mouth and lungs to enter the blood stream. When the nicotine hits the brain it produces effects similar to smoking.
Electronic cigarette facts Although the smoking laws do not currently include vaping, it is often banned in premises with enclosed spaces. Recently, some organisations and establishments are beginning to create ‘vaping areas’, sometimes using old smoking shelters. Many flavours of electronic cigarettes are available. These include sweet flavours such as strawberries, but you can also get tobacco flavour. Electronic cigarettes are sold with or without nicotine in the liquid and with various strengths of nicotine. In the UK, it is currently against the law to sell an electronic cigarette to someone under 18 years old. You may encounter ‘vape tricks’ on the web showing people who vape creating ‘vape rings and vortexes’ with the vapour they produce.
Electronic cigarette facts Electronic cigarettes are sometimes adapted by consumers to create more/less vapour. This can make devices unsafe. Electronic cigarettes are subject to Tobacco and Related Products Regulations. At this time, there is no electronic cigarette currently available on prescription although many stop smoking services can support people to quit smoking by using them.
Electronic cigarettes usually contain nicotine • • Nicotine is the addictive ingredient in cigarettes Nicotine does not cause cancer Nicotine is not thought to be harmful when used safely, as intended in electronic cigarettes The liquid is a yellowish colour What else do they contain? The liquid contains water, propylene glycol and or glycerol and flavourings. Some of the flavourings have been known to cause allergic reactions.
Myth busting: Vapes are more dangerous than smoking No, evidence shows they are safer. They are not, however, 100% safe as long term effects are still unknown. I can use a vape and it is safe – it’s just water vapour! They contain chemicals, flavourings and often nicotine. We do not yet know the long term impact of some of the chemicals. Some flavourings can cause allergic reactions. Using an electronic cigarette does not affect the people around me Vaping is likely to be much safer than smoking around people but we don’t fully know the effects of ‘secondhand’ vaping yet. In a confined space many people find it uncomfortable and it may irritate existing breathing problems. If I vape, it will make me more likely to smoke Not necessarily, we don’t know for sure whethere is a link between the two.
Arguments in favour • Electronic cigarettes are likely to be far safer for your health than smoking – you don’t get as many toxins as from regular tobacco. • Electronic cigarettes are likely to be safer than normal cigarettes for the people around you. • There are no circumstances where it would be better to continue to smoke than to use an electronic cigarette. • Electronic cigarettes can be used to quit smoking – especially for people who have failed using other methods. • Evidence so far suggests that electronic cigarettes do not appear to be a gateway to smoking. • Using electronic cigarettes is currently cheaper than regular cigarettes. • You can control the level of nicotine used by buying different strengths. • You are able to purchase electronic cigarettes that do not contain nicotine. • Health and safety risks from using electronic cigarettes are likely to be much smaller than from smoking – there is a reduced risk of house fire deaths – but they must be used and charged safely and according to instructions.
Arguments against • • • Electronic cigarettes have not been around long enough to know the long term impact on health. Using an electronic cigarette generally means that you will remain addicted to nicotine (unless you always use a zero nicotine e-cigarette). There is a risk that they undermine public health messages about smoking to young people. There is a risk that young people will use them and become addicted to nicotine. If left within reach of a child or pet the nicotine in the tank can be dangerous if swallowed. If guidelines are not followed electronic cigarettes may represent a fire hazard when charging or using the batteries. If an e-cigarette is modified or altered, it can be a safety risk. Electronic cigarettes are modified to burn cannabis or another illegal drug – and it can be difficult to tell just by looking. A number of the electronic cigarette companies are owned by tobacco companies.