It’s fair to say that the once marginalised and unfashionable e-cigarette has well and truly reached mainstream culture. While celebrities such as Leonardo Di Caprio and Robert Pattinson have helped facilitate this popularity by ‘vaping’ in public, the simple fact is that mass acceptance wouldn’t have occurred if the technology didn’t actually work.
The e-cigarette represents a modern world. The technology, the slick design, the healthier alternative, which makes the cigarette appear, well, out of date. They provide customers pleasure, convenience, all the while saving a great deal of money in the process.
As expected, a product as revolutionary as this has attracted a lot of attention from the media. There are skeptics and there are true believers. But how much do you know of the science that goes in to the making of an e-cigarette?
As also expected, there have been tons of studies conducted that examine the affects of e-cigarettes against those of traditional cigarettes. The results are emphatic. The most recent of these studies took place at the end of 2014 and found that former tobacco smokers – despite smoking just as regularly – were far less addicted, had fewer cravings and were less likely to feel impulsive and irritable on e-cigs.
"The pattern was really very clear. The score was significantly less for e-cig use than for tobacco use," said lead researcher Jonathan Foulds, a professor of public health sciences and psychiatry at Penn State College of Medicine. "E-cig users feel less addicted." How is this so?
Since e-cigarette use involves inhaling vapour, rather than smoke (hence the term vaping) this dissipates more quickly and does not involve the burning of tobacco. The concentrations of toxins in the vapour are a tiny fraction compared to those in traditional cigarette smoke and it doesn’t leave the nasty smell because it mostly consists of water droplets.
The technology really is incredible. It’s battery-powered heating element vaporises an ‘e-liquid’ usually containing propylene glycol or glycerol, nicotine and flavourings. Designed to provide much of the experience of smoking but with much lower risk, it’s seen as a ‘gateway’ product to help quit smoking altogether.
According to research, on average, e-cigarettes appear to improve the chances of successful quitting by about 50%, which is a similar stat to those of other nicotine reducing products on the market. However, dozens of countries are introducing legislation that restricts the use of electronic cigarettes that could save the lives of millions. Why?
When you look at the science behind this product, it’s remarkable that this is the case. While e-cigarettes can be used as a ‘stepping stone’ to help end nicotine addiction, it’s allowing vapours a way to continue their lifestyle but in a far healthier way. That’s because although nicotine is the addictive ingredient in cigarettes, the experts believe it is not particularly harmful. Instead, it's the tar and other lesser know stuff in tobacco that kills.
It remains to be seen whether in fact the wave of legislation is coming our way, what is for sure is people are seeking high quality, futuristic alternatives to the traditional cigarette. The proof is in the science and business in the far healthier world of the e-cigarette is growing, which is a good thing for sure.