Electronic cigarettes or vaporisers are a battery driven device with an attachment of an atomizer filled with an e-liquid. The battery vaporises the e-liquid and the user inhales it. This act of inhaling the vapours is called vaping. Vaping does not necessarily require nicotine and the user uses or does not use nicotine of his accord. E-cigs are also called as electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS). E-cigs are reminiscent of conventional cigarette smoke and hence the term vaping is coined. It was in 2003 that Hon Lik, a Chinese Pharmacist developed an electronic alternative of traditional cigarettes against the critical questions posed with respect to the health hazards of consumption of smoking. Vaping products are very budget friendly and cheap as compared to traditional tobacco cigarettes.
E-cigs and their types
E-cigs are available in three different forms:
Cig-a-like – This is an e-cigarette which apes the look of traditional cigarettes. When the user inhales the vapours from device, the end gives off light to copy the effect of the actual ignited tobacco cigarette. They are available as rechargeable kits or non-rechargeable models which are disposed off post use and have replaceable pre-filled cartridges.
‘Tank’ models – These are rechargeable tank models are as called vaporises. They consist of a tank poured with nicotine liquid. They are also known as vape pens and available at vape pen shop.
Mods’: These are more complex than the tank models and are called as personal vaporisers. They can be controlled manually and customised by adjusting the voltage on the device. E-cigarettes are run on a battery and are a combination of nicotine, mouthpiece and heating coil. The solution of nicotine, flavours and diluents such as vegetable glycerine and/or propylene glycerine is aerosolised when the activated battery heats the coil. The users inhale this vapour as a result of which nicotine enters into the bloodstream via mouth, lungs and throat.
E-cigs are praised often because they replicate the conventional smoking style and taste but not its toxic effects on health. Using tobacco cigarettes, you inhale smoke into lugs and then exhale it. E-cigs do not give off smoke into the air as there is no combustion process involved in it. Only vapour is produced as and when the user exhales. On the contrary smoke is emitted from the ignited end of the cigarette and thus it releases the toxic elements into the air. E-cigs are appealing because of their availability in a wide array of flavours ranging from cotton candy, vanilla, bubble gum, mint, chocolate truffle and many others. However the addition of flavouring additives has been criticised because they appeal to youngsters who cut and run to have a drag.
E-cigs are found helpful in quitting smoking as the users are able to cope with the after-effects of quitting. Researches have proved that vaping is less harmful than traditional tobacco smoking but it is hazardous at the integrated population level. Also it has been found that the less detrimental effects of vaping have normalised smoking and to some extent has done away with the taboo associated with smoking. As e-cigs will eclipse the withdrawal symptoms after you quit smoking it inspires people to retract from quitting.
Smoking e-cigs is not 100% unthreatening it finds way into the body to cause problems. Studies have disclosed that vapour of e-cigs contains traces of products of thermal breakdown and other contaminants that give birth to a number of health problems but the likelihood of causing serious threat is lesser. The problem of nicotine toxicity has also been characterised as potential health hazards which includes symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, nausea, agitation and vomiting.