E-cigarettes are an electronic device that replicates the sensation of smoking cigarettes as the user inhales vapour created by the heating element of the device.
Chinese inventor Hon Lik, who lost his father to lung cancer due to smoking, created the e-cig, and Lik’s invention has been adopted worldwide as a smoking cessation device.
Now, there are an estimated 2.2 million ‘vapers’ in the UK, with it widely being recognised as the best method of smoking cessation, but still, vaping doesn’t seem able to break free from the wrath of legislators in Europe and in the United States.
The reason e-cigs have become so popular is because of their success in replicating the smoking cessation, providing the nicotine that draws in smokers and the fact that they’re almost universally considered healthier than regular cigarettes.
Few sections of society have backed e-cigarettes and the vaping community more than the mainstream scientific community, with major health organisations and highly respected medical personnel continually absolving e-cigarettes and backing them as a viable smoking cessation method.
Intriguingly, research as suggested that vaping actually helps people who have quit smoking from gaining weight, with hundreds of e-liquid flavours and products that are available playing a crucial role in preventing people from snacking habits.
“People can change their nicotine content, so to quit smoking they might start off on a higher strength e-liquid and then they can taper down really quite gradually in a much more sophisticated way than they can with NRT, which is probably good for weight maintenance and for weight loss,” said Linda Bauld, co-author of health policy at the University of Stirling and deputy director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol studies.
Public Health England, an executive agency of the Department of Health, has said e-cigarettes are around 95% safer than regular cigarettes, and has called for them to be prescribed by the NHS.
Moreover, the Royal College of physicians concluded that e-cigarettes are beneficial to public health and smokers should be encouraged to vape. Interestingly, they also dismissed claims that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking.
However, some health officials have warned that sweet e-liquid flavours such as chocolate and bubble gum could attract children.
“We’re cautiously optimistic from our results that e-cigarette ads don’t make tobacco smoking more attractive, but we’re concerned that ads for e-cigarettes with flavours that might appeal to school children could encourage them to try the products.”
Despite all this, e-liquids face impending regulation from the European Union’s Tobacco Products Directive. Even though the UK voted to leave the EU on June 23rd 2016, there will be changes to e-liquids and e-cigarettes from May 2017.
Nicotine content in e-liquid will be capped at 20mg and tanks will be capped at 2ml juice capacity. Moreover, e-liquid manufacturers will have to submit their products and its ingredients to a commission before they can sell in the EU.
It remains to be seen what happens with the UK’s handling of cigarettes, vaping products and e-liquids once Brexit has occurred.