The war against the e-cigarette market has been raging for a few years now, especially with the popularization of sophisticated vaporizers and the multitude of smokers choosing e-cigarettes as a smoking alternative. A plethora of research done by scientists all over the world, including in the UK, have made statements supporting and bashing the use of e-cigarettes, either claiming it to be just as bad as smoking or to be better than smoking.
As well, in response to such conflicting research, the UK has taken up some new regulations on e-cigarettes that went into effect as of May 20th of this year. At this point, many are wondering, “Can even the best e-cig compete with a true cigarette?” or “Should I switch to vaping and give up my smokes?”
Research Studies on E-Cigarette Use
Many articles have surfaced on the web concerning the topic of vaping vs smoking. Within these articles, one would likely find research conducted by both US and UK scientific communities.
For instance, one of the most popular studies used as evidence in support of vaping dictates that, “e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than tobacco”. As well, there have been other reports that have surfaced from the UK that have also supported the use of e-cigarettes including one that stated that vaping has become one of the most popular methods of quitting smoking and that vaping only carries around 5% the risk of smoking.
However, there are other studies that have surfaced that contradict these findings. Some are from the UK while others have come from the US who are known for their general dislike against the vaping community and, this will be discussed later, have made their own regulations against the use of e-cigarettes.
One such study was conducted at the University of North Carolina, performed by Dr. Mehmet Kesimer, stating that vapers were found to have increased levels of proteins that were linked to certain conditions such as COPD and lupus. He also discovered high levels of a mucus secretion known as mucin 5AC, which is associated with chronic asthma and bronchitis, that was found in both smokers and vapers.
Changes in Vaping Regulations in UK
Back in May 2016, the TPD (Tobacco Products Directive) introduced new rules for e-cigarettes that contained nicotine and their respective refill containers. Some of these rules included providing related information to consumers and minimum standards regarding quality and safety for these products.
However, as of 2017, they have updated their regulations to include some new requirements including:
Restricting nicotine in e-liquids to a max of 20 mg/ml.
New warning and labelling requirements.
E-cigarette tanks are restricted to a max capacity of 2ml.
MHRA must be notified of all e-liquids and e-cigarettes prior to their sale.
These new regulations also extend to producers, manufacturers, and retailers who have to follow such requirements regarding putting a new product in the UK market, cross border sales, and reporting safety concerns.
It should come as no surprise that there is a divide when it comes to the scientific consensus on vaping. Is it safe or is it just as dangerous as smoking? Likely, you are going to find a ton of conflicting evidence and research either for or against the use of e-cigarettes.
If you do decide to use e-cigarettes as an alternative to smoking, it is recommended to use them only in the short term and to find other ways to kick your smoking habit. It is not recommended to simply pick up vaping just for the sake of it as breathing in clean air is a far more certain thing than using an e-cigarette.
The decision is ultimately up to the individual but consulting with a doctor is also an option. If e-cigarettes are the best option for you, ensure that you follow the UK vaping regulations and that you exercise best practices when using your e-cigarette and nicotine based e-liquids. If you are unfamiliar with the vaping community and how it works, this getting started guide to e-liquid vaping is a useful tool to consult prior to using for the first time.