E-cigarettes: Facts and Regulations
Smoking cigarettes remains the largest single risk factor for death, worldwide. Continued research into alternative nicotine delivery devices, such as electronic nicotine delivery systems e.g. e-cigarette products, shows these devices could play a key role in reducing the enormous health burden caused by cigarette smoking.
Public Health England (PHE) commissioned a series of reports on vaping products to help them inform policies and regulations regarding the industry. Their most recent report, the 2020 Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) survey on e-cigarette use in the UK, revealed that:
Around 6 million adults in the UK currently use e-cigarettes. This represents an increase of around 10% from the previous year, where 5.5 million adults were reported as using e-cigarettes. Suggesting that e-cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular among adults in the UK.
Of those who currently use e-cigarettes, around 3 million are smokers and 2.8 million are ex-smokers. This indicates that e-cigarettes are being used by both smokers and ex-smokers as a tool to quit or reduce smoking.
The use of e-cigarettes is most common among those aged 25-49. This is the age group where most smokers are found, and it suggests that e-cigarettes are being used as nicotine replacement products to quit smoking by this demographic.
The most common reason for using e-cigarettes is to stop smoking or cut down on smoking. This supports the idea that e-cigarettes are being used as a tool to quit or reduce smoking, and that they are seen as a viable alternative to traditional cigarettes.
Around 10% of current e-cigarette users also smoke cigarettes (dual use). This suggests that some people are using e-cigarettes as a means of cutting down on smoking, rather than quitting entirely.
The majority of e-cigarette users (57%) use refillable tank devices. That's because these vaping devices are more versatile and customisable, allowing users to control the amount of nicotine and flavour they consume.
The most popular e-liquid flavour among e-cigarette users is menthol or mint. This is followed by fruit and tobacco flavours. This suggests that users prefer menthol or mint flavours as they are similar to traditional cigarettes.
Of the 10% of e-cigarette users who also smoke cigarettes, most of them (70%) are trying to quit smoking: This supports the idea that e-cigarettes are being used as a tool to quit smoking.
The survey also found that the proportion of smokers who have tried e-cigarettes has increased, with around two-thirds of smokers having tried e-cigarettes. This suggests that e-cigarettes are becoming more prevalent and that more smokers are aware of them as an alternative to traditional cigarettes.
What are e-cigarettes and how do they work?
E-cigarettes are a growing market, and they're not going anywhere. But what exactly are they and how do they work?
E-cigarettes are battery powered devices that contain a reservoir of e-liquid. When you take a puff on an e-cigarette, the battery powers a heating element (called an atomiser) that vaporises the liquid in the cartridge or reservoir. The atomiser is basically a coil wrapped around with a wick; it heats up until the e liquid reaches its boiling point and turns into steam.
This steam (vapour) can then be inhaled into your lungs, just like regular cigarette smoke would if you were smoking a traditional tobacco cigarette. An e-cigarette can be reusable or disposable, and is often shaped like a traditional cigarette.
Key points to note: e-cigarettes DON'T contain tobacco, so they don't produce smoke or tar; they also don't produce carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas produced when tobacco is burned incompletely.
The 4 main ingredients in e-liquid
E-cigarettes heat a liquid to produce vapour that is then inhaled. This liquid, often referred to as "e-juice" or "e-liquid", contains a combination of (typically) 4 ingredients that give it its unique taste and experience:
Propylene Glycol (PG)
Vegetable Glycerin (VG)
Propylene Glycol is a colourless, odourless liquid that is used as a base in e-liquids. It is a common ingredient in many consumer products and is considered safe for human consumption.
Vegetable Glycerin is also a clear, odourless liquid that is derived from vegetables. It is thicker than PG and produces more vapour when heated. It also has a sweeter taste and is less harsh when inhaled.
Nicotine is an addictive stimulant that is found naturally in tobacco. E-liquids can contain various levels of nicotine, from no nicotine to high levels of nicotine, depending on the user's preference.
E-liquids come in a wide variety of flavours, from traditional tobacco and menthol, to more exotic flavours like fruit, candy, and dessert. Whether you're a fan of classic tobacco taste or you prefer something a bit more adventurous, e-liquids have a flavour for everyone. The flavouring used in e-liquids can be either natural or artificial, but both can offer a great taste experience.
Flavours can also be mixed and matched to create unique combinations that you might not find in an ordinary shop. For example, you could mix two different brand names of chocolate e-liquids together if they have similar ingredients but different strengths of flavour or texture.
What are all the different names for e cigarettes?
This term is used to refer to the electronic devices that are used to vaporise e-liquid and deliver it to the user in the form of vapour. These devices typically include a battery, a heating element, and a chamber for the e-liquid.
Vaping devices come in a range of shapes and sizes, from small, pen-shaped devices to larger, more advanced devices that offer more features and customisation options. They can be either disposable or rechargeable.
This term is used to describe the small, pen-shaped vaping devices that are commonly used for vaping. Vape pen devices are typically slim and portable, and are easy to use. They have a small battery and a simple design, making them a popular choice among beginners and casual vapers.
Short for electronic cigarettes, this term is used as a catch-all term to describe any device that uses a battery to vaporise e-liquid and deliver it to the user in the form of vapour.
Short for modification, this term is used to describe the larger, more advanced vaping devices that are used by experienced vapers. Mod devices typically have more features and customisation options than smaller, more basic devices.
Mods often have larger batteries and more powerful heating elements, and can be customised with different tanks, coils, and other accessories. Some of the more advanced mods also have features like temperature control, variable wattage, and even Bluetooth connectivity.
Do e-cigarettes contain nicotine?
No. Not all e-cigs contain nicotine. Unlike regular cigarettes, the amount of nicotine in e-liquid can vary, with some containing no nicotine at all, while others contain high levels. If you choose to use shortfills, you can make up your e liquid to your preferred nicotine strength.
Many e-cigarettes are designed to allow users to control the amount of nicotine they consume, by using e-liquids with different nicotine strengths.
Are electronic cigarettes just as addictive as cigarette smoking?
No. The level of addiction to e-cigarettes is not as high as regular cigarettes. While the addictive element of both e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes is nicotine, e-cigarettes give the user more control over the amount of nicotine they consume, by using e-liquids with differing strengths of nicotine. This ability to alter the amount of nicotine in the e-liquid helps smokers gradually reduce their nicotine intake and eventually quit smoking altogether.
Can e-cigarettes help people quit smoking?
Yes. E-cigarettes have been found to be effective in helping some people quit smoking. Studies have shown that e-cigarettes may be more effective at helping smokers quit than alternative nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products such as patches and gum.
A systematic review and meta-analysis of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, found that e-cigarettes with nicotine were more effective for smoking cessation than e-cigarettes without nicotine or NRTs.
A study by Public Health England found that e-cigarettes are twice as effective as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products such as patches and gum in helping smokers quit.
How do e-cigarettes help with smoking cessation?
E-cigarettes can be an extremely helpful tool for smokers who are looking to quit:
Nicotine replacement: E-cigarettes deliver nicotine in a vapour form, which can help smokers to overcome their nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms. E-cigarettes provide a similar way to deliver nicotine and can be a helpful tool for smokers looking to quit. Because the habit of vaping mimics smoking.
Behavioural replacement: E-cigarettes provide a similar hand-to-mouth action as traditional cigarettes, without the smoke and harmful chemicals, which can help to replace the behavioural aspect of smoking, which in turn can make the transition to not smoking much easier for some individuals. Tobacco cigarettes are often associated with specific activities or routines, such as taking a break at work or having a cigarette with a cup of coffee, and even though you maybe getting nicotine from a patch or gum, you aren't partaking in the usual activity that accompanies smoking. E-cigarettes, therefore, can provide a similar routine and help to break the association between these activities and smoking.
Flexibility in nicotine dosing: E-cigarettes come in various nicotine strengths, allowing individuals to gradually decrease their nicotine intake over time. This can help to reduce withdrawal symptoms and make it easier to quit smoking.
Variety of Flavours: E-cigarettes come in a variety of flavours, from traditional tobacco and menthol to more unique options like fruit and dessert flavours. This can help smokers to switch from traditional cigarettes to e-cigarettes without feeling the loss of taste.
Cost-effective: E-cigarettes can be less expensive in the long run than traditional cigarettes, which can be an incentive for smokers to switch to e-cigarettes and quit smoking.
Are e-cigarettes less harmful for you than cigarette smoke?
Yes. E-cigarettes are less harmful for you than cigarette smoke. While traditional cigarettes contain thousands of harmful chemicals, many of which are toxic and carcinogenic, e-cigarettes do not produce tobacco smoke and do not contain many of the potentially harmful substances found in traditional cigarettes.
Are e-cigarettes safe to use?
The safety of e-cigarettes is a topic of ongoing debate and research.
In the UK, research into the safety of e-cigarettes shows:
A study by Public Health England reviewed the available evidence on e-cigarettes and concluded that they are around 95% less harmful than cigarettes. The study also found that e-cigarettes can help smokers quit smoking and that they are being used mostly by smokers as a complete substitute for smoking, rather than as a gateway to smoking.
A study by Cancer Research UK, also reviewed the available evidence on e-cigarettes and found that they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes. They also found that using e-cigarettes can help smokers quit smoking and that the level of harm from e-cigarettes is likely to be low compared to the harm from smoking.
A study by the Royal College of Physicians also concluded that e-cigarettes are likely to be beneficial to UK public health, concurring with PHE that they're mostly used by smokers as a way to quit smoking, rather than as a gateway into smoking.
A study by the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies also found that e-cigarettes are less toxic and less addictive than cigarettes. They also found that e-cigarettes can help smokers quit smoking and that their use is associated with improved quit rates.
A study by the British Medical Association concluded that e-cigarettes are not without risk, but are likely to be significantly less harmful than smoking.
Because e-cigarettes are still relatively new, more research is needed to fully understand the potential long term risks and benefits of e-cigarettes, and to determine the long-term health effects of their use.
It's also important to note that the safety of e-cigarettes may vary depending on the specific device and the liquids used in it.
Is exposure to secondhand e-cigarette vapour harmful?
While exposure to secondhand e-cigarette vapour is not entirely risk-free, it is much less harmful than exposure to secondhand smoke from traditional cigarettes.
Exposure to secondhand e-cigarette vapour, also known as passive vaping, is a cause for concern for some people. Studies have shown that e-cigarette vapour can contain a variety of harmful substances, including nicotine, heavy metals, and ultrafine particles. Some of these substances can be toxic if inhaled in large amounts, and there is concern that exposure to secondhand vapour could be harmful to people who are exposed to it over time.
However, it's important to note that the levels of these harmful substances in e-cigarette vapour are generally much lower than in cigarette smoke. The Royal College of Physicians in the UK, has stated that: "the hazard to health arising from long-term vapour inhalation from the e-cigarettes available today is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco."
It's also important to remember that e-cigarettes do not produce smoke, only vapour. Secondhand smoke from traditional cigarettes contains over 7,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic and carcinogenic. In contrast, e-cigarette vapour contains far fewer chemicals and much lower levels of these harmful substances.
It's also worth reiterating that Public Health England (PHE) states that e-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than tobacco and that vaping poses only a small fraction of the risks of smoking.
Are e-cigarettes regulated in the UK?
Yes, e-cigarettes are regulated in the UK. The sale, advertising and promotion of e-cigarettes are regulated by different laws and regulations. In May 2016, the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) introduced new rules for e-cigarettes and refilled containers in the UK.
The TPD stipulates that e-cigarettes and e-liquids must comply with certain requirements, including:
Maximum nicotine strength of 20mg/ml
Child-resistant and tamper-evident packaging
Health warnings on the packaging
Notifying the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) of all products placed on the market
Not making any health claims about the products
Having a maximum refill container size of 10ml
Not containing certain ingredients such as colourings, caffeine and taurine
Also, the UK has implemented additional regulations, such as:
A ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to people under the age of 18
A ban on the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public spaces
A ban on the advertising and promotion of e-cigarettes on television and radio
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is responsible for the regulation of e-cigarettes as medical products in the UK, with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) responsible for enforcing advertising rules.
In short, e-cigarettes are heavily regulated in the UK by laws and regulations that are designed to protect public health. These regulations aim to minimise the potential risks associated with e-cigarettes, such as ensuring that the products are safe to use, and that they are marketed in a responsible manner.
What are the different types of e-cigarettes available at 88Vape?
If you're ready to quit smoking, or you're looking to improve your vaping experience, we have an incredible range of vaping products to choose from: disposable vapes, vape pens, pre filled vape kits, pod vapes, and mod vapes.
And if you're quitting smoking and looking to kick your nicotine addiction for good, check out our 0mg nicotine free e liquids.