Home Forums Health Are e cigs bad for your health?

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    • #468

      “E-cigarettes may cause cancer and heart disease, says study”

      I have never smoked before but I have always been concerned about the smoke e cigs cause. When some smokes one indoors or even out doors it just creates a massive plume of smoke and often you can taste in your mouth whatever flavor they are smoking.. are e cigs even worse for passive smoking? (I always hold my breathe when I am a near someone smoking whatever even if I look like a numpty doing it). If ecigs are just as bad should they have the same level of restrictions on them as normal cigs?

    • #469

      If ecigs are just as bad should they have the same level of restrictions on them as normal cigs?

      Yes, but I don’t think that anybody has suggested that they are. If you worry about cancer, then I would be far more concerned with traffic pollution or UV exposure in day to day life than passive e-cig smoking.

    • #470

      what study?

      the plume of smoke is actually steam/water-vapour. The unknown is the flavouring in it rest of the stuff should be fine. There’s no tar, or any of the other nasties in there.

      Regulating the flavouring I guess may happen.

      I’m not and never have been a smoker, but i know people using(abusing) these now.

    • #471

      Scare stories abound, of course, but so does genuine scholarly peer-reviewed research, and as yet there is absolutely no evidence of harm from ecig vapour.

      Here’s a thorough meta-analysis to start with:


      And a more recent summary:


      Plenty out there, good sources and bad. You judge.

    • #472

      Edit to above:

      I meant no conclusive evidence of harm, conclusions of studies are obviously keen to stress that long-term harm cannot be excluded, out of caution, but that they are many orders of magnitude safer than smoking.

      Given that there are some 80,000 smoking-related deaths per year in the UK, a move to subject vaping to the same restrictions as smoking would be criminal . Those are lives to be potentially saved if every smoker switched to vaping.

    • #473

      I find the smell unpleasant and in a very vapy environment find it makes my throat sore, in the same way as in a smokey environment or if someone had been spraying aerosols around.

      Doesn’t necessarily mean it’s damaging my health long term, but it certainly does have a short term negative effect.

    • #474

      They are undoubtably bad for you especially if they have nicotine in the “juice” which most do – they are after-all a form of nicotine replacement therapy. Inhaling steam is not normal and is bound to have some detrimental effect, but the level of harm is tiny. The harm is from Nicotine which is a poison – you can’t get away from this if you want to ingest nicotine in some form (which addicts do) the level of harm is likely similar to the level of harm from wearing a nicotine patch or chewing nicotine gum.

      Overall the level of harm is massively smaller than actual smoking and as with real smoking, vaping effects are massively smaller on passive inhalers than active inhalers.

      I sincerely expect traffic pollution to pose a higher risk (thats not to say its unpleasant)

      As a smoker who swapped to vaping completely for a year and now gone back, the most irritating thing I found about vaping was the way people are evangelical about it, and doing things like deliberately being obnoxious as some kind of rebellion against sensible anti smoking legislation. A perfect example of this is the obsession with blowing big clouds – its done for looks not for delivery of nicotine.

    • #475

      If ecigs are just as bad should they have the same level of restrictions on them as normal cigs?

      They’d have to try hard to be anywhere near as bad.

      Mind you I do wonder about harm – although not enough to do any actual research into it – I don’t know how many of the vast range of flavouring molecules used have been tested for safety when inhaling in quantities relevant to vaping. The flavour molecules are normally restricted to food stuffs for eating. Clearly the lungs and the stomach are very different organs. Certainly when you walk past someone huffing down their nicotinated cherry vanilla steam it reeks far worse than any flavour laden yogurt etc.

    • #476

      Evidence is still a bit shaky cos they’ve only been around a few years, but if you’re inhaling nicotine there’s a good chance they will cause gum disease and make your teeth drop out jus’ like good ol tabaccy.

    • #498

      It’s a ticking time-bomb. Flavour ingredients are allowed to be used to give aroma (which is 95% of taste) to foods. These molecules are ingested and dealt with by the stomach or passed straight though but the flavour molecule diacetyl, which gives the butter flavour to popcorn, has already been found to cause lung damage in eight workers in a popcorn factory (Google Popcorn Lung).

      That would have been eight people who didn’t deliberately inhale the molecule in a water vapour, which I imagine would increase absorption into lung tissue. So we have no idea what long-term damage is being caused by inhalation of flavour molecules.

    • #499

      @joey Diacetyl has been banned in e-cigarette juice flavorings in the UK for over 18 months now. The ‘ejuice’ industry has been booming recently and there’s an incentive for manufacturers to develop flavors with minimal additives as it appeals more to their customer base. I quit smoking through using an electronic cigarette and would say that even if there are health risks associated with vaping, they are immensely lower than those associated with actual smoking. It’s not been happening on a large enough scale for anyone to be able to accurately say what the long term health risks may be. I would be immensely surprised if it was anywhere close to as bad as actual smoking though!

      If you look closely enough there are health risks associated with virtually everything these days – my view is that in order to live a life that you are actually able to enjoy you must accept an element of risk, whatever the extent of that risk may be.

    • #500

      I once was seconded to work for an international tobacco company whom had basically modelled the future market and concluded that the market for traditional tobacco in the western world would be dead in 5-10yrs and e-cigs would follow shortly once people got wind of the issues with them.

      These people had more money than entire nations, the power to lobby governments and officials with the greatest of ease, and their attitude and mindset made bond villains look like part timers. I concluded that their lack of investment in e-cig’s was based on sound science and market predictions.

      Ultimately they picked a third way which was to invent a cigarette system which had no ‘biomarkers of harm or risk’ (cancer causing stuff), but had the same taste, smell, smoke and ‘ritual’ (the sales hook). When I left the programme they had successfully completed human clinical trials across Europe, US and Japan so I would imagine this device is now almost ready for market.

    • #506

      Nicotine in and of itself is pretty much harmless, it’s certainly no worse than caffeine. It’s not a “poison” any more than caffeine or sugar or some supplements.

      The issue with tobacco isn’t due to nicotine.

      • #507

        @timo Nicotine on its own does have a long list of adverse events and despite rigorous research the issues are still not well understood. It’s the addiction and dependency that go hand in hand with all the cancer causing components that makes it nastier still.

    • #508
      mick ward

      @timo nicotine most certainly is a poison, it does however have a use that it stimulates the dopamine pathways in the brain when administered in small doses. The administration device can be a cigarette or a vape (or gum/lozenge/spray etc) cigarettes are deadly as we know, vapes less so, early tests have indicated. we won’t know the long term until, well, a long term has passed. Would there be any genetic problems passed on to 3rd or 4th generation children of vapers for example?


    • #509
      mick ward

      My mate went on a business exchange to China. Whilst over there he toured a factory that makes the vape flavour thingies.

      He spoke to some of the workers on their break, who were all smoking traditional cigs. He asked them why they weren’t smoking e cigs. The workers all burst out laughing before one said ”’know what’s in that stuff”.

    • #510

      “All things are poison… only the dose makes a thing not a poison”

      Are e-cigs bad for you? Depends on the circumstances. If you were previously a non-smoker I would have thought so, if you have replaced fags for e-cigs probably not.

    • #511

      Had I continued smoking them, fags would probably have shortened my life by about ten years as I had smoked them for about thirty years.

      Two and a half years ago I exchanged them for an e cig. I’m still a nicotine addict but I can feel the difference in the delivery method every day in my lack of cough, higher fitness, skin condition, dental health and so on.

      Nicotine is highly addictive but probably only mildly harmful.

      Vaping will improve the lives and extend the lives of millions of people who would otherwise be unable to stop smoking because they can’t overcome the addiction.

    • #512

      @frosty I agree e cigs sounds like a great alternative for smokers wanting to quit smoking. But what about young people who have never smoked before and see vaping as a trendy thing and get an addiction because of the trend?

    • #513

      I agree e cigs sounds a like a great alternative for smokers wanting to quit smoking. But what about young people who have never smoked before and see vaping as a trendy thing and get an addiction because of the trend?

      @garygary That doesn’t seem to be the case.

      Far better they see vaping as trendy than see smoking as trendy as was the case in the past.

      Overall it seems vapers are mostly smokes becoming vapers rather than non-smokers becoming vapers.

      “More than half of the nearly-three million people in Britain who vape are ex-smokers who have given up smoking tobacco, a new survey suggests.”

      • This reply was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by James.
    • #514

      From what I’ve read, the nicotine and flavouring additives are thought to be relatively safe. But when the liquid is heated to produce vapour, the additives burn and produce a whole lot of organic combustion products the health effects of which are almost completely unknown.

    • #516

      @frosty this survey indicated that of the 2.9 million vapers in the UK, 1.5 million were ex-smokers. Which leaves 1.4 million who started vaping despite being non-smokers.


      So yes, 1.5 million is more than half of 2.9 million, but only just. Obvious question is why did 1.4 million people spontaneously take up vaping?

    • #517

      @gutted No!
      I read it as saying that the majority of vapors were smokers and that half of them have given up tobacco smoking completely and the other half do both.

      Yes, there are vapors who have never smoked but I think that they are a small number.

    • #518

      Apparently they’re now banned completely in Singapore. Other countries seem sure to follow as longer term evidence stacks up.

    • #519

      E cigs just use nicotine. There are no cancer causing components of nicotine.

      The list of adverse effects is no longer than for many commonly used chemicals. If you drink tea or coffee there are a similar number.

    • #520

      @nick You should read the published meta-data analysis for nicotine which says contrary to it being harmless. They do stop short of citing it as carcinogenic but do report evidence to support its role with mechanisms of causing cancer, other papers report differently and have proposed both animal and human clinical data for its role in various cancers.

      Regarding nicotine’s safety profile compared with tea/coffee that would be interesting. Tea and coffees image as being healthy has been touted for a long time, not long ago Victorian doctors were saying the same about tobacco.

    • #521

      I don’t smoke and know nothing about effects of using e cigs. However, I think that vaping is stupid looking.

    • #522

      Public Health England have come around to my view that vaping is something the health profession ought to be advocating rather than scare mongering about:

      E-cigarettes should be on sale in hospital shops, health body says


    • #523

      This is probably one of the best bit of research done into the matter. Funded by cancer research UK.


    • #530

      Hmm. have never been a smoker (can’t stand the stench) but their “must” be something in it that attracts so many people, wondering whether any non smoker has tried / taken up e cigarettes and their thoughts on it? I assume it is just as addictive as smoking but considered relatively safe

    • #531

      Hmm. have never been a smoker (can’t stand the stench) but their “must” be something in it that attracts so many people, wondering whether any non smoker has tried / taken up e cigarettes and their thoughts on it? I assume it is just as addictive as smoking but considered relatively safe

      @freddy Whatever reason that people start smoking (never a sensible decision – I can’t even remember when I did but it was probably in a smoky pub somewhere with smoking mates and too many beers) it’s the nicotine that keeps you at it. Your last sentence is correct.

      I would strongly discourage anyone from going anywhere near an e-cig unless they were a smoker wanting to give up – who needs an extra addiction/cost in their lives. Though unless you go all nerdy on it e-cigs and liquids are much cheaper than keeping up a smoking habit.

    • #532

      I imagine there is no definitive answer due to lack of information as to the full ingredients of the liquid as general knowledge( i don’t now whats in them, or how or if the additives are controlled/regulated/tested etc.)

      One of the issues with traditional cigarettes (this is aside from the obvious inhaling red hot smoke into lung tissue) are the chemicals added by the manufacturer to aid in the delivery of the nicotine as fast as possible to the receptors in the brain, which is the main cause of the intense ‘hit’ and the subsequent difficulty in stopping smoking.

      I suspect they are less damaging than fags, but if the same cocktail of additives are used, maybe not much so.

    • #533

      @andrewsb Good news. They don’t add any of those things because they don’t need too. No need for it as they don’t need help to burn like tobacco does. No burning involved. You can speculate all you like about what’s in them but in general almost everything used has been proven safe. They’ve been pretty good at self regulating so far.

      Vaping is 95% safer than smoking and doesn’t get kids hooked, claims Public Health England


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