This is a question that I have constantly seen asked, both across social media and internet forums as well as from curious bystanders on the street. Many of these individuals have already developed a negative view that is factually erroneous regarding the safety of vaping and the usefulness of e-liquids.
E-liquid, also known as "vape juice," may be disassembled into its fundamental components, which include vegetable glycerine, propylene glycol, and flavourings that can be either natural or artificial. Let's go through each of these one at a time and talk about what they are, why they are used so frequently, and how safe each of these substances is.
The first and most important component of e-liquid is vegetable glycerine, which can make up anywhere from fifty percent to ninety percent or even more of the total volume of any particular e-liquid. Glycerine derived from vegetables is a viscous liquid that lacks colour and odour and has a flavour that can be described as mildly sweet. It is obtained through the processing of plant materials such as palm, soybean, and rapeseed oil. It is non-toxic and has widespread application across a variety of business sectors. Vegetable glycerine is used for a variety of purposes, including those of a thickening agent, sweetener, moisturiser, and lubricant. It is also widely available in a variety of items, including foods, soaps, shampoos, and skin care products and pharmaceuticals, to mention a few.
Its low vaporisation point, which allows it to be vaporised at low temperatures, creating the'smoke' like effect seen when using a vape; it's viscosity, which prevents the overall liquid from being too thin and creating issues with leaking from the devices; and finally, the fact that it is both non-toxic and chemically inert. These are the three primary reasons why vegetable glycerine is used in e-liquid.
Propylene Glycol is the second most abundant ingredient by volume, and its concentration in any given e-liquid can range anywhere from 5% all the way up to 50%. Propylene Glycol is another flavourless liquid that is odourless and has a taste that has been characterised as being comparable to that of a mildly bitter substance. It is a highly refined and pure product obtained from hydrocarbon sources, and just like vegetable glycerine, it finds widespread use in a variety of diverse applications ranging from industrial manufacturing to the production of food goods such as ice cream, soft drinks, and food flavourings. It has also been demonstrated to be an effective bactericide, and it has been utilised as a component in air purifiers and ventilation systems utilised in hospitals. However, the most widespread and well-known application for it is as a pharmaceutical solvent, which, in layman's terms, refers to the 'carrier' material that is used for delivering drugs orally, topically, intravenously, or via inhalation. This is the same quality that makes it a key component of e-liquid.
Because of its solvent properties and the fact that it has been demonstrated to be safe for human consumption, it can be used as a solvent in e-liquids. This enables flavourings and nicotine to "bond" to the molecules of the e-liquid when it is vaporised, which in turn enables these components to be vaporised and inhaled. In the absence of propylene glycol, these components would, for the most part, fail to vaporise. Instead, they would become detached from the vegetable glycerine and catch fire on the heating element of the atomiser.
One of the most widespread fallacies concerning propylene glycol is the notion that it is the principal component of antifreeze, which is a material that is, of course, quite hazardous. Although this is not true, it is simple to understand how such a misunderstanding may have arisen. Even while it is closely related to propylene glycol and similarly has a very low toxicity level, antifreeze actually contains an element called dipropylene glycol. Dipropylene glycol is a whole different chemical from propylene glycol, despite the fact that the two are related.
The flavourings are the last component, with the exception of nicotine, which may or may not be included in the product.
Food flavourings and e-liquid flavourings are not the same and cannot be substituted for one another for a number of fundamental reasons. The first of these is the type of solvent that is used in the production of each type of flavouring. Oils of varying sorts are used as bases in food flavourings because of their great solvent characteristics, their low cost, and of course, the fact that they are safe for human consumption. Flavourings that are derived from food use oils. Ingestion is quite harmless, but inhalation of the oil should be avoided at all costs. As a result, in order to manufacture flavourings that were tailor-made for usage in e-liquids, it was necessary to make use of a new solvent, namely propylene glycol.
The second component of flavouring is the assortment of chemical compounds that make up the substance itself; a single flavouring may have anything from a few to dozens of distinct compounds all at once. While the vast majority of these are the same between food and e-liquid flavourings, there are certain compounds that are present in food flavourings that are judged dangerous for inhalation and are therefore not present in e-liquid flavourings. Cinnamaldehyde is an example of one of these compounds; it is a chemical that is found in cinnamon and is responsible for the flavour of cinnamon. Inhaling cinnamonaldehyde can cause irritation to the lungs, despite the fact that swallowing it is considered to be safe and does not result in any observable toxicity. Cinnamaldehyde is an irritant to the skin.
Diacetyl, commonly known as the ingredient responsible for "Popcorn Lung," is probably the substance that is the most well-known but also the most misunderstood in relation to the discussion around the safety of vaping. The chemical known as diacetyl has a flavour that has been described as "buttery." The medical term for this condition is called obliterative bronchiolitis, but it was given the nickname 'popcorn lung' after eight workers at a popcorn mill in Jasper, Missouri in the 1990s contracted the condition. It was determined that the condition was brought on by the inhalation of huge doses of the flavouring chemical diacetyl, which was used in the popcorn.
After a delay of ten years, a research was published in which a variety of e-liquids were evaluated, and traces of diacetyl were identified. Subsequently, we began to see hundreds of sensationalised pieces within the media saying that vaping caused 'Popcorn Lung,' which is a form of lung disease produced by inhaling vapour that contains diacetyl.
These papers failed to take into consideration the fact that workers at the popcorn factory inhaled huge quantities of powdered diacetyl over the course of years or even decades before the sickness manifested itself, at concentrations that were tens of thousands of times higher than those discovered in the e-liquids that were tested. To put this into perspective, it has been proven that a conventional cigarette can contain up to 80 to 100 times the concentration of diacetyl that is found in an electronic cigarette, although a smoker has never been found to have the condition.
Although it is preferable for e-liquids to be diacetyl-free, which is no longer the case for the vast majority of products because companies that produce flavourings for e-liquids have since developed substitutes or eliminated the compound entirely from their products, it is relatively safe to say that older e-liquids that did contain the compound did so in such trace amounts that it is highly improbable that it would have ever resulted in any negative side effects.
In conclusion, as a result of the tremendous expansion of the vaping industry over the course of the last decade, there are now dozens of flavouring manufacturers who produce their goods specifically for use in e-liquids. These manufacturers have invested a significant amount of time and money into researching, developing, and testing these flavours to ensure that they are safe.
The very last component is nicotine, which comes as no surprise given that it is a completely optional additive. For this reason, not all e-liquids have nicotine, and anything that is sold legally in Australia should not. It is the duty of the user to obtain nicotine in a way that is both safe and legal and to add it themselves to the e-liquid so that it can be used as a cessation aid. Another fallacy that is widely held is that smoking tobacco causes cancer; however, this is not the case. Nicotine is the principal addictive chemical present in tobacco; yet, it does not cause cancer and has an effect on the body that is very comparable to that of coffee. Nicotine is a non-carcinogenic substance.
So there you have it: a rundown of each of the components that may be found in e-liquid, their respective applications, and the toxicity (or lack thereof) of those components. To address the topic, "Is vaping bad for you?" here are some answers: When you take into account all of the material that has been presented thus far, in addition to the substantial testing that has been carried out by the scientific community over the course of the past two decades, I feel it is safe to state that there is a very minimal possibility that vaping will have any kind of harmful influence on your health. This is the conclusion that I have come to.
It is safe to say that vaping is a very safe and highly effective method to quit smoking, and according to all current standards, it is deemed to be at least 95% less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes. Although it is true that there is always the possibility that something has been missed, and I would not recommend vaping to anyone who does not currently smoke, it is safe to say that vaping is a very safe and highly effective method to quit smoking.