US Vaping Illness – Should I Stop Vaping?
It’s likely that you have seen recent reports in the media regarding a number of illnesses in America that have been linked to vaping. We understand that these reports may be cause for concern amongst vapers and those considering switching to e-cigarettes. With this in mind, we have illustrated below what this means for vaping in the UK, and why these reports do not mean you should stop vaping.
Vaping In The UK V’s The US
The use of e-cigarettes has rapidly increased since they first began to gain popularity in the mid to late 00’s. It’s estimated that in 2019 there are around 3.6 million vapers in the UK, of which around 54% have given up smoking completely.
In 2016 there was an update to the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive that included strict regulations regarding e-cigarettes. This included banning certain ingredients and applying restrictions on nicotine content and packaging. The regulations also require notification and approval for all vaping products before they can be sold in the UK.
This is in stark contrast to the United States where there are no clear regulations regarding quality or safety of products. Martin Dockrell, head of Tobacco Control at Public Health England, has highlighted the distinction between the UK and US. He noted that the incidences of lung illnesses in America have been identified by the FDA as being linked to vaping illicit or homemade liquids that contained THC and Vitamin E oils.
Vitamin E Acetate in THC Products Linked to Lung Illness
Vitamin E acetate is an oil derived from vitamin E. It is not known to cause harm when ingested, however experts say that it may be hazardous when inhaled. It may leave an oily residue on the lungs and could lead to respiratory issues similar to those experienced by patients in the US.
Investigations by State officials in America so far have indicated that the oil has been found in samples tested throughout the country. It’s not yet clear whether this is the cause of the illnesses, however it is the first common chemical found in samples used by sufferers. The majority of the samples containing vitamin E acetate also contained THC; the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana.
THC is an illegal substance in the UK, therefore it won’t be found in legitimate, approved vaping products.
Is It Still Safe for Me to Vape?
As we’ve discussed above, in the UK we have strict regulations on all vaping products. There have been no reports of similar incidents with UK-regulated products.
Every e-cigarette, refill, e-liquid and accessory must meet strict quality and safety standards. They must also be notified to the Medicines & Healthcare Regulation Authority (MHRA) before being offered for sale.
In light of the recent reports, Public Health England continue to advise that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking. Their latest statement reiterates that; “If you smoke there is no situation where it would be better for your health to continue smoking rather than switching completely to vaping.
“PHE’s advice remains that e-cigarettes are a fraction of the risk of smoking, and using one makes it much more likely you’ll quit successfully than relying on willpower alone.”
Deborah Arnott, the chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), said “Vapers should not be scared back to smoking by the news of vaping illness in the US. Nor should smokers stick to smoking rather than switch to vaping. It is essential, however, to only use legal vapes bought from reputable suppliers in the UK and not source illicit unregulated products over the internet.”
Below, Dr Zoe Williams discusses the safety of e-cigarettes in the below clip from ITV’s ‘This Morning’.
Our Commitment to Product Quality & Safety
We are dedicated to ensuring that all of our products are of the highest quality. Our products have been tested, submitted and licenced for sale in the UK by the MHRA. We also ensure that they meet the strict regulations of the TPD (Tobacco Products Directive).
OK E-Liquids are made in the UK with pharmaceutical grade ingredients and we carry out toxicology tests and emissions reports on all of our products.
Should I Stop Vaping?
Although we can’t say that it is 100% safe, all the evidence so far points to vaping still being far safer than smoking. Vaping has shown to be the most effective way to reduce tobacco smoking with research showing that e-cigarettes are almost twice as effective at helping smokers quit than patches or gum.
Public Health England continues to advise that vaping is 95% safer than smoking, and that it is far better to continue vaping than to revert back to smoking cigarettes.