What are E-Cigarettes?

E-cigarettes (which are sometimes referred to as vaporisers or vapes) are electronic devices that heat a solution (e-liquid) and allow the user to inhale it.

E-liquids typically contain some of the following: Nicotine, Propylene Glycol and/or Vegetable Glycerine and flavourings.

E-cigarettes don’t burn tobacoo and don’t produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most damaging elements in tobacco smoke.

 

Is it safe?

Public Health England’s 2015 Independent Evidence Review found that, based on the available evidence, vaping is around 95% less harmful than smoking.

The Royal College of Physicians came to a similar conclusion in its 2016 report ‘Nicotine without smoke: tobacco harm reduction’. There are tight regulations in place in the UK which focus on the safety and quality of e-cigarettes. E-Cigarettes carry a fraction of the risk to health compared to smoking.

Are they safe to use around other people?

There is no evidence that vaping causes harm to other people around you. The available evidence shows that any risk of harm is extremely low, especially when compared with second hand tobacco smoke often referred to as passive smoking.

 

Can I use them if I am pregnant?

Little research has been conducted into the safety of E-Cigarettes in pregnancy, however they are likely to be significantly less harmful to a pregnant woman and her baby than cigarettes. The Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group, which includes the Royal College of MIdwives and the leading UK baby charities, has produced the following advice:

If you are pregnant, licensed NRT products such as patches and gum are the recommended option to help you stop smoking. However, if you find using an e-cigarette helpful for quitting and staying smokefree, it is much safer for you and your baby than continuing to smoke.

 

Choosing the right place to buy

When going to buy a vape it is best to visit a vape store. Here you can see and often try the products and speak to someone about what product would be best for you.

In May 2017, the Tobacco Product Directive (TPD) introduced new rules for nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes and refill containers. Products sold in the EU must comply with these regulations. Some of the key rules are:

  • E-Cigarette tanks (where the liquid is poured in) must be restricted to a capacity of no more than 2ml
  • The maximum volume of nicotine-containing e-liquid for salei in one refill container must be 10ml
  • E-liquids containing nicotine can only have a maximum nicotine strength o f 20mg/ml
  • Nicotine-containing products or their packaging must be child-resistant and tamper evident
  • Certain ingredients including colourings, caffeine and taurine are banned
  • Labelling on all products and liquids must have warnings
  • Require all e-cigarettes and e-liquids be notified to Medicines and healthcare products regulatory authority (MHRA) before they can be sold

If you are unsure, ask the retailer when you go in if they comply with these regulations and if they can show you examples of how their products comply with them.

How can an E-Cigarette help me to stop smoking?

There is growing evidence to support that using an e-cigarette with the right support can help you to stop smoking. Following the steps below will increase your chance of successfully quitting smoking using an E-cigarette:

  • Get support and advice from a Specialist Stop Smoking Advisor (you are 3x more likely to quit with support then by going it alone)
  • Buy your E-cigarette and E-liquids form a reputable specialist vape shop
  • Get advice from the vape shop staff about the right device and strength of liquid that would be best for you
  • Only use your E-cigarette rather than smoking and vaping intermittently
  • Set a quit date (the day you will stop smoking cigarettes), prepare for it and stick to it

 

The Stop Smoking Service is an E-Cigarette friendly service.

We can offer you support around when, where and how to use your E-cigarette. We can also prescribe Licensed Nicotine Replacement Products (NRT) to use alongside you E-cigarette such as patches to help keep cravings at a minimum.

For information on e-cigarettes from Public Health England (PHE) following the recent deaths in the USA, please follow this link. PHE’s stance on e-cigarettes has not changed: they are at least 95% less harmful than smoking, which kills almost 220 people in England every day.

The evidence still shows that vaping carries a small fraction of the risk of smoking. Using a nicotine-containing e-cigarette makes it much more likely someone will quit successfully than relying on willpower alone. But it’s important to use regulated e-liquids and never risk vaping home-made or illicit e-liquids or adding substances.