It’s been a big month for vaping, from several pieces of new research to a new synthetic form of nicotine. Arguably, one of the biggest stories in the UK this month was a group of MPs arguing for more relaxed regulations surrounding vaping. From smaller tanks and bottles of e-liquid, to the restrictions surrounding where people can vape there are a lot of existing rules in the UK. These may be liable to change in the face of leaving the EU and following a suggested review. The Committee Chair of the group, Norman Lamb commented:
“E-cigarettes are less harmful than conventional cigarettes, but current policy and regulations do not sufficiently reflect this and businesses, transport providers and public places should stop viewing conventional and e-cigarettes as one and the same. There is no public health rationale for doing so.”
On the note of nicotine, Next Generation Labs have created a patented form of synthetic nicotine. What this means going forward is a potential complete divide between vaping and smoking. At present nicotine is currently classified as a tobacco product because that’s how it’s distilled. With any luck, the more e-liquid brands that use this format the more reason there will be to change the classification and create a permanent and lasting divide between smoking and vaping products.
Further research has been done on the effects of secondhand e-cig vapour to compare it with the effects of secondhand cigarette smoke. The tests were performed in a controlled environment and concluded that while cigarette smoke became progressively more concentrated, vapour dissipated very quickly. Conventional smoke took around 30 to 45 minutes to return to regular levels, vapour took mere seconds to become undetectable.
When it comes to the effect of vapour on an e-cig users lungs, there’s a new sample of research there too. The test was completed at the University of Birmingham, headed by Dr. David Thickett. It tested the effect of vapour on the function of lung cells. The experiment tested unflavoured e-liquid, one variety with a high dose of nicotine and one with no nicotine.They found the lung cells with a primary function of dealing with allergens suffered higher levels of stress, though when nicotine free liquid was tested the irritation was less pronounced. The research has come under some criticism as the vape used was a much older model from 2016 and the draws were three seconds each with only a 30 second break in between. These kinds of conditions have been used before in tests and often result in dry burns, emulating conditions no normal vaper would use. Thickett agrees vaping is less harmful than smoking but this research would simply suggest that reduced exposure and not chain vaping is the best way to go.
A recent paper published in the Addictive Behaviors Journal suggests nicotine levels shouldn’t be the main focus for vapers, rather reducing the amount they vape in total. Most people gradually drop their nicotine until they’re at a very low or zero level when they’re in the process of quitting smoking. However, concern over e-liquid is more surrounding the potential risks of the other ingredients rather than nicotine itself. There’s been a correlation drawn between those who drop their nicotine levels end up vaping more to self-titrate and end up still getting the same amount of nicotine overall. The piece concluded that, despite this, the amounts of aldehydes inhaled regardless of e-liquid consumption were still negligible thanks to advances in vaping technology.