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What are e-cigarettes?

You might know exactly what an e-cigarette (also known as an electronic cigarette or e-cig) is, or you may have absolutely no clue – don’t panic (actually you might after reading about the ‘dangers’ of these devices), we’re here to explain exactly what these electronic devices are all about and why we dub them a ‘no go’.

What is an e-cigarette?
It’s a device that mimics the look and feel of a tobacco cigarette,  with some of these devices looking pretty much like real cigarettes! The difference is that they are electronically run and don’t produce smoke from tabacco but rather a vapour produced from an e-liquid. And so, this is where the argument to e-cigs lies – while e-cigarette companies claim that the vapour produced is only water vapour, granted that nicotine is involved, conflicting views and studies suggest otherwise.

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A battery operated e-cigarette, one of many on the market simulating the ‘look’ of a real cigarette.

How is an e-cig operated?E-cigs are battery operated nicotine inhalers. They consist of a rechargeable lithium battery, a LED that lights up the end of the e-cig when puffed to simulate the burn of a real tobacco cigarette and contains a cartridge called a cartomizer. The cartomizer is then filled with an e-liquid (or e-juice) which produces a vapour inhaled by the user. The e-liquid produces a vapour due to a heating element in the e-cig causing the e-liquid to boil, eventually vaporising.

The misconception behind an e-cigs vapour:
E-liquids typically contain the chemical propylene glycol along with nicotine, and come in an assortment of flavours (yes, that’s right, you want a strawberry or candy aftertaste… these sticks have got it – and this is a major factor contributing to the number of teens picking up these devices).

But don’t let the vapour fog up your vision because that’s NOT all that these e-liquids contain. The problem is that e-cigarettes are currently not regulated by any government body worldwide, meaning e-cigarette companies can pretty much fill e-liquids with whatever they want. One of the arising concerns is the amount of nicotine these devices actually contain, with questions surfacing to what else is hidden in that foggy vapour. Here is what a few major bodies had to say about e-cigs:

“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found cancer-causing chemicals in electronic cigarettes, AAP News, 2013.

“E-cigs are not regulated or approved by the FDA and do not have to follow the same rules as other nicotine products. This means that the amount of nicotine and other harmful ingredients in each cartridge is not always the same,” AAP News, 2013.

A 2009 FDA analysis of e-cigarettes from two leading brands found that the samples contained carcinogens and other hazardous chemicals, including diethylene glycol, which is found in antifreeze,” Huffington Post, 2013.

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