So you are one of 700,000 Irish people who smoke. And you plan to quit this year? If so, you might have been thinking about nicotine alternative as an aid to giving up. Nowadays, smokers are increasingly looking to electronic cigarettes as a bridge to achieving complete smoking cessation. In the scientific world, e-cigarettes are known as electronic nicotine-delivery systems. Although often lumped together, they are a separate entity to personal vaporisers. PVs are not electronic and do not generate heat or vapour.
Electronic cigarette is invented in 2003 by Chinese scientist Hon Lik to deliver nicotine through an aerosol of propylene glycol and glycerin ,instead of the combustion products of dried tobacco leaves. Battery-powered, the earliest devices incorporated an LED which glows red like a cigarette when the user inhaled. Despite subsequent changes in size and design, electronic cigarette are made up of a chamber containing soluble nicotine, an atomiser and a sensor which activates a heating element causing the nicotine to be vaporised ready for inhalation. The consumer is called “vaper”.
The EU’s second tobacco products directive will come into effect next May. It will mean that ecigs will need to be regulated under legislation similar to tobacco legislation or they will need to have a medical device licence, meaning a detailed regulatory process.British American Tobacco (BAT) has received a medical device licence for a PV-type product from the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. This license will allow the device to be marketed as a smoking cessation aid.
Efficacy and safety are the 2 key issues that face anyone considering moving from being a smoker to a vaper. Unfortunately there is a dearth of definitive research to be certain about either. The ground has been further muddied by something of a turf-war between tobacco-control advocates and those who see e-cigarettes as an opportunity for harm-reduction.Questions include the impact of long-term nicotine use; the health consequences of contaminants in e-cigarette vapour; and whether vaping could be a route to traditional tobacco use, especially among children.Some public health camp is willing to explore the potential benefits of vaping in the belief that e-cigarettes are safer than traditional tobacco.
There is a fear among some experts that high levels of regulation will make e-cigarettes uncompetitive, leaving a monopoly for traditional tobacco products. Last year, Public Health England advised smokers to switch to vaping; it said vaping was at least 95 per cent less dangerous than smoking. Smoking is 20 times more dangerous than using e-cigarettes.