Answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding vapor products.
It’s important to note that we are not doctors. All answers are solely based on our opinions and personal research. We certainly encourage our readers to research professional medical + science journals, scholar based articles and to seek advice from your physician for health related topics.
Vaping is an extremely ‘hot-button’ topic and one at the center of many debates going on in our country and across the world.
Table of Contents
- Is vaping safe?
- Is second hand vapor safe?
- What about second hand vapor & pets?
- What are the side-effects to vaping?
- What is nicotine?
- Who regulates vapor products in America?
- What about airports, airplanes & vaping?
- How do e-cigarettes & vapor devices work?
- What’s the cost of vaping for consumers?
- Is vaping less economically expensive than tobacco cigarettes?
- What are the main differences between vapor products & tobacco cigarettes?
- What typically happens when you switch from tobacco cigarettes to vapor products?
- What are the best vapor product brands?
Is vaping safe?
First and foremost, our position is to disavow absolutely anything and everything that would encourage under-age tobacco or vapor use.
Concerning ‘of-age’ vapor use; we don’t view vapor as a hobby, a past-time or a form of enjoyment / entertainment. We strictly view vapor products as a bridge for tobacco cigarette users to use in order to stop smoking and frankly ultimately to quit vaping.
Our take is that vaping, at the very least, is less unhealthy than tobacco cigarette smoking. It’s our opinion that over time and more unbiased research, this will be the understatement of the century.
The real questions concerning the safety of vapor are long term effects of inhaling nicotine, polypropylene glycol and vegetable glycerin substances. According to a toxicological assessment study (Toxicity of the Main Vaping Components, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, and Nicotine in a 90 Day OECD Inhalation Study Complemented by Molecular Endpoints), published by Science Direct, the conclusions are favorable to vapor products, especially compared to tobacco cigarettes.
Is second hand vapor safe?
The main components of e liquid are water, flavor additives, polypropylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. Nicotine is also an ingredient commonly used in e liquid, though it should be noted that a large percentage of e liquids are available in various dosages of nicotine, including 0 or none at all.
Nicotine, when present in e liquid is typically measured in mg/mL (milligram per milliliter). Common amounts of nicotine found in e liquid are 0 mg (0%), 3 mg (0.3%), 6 mg (0.6%), 12 mg (1.2%) and 24 mg (2.4%).
Interestingly, it’s difficult to actually find nicotine content numbers for domestic cigarettes in the United States. There’s a lot of half-answers and frankly misinformation out there still. For example, the most widely available and used information regarding tobacco cigarette nicotine content is actually a tar to nicotine ratio.
However, we were able to locate an Iranian study (of all places), that is widely sourced online. The range of nicotine found in their Iranian domestic tobacco cigarettes was 6.17 mg to 12.65 mg according to a study (Nicotine Content of Domestic Cigarettes, Imported Cigarettes and Pipe Tobacco) published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
The current most honest answer is that more research needs to be done. However, our strong opinion is that second-hand vapor is extremely less harmful than second-hand smoke from tobacco cigarettes. Comparing second-hand vapor and second-hand smoke is a lot like comparing apples to oranges.
One one hand, tobacco cigarettes are a combustable product, filled with hundreds of ingredients and chemicals, that when burned create thousands of toxins (smoke from the burning substances). Leaving anyone within that immediate vicinity with essentially toxically polluted air.
On the other hand, vapor products are not a combustable product. They are an enclosed system and nothing is being burned, therefore the local air is not effected for those nearby. However, the vapor produced in the air from exhaling vapor products certainly deserves analysis. According to a study (Secondhand Exposure of Vapors From Electronic Cigarettes) published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, ‘Using an e-cigarette in indoor environments may involuntarily expose nonusers to nicotine but not to toxic tobacco-specific combustion products.’We’re going to take a moral stance on this one. Our answer is no. It’s not safe to vape, smoke or drink during pregnancy. In fact, one could go even further as to say that even sperm can be effected from substance abuse. See this incredibly detailed study (Paternal Nicotine Exposure Alters Hepatic Xenobiotic Metabolism in Offspring) published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, to learn more specifically about nicotine and offspring.
What about second hand vapor and pets?
Much like our answer to ‘Is Second Hand Vapor Safe’, our findings indicate that second-hand vapor, is at the very least, less harmful than tobacco cigarette second-hand smoke.
We don’t want to be inadvertently harming any pets health. For that reason, we’re recommending that vapor users should never exhale directly at or around pets. Civilized rules folks, don’t sneeze or cough in someone’s face and don’t vape or smoke in someone’s face.
More research will certainly be done in this field. Again, to date, research shows that prolonged exposure to vapor products in indoor environments may involuntarily expose non-users to nicotine but not to toxic tobacco specific combustion products.
What are the side-effects to vaping?
Let’s break this down into 2 categories, including the side effects from new users (never smoked, never vaped) and current tobacco cigarette smokers (or habitual smokers).
The most probable side effect of vaping for a user who has never smoked or vaped in the past is potential addiction to nicotine. It’s widely known and well documented that nicotine is a highly addictive substance. We proponents of not being addicted to anything (except possible really good wholesome things – of course). Therefore, we never advocate for the recreational use of vapor products. Non-smokers and non-vapors should stay that way.
In most cases, side effects of vaping for a user who is currently addicted to cigarettes are none. However, if the user quits smoking entirely and switches to vapor, they will in most cases go through a withdrawal period. This withdrawal period (in our estimation and experience) stems mostly from the ending of consuming hundreds of ingredients, toxins and chemicals found in tobacco cigarettes. The body is adapted to routinely consuming these substances, and when that routine is stopped, it sends a shock through the system – often causing intense coughing and hacking as the body immediately begins healing itself. By using vapor nicotine as a bridge, one can lessen the harshness of this withdrawal process and then ween themselves from nicotine all-together. (Learn more about Nicotine Withdrawal and Implications for Nicotine Dependence Treatment.)
The other main side effects from any user who vapes an e liquid (in a large amount and in a short period of time) that contains nicotine are nausea an dizziness.Firstly and most importantly, nicotine is a highly addictive substance. For those who are not currently addicted to nicotine – we encourage you to never get addicted. Not necessarily because it in itself is directly harmful to your health, but because being addicted to anything that isn’t learning or loving is most likely not generally healthy – let alone deadly (like tobacco cigarettes).
What is nicotine?
‘Nicotine is a potent parasympathomimetic stimulant and an alkaloid found in the nightshade family of plants. Nicotine is found in the leaves of Nicotiana rustica, in concentrations of 2–14%; in the tobacco plant, Nicotiana tabacum; in Duboisia hopwoodii; and in Asclepias syriaca.’ -Simplified nicotine definition via Wikipedia.
There have been many claims made about nicotine. As far as we can tell, substantiating all of those claims is a different story. One thing that is irrefutable is that nicotine is a highly addictive stimulant.
With that being said, we certainly want to reiterate our condemnation of using tobacco cigarettes or vapor products or any sort of nicotine while pregnant.
For more information, the Scientific American put out an interesting piece (Is Nicotine All Bad? – Scientists question if a daily dose of the well-known alkaloid is as benign as caffeine) regarding nicotine and potential misconceptions.Firstly, federal regulations concerning vapor products are largely designed to deter the young from addiction. Which is something we certainly stand behind. Especially due to the boom in underage vapor product use.
Additionally, the FDA finalized a rule on August 8th, 2016, which established regulatory authority over vapor products. All vapor products since that time have been under the regulatory control of the FDA (including but no limited to the manufacturing, marketing, sales and consumption of said products).
Who regulates vaping products in America?
July 2017 marked the beginning of increased regulatory actions and what is sure to be years of ongoing vapor related oversight. The U.S Food and Drug Administration is the prime agency involved in regulating tobacco and nicotine products.
The most significant federal rule for individuals/consumers outlined by the FDA thus far, is that purchases of vapor related products require the consumer to be at least 18 years of age or older with state-issued verifiable identification.
Significantly, with a deadline of August 10th, 2018, the FDA demanded that all vapor products include the warning statement, ‘WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.’.
We anticipate additional federal steps to be taken in a compliance role to ensure the safety of commercially sold vaping devices and e liquids by 2020.
Federal policies regarding vapor products will largely be established to regulate the industry as compared to state and local laws aimed at consumer use and or public place initiatives.
This is where it gets complicated, as anything of controversy does between state governments and the federal government.
Essentially every state is different concerning vapor product laws. Some states are directly in-line with federal laws and others take their laws a step further. The main focus of most states concerning how to deal with vaping is whether or not to tie it to their existing state tobacco cigarette laws.
State and Local considerations that you need to be aware of as a vapor user:
- State Wide Prohibitions
- Indoor Vaping Prohibitions (Including but not limited to workplaces, bars and restaurants).
- Public Space Prohibitions
- School Ground Prohibitions (Goes without saying.)
- State Wide Age Requirements (Most states are 18+, however a few states are 19+ and 21+.)
What about airports, airplanes and vaping?
While the best rule of thumb is simply to look for signs, to ask those around you and or ask establishment owners, for those who want to get technical, visit your counties government website for current vaping regulations and laws. Legally, airport vaping (use of vapor products) laws, regulations and or prohibitions would fall into state and local jurisdiction. Therefore, when at an airport, ask local employees for vaping rules for the fastest answer.
As soon as you enter an airplane however, you are subject to strict federal laws in place that now encompass vapor products. (For those of you who vape and don’t fly often, know that the TSA and commercial airlines deal with vapor products on a daily basis and will guide you through, without any problems at all.)
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA):
“These devices are battery powered and have a heating element that vaporizes liquid (that may or may not contain nicotine). These devices are prohibited in checked baggage and may only be carried in the aircraft cabin (in carry-on baggage or on your person). They may not be used or charged on the aircraft. When a carry-on bag is checked at the gate or planeside, all electronic cigarette and vaping devices, along with any spare lithium batteries, must be removed from the bag and kept with the passenger in the aircraft cabin.”
“WARNING: Lithium batteries must be handled with extreme care. Lithium batteries must be compatible with the device. Installed batteries must not be more powerful than what the device is designed for. Homemade “modified” battery packs–whether installed in a device or carried as a spare–are forbidden on aircraft. Spare (uninstalled) lithium batteries must be placed in carry-on baggage. See separate entry in this table for spare lithium batteries.”
U.S Department of Transportation (DOT):
“The Department of Transportation is issuing a final rule to extend the smoking ban in 14 CFR Part 252 to include all charter (i.e., nonscheduled) flights where a flight attendant is a required crewmember. The revised Part 252 would comport with 49 U.S.C. § 41706, which was revised in 2012, to ban smoking on charter flights where a flight attendant is a required crewmember. This final rule also explicitly bans the use of electronic cigarettes (“e-cigarettes”) on all flights where smoking is banned. The Department interprets the existing Part 252 to prohibit e-cigarette use, but is codifying this interpretation.” (Source: Use of Electronic Cigarettes on Aircraft – Final Rule)
Transportation Security Administration (TSA):
“Carry On Bags: Yes. Checked Bags: No. The FAA prohibits these devices in checked bags. Battery-powered E-cigarettes, vaporizers, vape pens, atomizers, and electronic nicotine delivery systems may only be carried in the aircraft cabin (in carry-on baggage or on your person). Check with your airline for additional restrictions. Remove all electronic cigarette and vaping devices from carry-on bags if checked at the gate or planeside.”E liquid vaporizers come in many different types, shapes and sizes. Some, like disposables are incredibly simple devices, others like mods can be more complex.
How do e-cigarettes and vapor devices work?
The basics of any type of e liquid vaporizer however are simple. The most common way is for a cotton substance to be saturated an e liquid (held in a reservoir, or cartridge) and warmed by a heating element (triggered either by inhaling or pressing a button). When that process takes place, the user inhales compounds of the e liquid in a vaporized form. The most important ingredient of this vapor process is polypropylene glycol.
With that being said, there are vaporizers that allow for a tremendous amount of user control. Those settings include but are not limited to temperature, ohm, voltage and wattage to tune the user’s experience and desired vapor output.
What’s the cost of vaping for consumers?
The cost of vaping varies. In general however, the upfront cost will include the price of the device, e liquid and or cartridges (additional components such as coils, wicking material, batteries and accessories are available for certain types of devices).
The upfront cost for vaping devices varies from $5 (disposables) all the way up to $200+ (advanced mod systems). However, there are vaporizer types for every single budget. One can expect to purchase a reliable and high performing vapor device for under $60 on average.
The upfront cost for e liquid varies from roughly $5 per 30 mL all the way up to $30 per 30 mL. There are an insane amount of e liquid brands, flavors, sizes and available discounts. On average, one can expect to spend roughly $20 per 30 mL of e liquid.
The cheapest way to vape by far and away is by utilizing a vaporizer device that utilizes an e liquid tank system (refillable e liquid reservoir). This is of course as opposed to using a vapor device that utilizes cartridges or pods that are not refillable.
Is vaping less economically expensive than tobacco cigarettes?
Vaping is extremely less expensive than smoking. The average cigarette user can expect to only need 30 mL of e liquid per month for example.
Additionally, the cost of quitting smoking is priceless because it could very well save your life.The biggest differences between vaping and smoking are the ingredients, vaporized reaction compared to combustion reaction, related health effects and cost of use.
What are the main differences between vapor products and tobacco cigarettes?
Vapor v. Tobacco Cigarette Ingredients
Vapor ingredients consists of water, flavor additives, polypropylene glycol, vegetable glycerin and optionally, nicotine.
Tobacco cigarettes consist of approximately 600 ingredients and when combusted (burned) they create over 7,000 chemicals. Those ingredients and chemicals are but certainly not limited to tar, ammonia, formaldehyde and arsenic.
Vapor v. Tobacco Cigarette Combustion
Vapor products are an enclosed system that turns e liquid into vapor.
Tobacco cigarettes are combusted (burned), releasing toxic chemicals.
Vapor v. Tobacco Cigarette Health Effects
Vapor products have been proven to be significantly less harmful than tobacco cigarettes.
Tobacco cigarettes are solely responsible for 1,300 deaths every single day.
Vapor v. Tobacco Cigarette Cost
The average monthly cost of using a refillable vapor product is about $40.
The average monthly cost of smoking cigarettes is just over $200.
If you’re a current smoker, vapor can be a phenomenal bridge to help you quit.
What typically happens when you switch from tobacco cigarettes to vapor products?
No matter if you quit smoking cold turkey or utilize vapor products, you’re most likely going to go through a week or so of ‘withdrawal’ and or being ‘sick’. You’ll notice a lot of coughing and hacking. This is your body healing itself from the harmful chemicals and toxins that you’ve been ingesting on a daily basis.This is a question that is attached to a lot of fake news frankly. Misinformation agents/sources are doing their best to tie big tobacco and vapor together as to cast a shadow over the growing market . While it’s true that some of the biggest tobacco companies in the world have vapor products, it’s not true at all to say that those same big tobacco companies are fueling the drive towards vapor. The American people are fueling the drive to vapor on their own. They’re running from the tobacco cigarettes that are literally killing them. Small businesses and online retailers are supplying consumers with vapor products.
What are the best vapor product brands?
The truth is, the biggest actual vapor device companies in the world are mostly Chinese. Companies like SMOK, Kangertech, Innokin, Vaporesso, Aspire, Eleaf and Wismec are leading the vapor device revolution. Brands like Blu and VUSE which stem from the largest tobacco companies in the world are barely testing the vapor waters. In our opinion, Blu and VUSE products to date largely have underperformed and are only in the marketplace because big tobacco knows that cigarettes are on their deathbed.
Lastly, e liquid is largely being manufactured in the U.S by small and growing businesses. Though, it should also be stated that e liquid is imported into the U.S in large numbers as well.