E-cigarettes and “vaping” are popular, with the market for e-juice, e-cigarettes, and vaping supplies growing rapidly. But with increased use, we have reports of danger associated with liquid tobacco and nicotine. Is vaping addictive?
Liquid tobacco, the juice used in e-cigarettes, is highly-concentrated when compared to the nicotine in regular cigarettes. It can be dangerous if handled improperly. According to various discussions in the press and on the Internet, one bottle of e-juice containing nicotine, if ingested or exposed to skin, might contain enough toxins to cause seizures, vomiting or even kill.
But as some vaping advocates point out, most e-juice is not “liquid tobacco” or “liquid nicotine”. The liquid purchased for vaping via e-cigarettes may not contain any tobacco at all, or only tobacco for flavoring. The inclusion of nicotine is entirely optional. Many people report switching from cigarettes to e-juice intentionally as a way to ween themselves off of a smoking addiction, reducing the nicotine levels voluntarily until they are enjoying zero nicotine e-juice liquids.
With increased popularity of vaping, we should expect more and more people placing these vials of e-juice on their coffee tables and countertops, perhaps within reach of infants and small children. That means more exposure, and a need for more awareness of just what is in the liquid in the vial.
The New York Times reported last week that the number of nicotine-related calls to poison control centers increased 300 percent between 2012 and 2013, especially among children. That’s pretty sensational and scary, especially for something considered a “novelty” just a few short years ago.
But are these concerns just sensational reporting? Is it possible that the increase in nicotine poisoning cases is simply because more people are using e-cigarettes? We see large, scary phrases like a “300 percent increase” in the media, but the actual number behind that increase was only 1,351 nicotine posing cases nationwide. In a country of 314 million people, that doesn’t seem like all that much. With a rapidly growing adoption of e-cigarettes, is this number reflective of true danger, or perhaps just scary for the tobacco industry which is losing sales to e-cigarettes?
According to a report by the Current-Argus, e-cigarettes are growing in popularity so fast they may start outselling regular cigarettes within just 10 years. Some commenters are suggesting that these “liquid tobacco” danger reports are propaganda promoted and encouraged by the tobacco lobby, which sees e-cigarettes as a threat exactly because they do not include much tobacco, or nicotine, and because they are helping people quit cigarette smoking.
Updated:After some online discussions, we decided to update the post to be more explicit about the hint of potential propaganda by Big Tobacco, and to further highlight the fact that a good deal of the e-juice consumed is not “liquid tobacco” and may be very low nicotine.