An e-cigarette is a plastic electric cigarette with a heating element. It holds a nicotine cartridge containing liquid nicotine which, when heated, changes the nicotine into a vapour. The nicotine and other ingredients are inhaled into the body.
Many people are using e-cigarettes (also known as vaping) as an alternative to smoking tobacco. E-cigarettes were designed as a way of helping people quit smoking, and not as something people should start using for fun. Research into the safety and effectiveness of e-cigarettes is still quite new, but a recent investigation by the BBC found that Vapes confiscated from school pupils contained high levels of dangerous substances such as lead, nickel and chromium. The use of vapes by young people is a major concern and NHS data from September 2022 shows that vape usage among 15-year-olds has risen to 18%.
Many e-cigarettes are bright and colourful and there are thousands of e-liquid flavours available, this increases their attractiveness to children and young people. Testing has found that some e-liquids that are marked as nicotine-free, do contain nicotine.
Although e-cigarettes/vapes are less harmful than smoking tobacco, they aren’t risk freeIt will be some time until studies will show the long-term impact and any unforeseen risks of using e-cigarettes. More is known about the safety and effectiveness of other stop smoking medications such as nicotine gum and patches.
E-cigarettes are an electronic device, so they can be dangerous. There have been a number of instances of fires breaking out due to people not charging them correctly.
Nicotine in vapes is an addictive substance, and people can become addicted to vapes, especially if they vape regularly.
Research from the World Health Organisation suggests that children and adolescents who use e-cigarettes are up to three times at greater risk of taking up smoking.
Most e-cigarettes/vapes contain nicotine, young people’s brains are still developing and they can quickly become addicted to nicotine. Research suggests that nicotine can have a negative impact on brain development in young people.
Giving up nicotine can be difficult because the body must get used to functioning without it. Withdrawal symptoms can include cravings, irritability, anxiety, trouble concentrating, headaches.
In the UK it is illegal to sell nicotine vaping products to someone under the age of 18, or for adults to buy these products for them.
How it makes people feel
When people vape, the nicotine in the vape releases adrenaline which stimulates the body and causes blood pressure and heart rate to increase, making breathing faster. Nicotine also activates areas of the brain that are involved in producing feelings of pleasure and reward. If someone hasn’t vaped nicotine before, they might feel one or more of the following effects:
- racing heart
- nausea/possible vomiting
- stomach cramps
People who use nicotine regularly build up a tolerance to the immediate short-term effects so after a while they might feel:
- mild stimulation
- increased ability to concentrate
- temporary reduction in the urge to vape
Some of the side effects to vaping are:
- dry mouth and throat
- shortness of breath
- mouth and throat irritation
If you would like help to stop using Vapes then you can contact Quit Your Way Scotland, it is an advice and support service for anyone trying to stop smoking in Scotland. You can call Quit Your Way Scotland on 0800 84 84 84 or click the link below to go to their website.
Disposable vaping and its effects on the environment
Weekly within the UK, 1.3 million single use vapes are thrown away, and they are being disposed to landfills in extremely high volumes. These products contain 3 forms of waste in one product, electronic waste, plastic waste, and hazardous waste. They can cause the leakage of toxic chemicals, battery acid and nicotine, into water supplies and wildlife habitats, and throughout the landfill, causing fires.