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STEM Tuesday: e-cig anyone?

Sure, an e-cigarette can spare you the tar deposits in your lungs.  But exactly what are you putting in your body besides secret ingredients like Unicorn Milk?

E-cigs don’t come under a food or a drug, although FDA is trying to get jurisdiction over them.  That means pretty much anything goes. Lots of people think it’s no worse than breathing deeply over a boiling water with a little fruit flavored Vicks Vapor Rub added.  It is called vaping after all.

Here’s a list of common ingredients.  You be the judge.

Water is a key ingredient in the “vape juices.” The flavoring is the secret ingredient, mostly food grade concoctions. Some of these have interesting names like Unicorn Mil, Krispy Krack Doughnut, Pony on Acid. These are considered safe when eaten, but no one really knows what effect they have when inhaled.  Most people don’t inhale food on purpose.

Vegetable glycerine acts as a preservative or texture enhancer.  This is also a common ingredient in skin lotions. Some people think it’s what gives a pea-soup “smoke” upon exhalation. A smoker friend of mine told me he thought that curl of smoke wafting toward the sky was the most difficult thing to give up when he quit.

Propylene Glycol. Yup, antifreeze.  Not the deadly stuff, this is the food-safe kind.  In small doses, it’s safe for consumption.  However it can cause allergies to act up, and can cause eye and airway irritation.

Nicotine. This is the part that’s addictive, and why smokers are switching to e-cigs. The tiny particulates inhaled are pretty safe except for kids and babies. In liquid form, even a tiny amount either eaten or on the skin can cause vomiting, seizures, and even death.

Formaldehyde. It’s a byproduct of the heated propylene glycol.  It’s a carcinogen, and it can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat.

The CDC suggests limiting the sales and marketing.  FDA wants to regulate them as a drug delivery device.

Are you a Vaper?  What do you think of e-cigs?


English: Electronic Cigarette C, D, E-Class.
English: Electronic Cigarette C, D, E-Class. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



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  1. It would be interesting to see what the long-term health studies show, although it’s going to be quite a few years before we have any of those. The part that concerns me is the nicotine – that is nasty, nasty stuff and who’s to say it doesn’t play some part in lung cancer. Why is it included in e-cigs? It would seem to me to be needless. Vegetable glycerine is basically soap, mostly harmless, but does it need to be in our lungs?
    I don’t want to overreact to the whole e-cig thing – maybe it is just harmless vapor. But if that’s the case, why keep the nicotine? That doesn’t make sense to me.

    • Adela Adela

      Anne, my guess is that the nicotine is the whole point of vaping. I’ve never been a smoker, but I hear that nicotine feels good. I agree with you about putting things into my lungs. Air please. Preferably fresh.

  2. Some of my friends use this.

    • Adela Adela

      I think most people who vape like the nicotine, the flavor, and also like to avoid the tar associated with tobacco. Perhaps it is safer than tobacco. Perhaps not.

  3. Awesome post!

    Been vaping for about 4 years now and it has made such a huge difference. Not so much trouble breathing and easier on the wallet if I can help myself from buying new things.

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