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E-cigarettes have constantly been in the news in recent weeks and months. With reports of illnesses and even deaths among
e-cigarette users, based on news and information in the United States, it has sparked a massive debate about how safe the devices actually are. 

So what are public health officials saying about e-cigarettes in general? Is it safe to continue vaping? Here we take a look at what’s happening in the US and based on those trends, the latest guidance for UK e-cig users.

Vvapour ecig news
Vvapour ecig news

What’s happening in the US?

According to recent reports, since spring 2019 at least 68 deaths in the US have been linked to the use of e-cigarettes, and at least 2,739 people have developed serious respiratory illnesses.

Those affected have reported symptoms such as a cough, shortness of breath, fatigue and in some cases vomiting and diarrhoea. 

In some people, the condition has caused severe lung damage which has developed to become life-threatening. 

Public health officials in the US are investigating these illnesses and think they are related to different substances found in the e-liquids that were used in these cases.

What’s in an e-cigarette?

To understand the issue, let’s take a look at e-cigarettes and how they work.

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices. They work by heating a solution called an e-liquid, causing it to vaporise. This vapour is then breathed in by the user.

E-liquids sold legally in the UK contain nicotine, a chemical which is highly addictive but does not cause cancer

E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, which creates harmful chemicals when burned such as tar, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, lead and arsenic 2.

In order to create an e-liquid, nicotine is usually mixed with water and a base chemical such as propylene glycol, an ingredient that’s widely used across the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. Flavours are also usually added 2

In the UK, e-cigarette products are tightly regulated for quality and safety. The regulations restrict the amount of e-liquid each e-cigarette can hold and the strength of the nicotine. Certain ingredients, including colourings, caffeine and taurine, are also banned.

In the UK, all e-cigarettes and e-liquids must be notified to the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) before they can be sold.

Reducing harm

The UK has adopted a harm reduction approach when it comes to e-cigarettes. 

While recognising that quitting smoking is always the best option for smokers, guidance published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) supports the use of e-cigarettes to help smokers who are struggling to stop.

This is backed by an evidence review carried out by Public Health England (PHE), which found that although not completely risk-free, e-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than smoking.

Yorkshire Cancer Research supports this evidence based position, and encourages the use of e-cigarettes as a tool to quit smoking

Vvapour Vape News
Vvapour Vape News

To put the issue into context, in the US cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths a year – that’s around 1,300 every day.

Public Health England has reassured people in the UK that using e-cigarettes is still much safer than smoking tobacco and people shouldn’t switch back to smoking.

They say that vaping carries a “fraction of the risk of smoking”, but recommend that people use UK-regulated e-liquids and don’t risk vaping homemade or products sold online or on the black market. 

In its latest statement, Public Health England warns: The illicit drugs market is global and it is possible that similar products to those in the US are available in the UK, which is why we are warning of this new and serious threat and continue to monitor carefully the situation in the UK.

PHE has also issued advice for people who vape THC, saying: If you are vaping THC (or an unknown liquid which could contain THC) it can be hazardous. These are the products most implicated in the US outbreak. If you feel unwell or have any difficulty breathing after vaping THC, go to A&E and tell them precisely what the product was you were using.

In the UK you can check on the MHRA website whether the product you’re using can be legally sold. You can also report a side effect or safety concern for e-cigarettes through the Yellow Card Scheme.

All official bodies are advising that it is always preferable to vape than smoke, and this has not changed.

Public Health England says:  If you’re not a smoker, don’t start and don’t vape. If you’re a smoker, quit now and consider using an e-cigarette to help you. Remember that using a quit aid along with support from your local stop smoking service gives you the best chance of quitting successfully.

Vvapour Ecigarette News
Vvapour Ecigarette News

Vvapour have been established as one of the vape industries longest running providers of quality eliqiuds, merchandise and information since 2011, and trading since 2012. We can help anyone from seasoned vapers, to those starting out and wanting to kick the habit of traditional smoking. The company CEO created Vvapour primarily to help people stop smoking following the death of a close, rather than as a profit building business. Get in touch for any information and advice o anything vape related. Either email us on:

or call us on:

0121 272 7132

or you can also live chat us on the website (lower left chat box icon) between 9am and 5pm.

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