The health risks from tobacco cigarettes are only too obvious for your average smoker, after all they’re gruesomely plastered over packets of fags, shouted at you from posters, and pounded into you every time you go to the GPs. But, to coin a phrase, where there’s smoke there’s fire, and most smokers accept that their drug of choice isn’t too good for their health. Which is why many smokers are looking for alternatives to tobacco cigarettes pleased to become acquainted with – as there is no longer any reason for it to be frowned upon. But e-cigs are definitely bad for the status quo of regulators, tobacco companies, and smoking-cessation selling pharmaceutical companies; and for some within the anti-smoking industry. Maybe smokers won’t need to turn to tobacco based cigarettes anymore; maybe they won’t need to buy aids to quit smoking; maybe they’ll be happy carrying on with a socially and physically more acceptable form of nicotine intake – the electronic cigarette.
That’s in part because there are no laws against the use of electronic cigarettes in public places. The first point to be considered here is that the electronic cigarette is not a combustible product so can’t be classed as smoking, under law. Secondly, the electronic cigarette contains no tobacco, once again, this means they do not fall under anti-smoking laws. So there is no legal basis for worrying about the use of electronic cigarettes in public places.
“Are electronic cigarettes safe?” is a question that is uppermost in the minds of those thinking of taking up e-cigs; after all, old-fashioned tobacco cigarettes have a pretty bad reputation for health; so it would makes sense to check out the latest information on electronic cigarette safety.
The first thing to bear in mind is that the ‘liquid nicotine’, used in the cartridges of electronic cigarettes, is not a pure dose of nicotine. In fact, a pure nicotine dose of that size would be the same as smoking 1000 cigarettes in one go, and would indeed be lethal; in the same way that downing a bottle of absinthe ‘in one’ is pretty likely to cause fatal liver failure. The liquid is, in fact, an inert solvent and the nicotine is dissolved in it at about 0.5% to 1.5% concentration – enough for the equivalent of 5 to 15 cigarettes. That makes electronic cigarettes safe, from a nicotine poisoning perspective.
Given the damage wrought by tobacco smoking, and the fact that smoking is once again on the rise, you would not be alone in wanting to have the choice of such a useful alternative to tobacco.