Electronic cigarettes and the alarming headlines

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The electronic cigarette business is growing exponentially fast and without clear governmental regulations some opponents of these devices might exploit some simple facts and create alarming news stories intended to frighten people and keep them away from a potentially healthier alternative to smoking. Such was the case of a very mediatized article in the New York Times, that claimed e-liquids are ‘powerful neurotoxins’ and that a ‘teaspoon of even highly diluted e-liquid can kill a small child’.

Danger PoisonBut like in the case of the pet dog that lost its life in the United Kingdom after swallowing e-liquid, the problem is – just like in the case of many avoidable accidents – ignorant, irresponsible people. First of all, let’s get our facts straight. Most e-liquids on the market are made from four elements: Propylene Glycol, Vegetable Glycerin, Liquid Nicotine and Flavorings. PG, VG and Flavorings are also used in a wide variety of cosmetics, pharmaceutical products and foods and are non-toxic. The only potentially dangerous substance in any e-liquid is therefore the nicotine.

It is the liquid nicotine that led to more than 1,300 calls to poison control centers in 2013 with the number expecting to double by the end of 2014 according to the National Poison Data System (NPDS). Don’t get us wrong, this is a bad thing but as more and more people are embracing e-cigarettes, it’s impossible not to have these types of incidents. Like in the case of people falling asleep with a cigarette in their hand and setting the whole house on fire, ignorance and careless behavior are the culprits behind these poisonings.

Nowadays, most brands that sell e-liquids pack their products in child safe recipients that are impossible to open by infants but that doesn’t mean you have to leave them at their reach. Any responsible vaper knows to keep its supplies safe from the curiosity of children and pets and never to leave their vaping gear unsupervised.

The growing number of e-liquid poisonings doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to start demonizing these products. The fact of the matter is that eliquid makes up only a small percentage of the substances that poison people each year. According to a 2012 report of the National Poison Data System, 193,443 poisoning cases involved regular household cleaning agents, 54,445 involved alcoholic drinks, 11,848 were caused by pens or other types of ink, and 20,306 were caused by toothpaste. Yes, 15 times more people got poisoned from using toothpaste than from using e-liquid. And despite the toxicity of nicotine, not a single person has dies from ingesting e-cigarette juice. That’s mostly due to the fact that the stuff you buy to refill your personal vaporizer with does not contain enough nicotine to cause human fatality and nobody but manufacturers are buying the deadly stuff (pure nicotine) by the barrel.

You will also be amazed to know that 50 times more people were poisoned by vitamins than from e-liquid, not to mention the 81 time more in the case of foreign bodies/toys.

So, before getting scared while reading an electronic cigarette alarming headline, be sure to analyze the facts and come to your own objective conclusion.

Posted by Dave Allan

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Former pack-a-day smoker, I discovered electronic cigarettes back in 2011. Since then vaping has slowly turned into my hobby and my full time job. I’ve tested hundreds of e-cigarettes and mods across the years and constantly used my knowledge and experience to help others make the switch. I’m passionate about technology, I enjoy reading and I love big flavorful clouds.


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