E-Cigs: It’s Your Choice

I have been using an Electronic Cigarette since March 27th, 2013 in an effort to quit smoking. Not my first effort but certainly my last. The option to get rid of stale tobacco smell from my clothing, car and house was the main reason for this. My health was never a factor in my decision to quit. When the controversies and ‘studies’ into E-Cigs came about, I didn’t concern myself with them. If I cared about my health I would have stopped smoking without an alternative. After about a year of using the E-Cig, I started to read the ‘studies’ into the rapidly growing popular device along with opinions of others. It has not led me to stop using my E-Cig. Ultimately it would be your choice whether to use an E-Cig as an alternative to smoking or not. If you are concerned with the health risks, keep up with the research but never trust just one study. These so-called ‘studies’ are flawed in every way. Here is some reading for you regarding E-Cigs and its ingredients.

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An electronic cigarette is a battery-powered vaporizer which has a similar feel to tobacco smoking. Electronic cigarettes do not contain tobacco, although they do use nicotine from tobacco plants. They do not produce cigarette smoke but rather an aerosol, which is frequently but inaccurately referred to as vapor. In general, they have a heating element that atomizes a liquid solution known as e-liquid. E-liquids are usually a mixture of propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine, and flavorings. Others have similar ingredients but without nicotine.

inside-ecig

Researchers have counted 7,764 varieties of ‘vape.’ That adds up to one of many challenges – from practical constraints to conflicts of interest – in working out how safe e-cigs are, and whether they help smokers quit.

Most scientists agree e-cigs have potential as a stop-smoking aid. They can be used with or without nicotine and are free of the thousands of toxins in conventional cigarettes. But e-cigs also throw up some unusual obstacles.

Drug firms usually test one treatment against another. With e-cigarettes, the huge variety of constantly evolving products means it would be prohibitively expensive to test every flavor and vaporizer.

E-cigarettes can look like ordinary smokes but are metal and plastic battery-powered gadgets that heat flavored liquids into a cloud which users suck in, then exhale as dense white plumes. Invented in their present form in China about a decade ago, e-cigarettes generated $4 billion to $5 billion in sales in 2014, according to Euromonitor, a market research firm.

The gadgets themselves come in hundreds of brands and are constantly morphing, at the hands of both users and the small-scale distributors who sell them online.

Because they are a strange hybrid between smoking – which kills nearly 6 million people a year – and stop-smoking medications, e-cigs rival both tobacco and pharma. Tobacco companies have responded to that threat by buying up e-cig businesses, and are now funding research. Pharma firms have kept their distance.

The products have also opened a rift between researchers who see their goal as eliminating nicotine in all its forms, and others who believe it makes more sense to reduce the harm of smoking.

“You’ve got people who’ve taken a position and they’re looking at the evidence only in relation to the position they’ve got,” David Sweanor, an e-cig enthusiast and law professor at the University of Ottawa, told an e-cigarette symposium in London in November 2014.

There are more than 2,000 papers on e-cigarettes in the scholarly journals covered by the Web of Science, a database. Of those in the highest impact journals, most have been funded by public bodies. Only a few contain original research; methodological problems or potential bias are common, scientists have found.

Last month, in an attempt to clear matters up, Bullen and other scientists in Britain and New Zealand published their assessment of the most impartial studies. Known as a Cochrane Review – a study of the best science on a subject – it aimed to see if e-cigs can help people stop smoking.

The review concluded that e-cigs may help smokers quit, and that there is little sign that they hurt users.

The pharmaceutical industry has backed efforts to restrict e-cigarettes and is not sponsoring a single current e-cigarette trial in the U.S. National Institutes of Health database.

For drugs firms, smoking cessation is a small business, generating $2.4 billion in sales in 2013, according to Euromonitor. That’s just a fraction of the $206 billion the industry generated in global consumer health products.

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E-liquid

E-liquid, e-juice or simply “juice”, refers to a liquid solution that when heated by an atomizer produces vapor. The main ingredients of e-liquids are usually a mix of propylene glycol (PG), glycerin (G), and/or polyethylene glycol 400 (PEG400), sometimes with differing levels of alcohol mixed with concentrated or extracted flavourings; and optionally, a variable concentration of tobacco-derived nicotine. The nicotine may be obtained from tobacco plants or tobacco dust. Most e-cigarette liquids contain nicotine, but the level of nicotine is chosen by the consumer. E-liquid that does not contain nicotine is also available.

The solution is often sold in bottles or pre-filled disposable cartridges, or as a kit for consumers to make their own eJuices. Components are also available to modify or boost their flavour, nicotine strength, or concentration of e-liquid. Pre-made e-liquids are manufactured with various tobacco, fruit, and other flavors, as well as variable nicotine concentrations (including nicotine-free versions). The standard notation “mg/ml” is often used in labelling for denoting nicotine concentration, and is sometimes shortened to a simple “mg”. In surveys of regular e-cigarette users the most liked e-liquids had a nicotine content of 18 mg/ml, and largely the favorite flavors were tobacco, mint and fruit. A cartridge may contain 0 to 20 mg of nicotine. A refill bottle can contain up to 1 g of nicotine. The flavorings may be natural or artificial.

 Facts On The Most Common Ingredients In E-Liquid

Water

You think you know what water is?

Water is a transparent fluid which forms the world’s streams, lakes, oceans and rain, and is the major constituent of the fluids of living things. As a chemical compound, a water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms that are connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at standard ambient temperature and pressure, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice; and gaseous state, steam (water vapor). It also exists as snow, fog, dew and cloud.

Water is the chemical substance with chemical formula H2O: one molecule of water has two hydrogen atoms covalently bonded to a single oxygen atom.

 Water appears in nature in all three common states of matter (solid, liquid, and gas) and may take many different forms on Earth: water vapor and clouds in the sky, seawater in the oceans, icebergs in the polar oceans, glaciers in the mountains, fresh and salt water lakes, rivers, and aquifers in the ground.

Water is a liquid at standard temperature and pressure. It is tasteless and odorless. The intrinsic colour of water and ice is a very slight blue hue, although both appear colorless in small quantities. Water vapour is essentially invisible as a gas.

Water is transparent in the visible electromagnetic spectrum. Thus aquatic plants can live in water because sunlight can reach them. Infrared light is strongly absorbed by the hydrogen-oxygen or OH bonds.

The freezing point of water is the temperature at which water changes phase from a liquid to a solid or vice versa. The freezing point describes the liquid to solid transition while the melting point is the temperature at which water goes from a solid (ice) to liquid water. In theory, the two temperatures would be the same, but liquids can be supercooled beyond their freezing points so that they don’t solidify until well below freezing point. Ordinarily the freezing point of water is 0° C or 32° F. The temperature may be lower if supercooling occurs or if there are impurities present in the water which could cause freezing point depression to occur.

The boiling point of water depends on the atmospheric pressure, which changes according to elevation. The boiling point of water is 100°C or 212° F at 1 atmosphere of pressure (sea level), but water boils at a lower temperature as you gain altitude (e.g., on a mountain) and boils at a higher temperature if you increase atmospheric pressure.

The boiling point of water also depends on the purity of the water. Water which contains impurities (such as salted water) boils at a higher temperature than pure water. This phenomenon is called boiling point elevation, which is one of the colligative properties of matter.

Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is a clear, colorless and hygroscopic synthetic liquid substance that absorbs water. Propylene glycol contains an asymmetrical carbon atom, so it exists in two enantiomers. The commercial product is a racemic mixture. Pure optical isomers can be obtained by hydration of optically pure propylene oxide.

The freezing point of water is depressed when mixed with propylene glycol owing to the effects of dissolution of a solute in a solvent (freezing-point depression); in general, glycols are non-corrosive, have very low volatility and very low toxicity (however, the closely related ethylene glycol is moderately toxic to humans and many animals).

Propylene glycol is also used to make polyester compounds, and as a base for deicing solutions. Propylene glycol is used by the chemical, food, and pharmaceutical industries as an antifreeze when leakage might lead to contact with food. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified propylene glycol as an additive that is “generally recognized as safe” for use in food. It is used to absorb extra water and maintain moisture in certain medicines, cosmetics, or food products. It is a solvent for food colors and flavors, and in the paint and plastics industries. Propylene glycol is also used to create artificial smoke or fog used in fire-fighting training and in theatrical productions. Other names for propylene glycol are 1,2-dihydroxypropane, 1,2-propanediol, methyl glycol, and trimethyl glycol.

Safety In Humans

The acute oral toxicity of propylene glycol is very low, and large quantities are required to cause perceptible health damage in humans; propylene glycol is metabolized in the human body into pyruvic acid (a normal part of the glucose-metabolism process, readily converted to energy), acetic acid (handled by ethanol-metabolism), lactic acid (a normal acid generally abundant during digestion), and propionaldehyde (a potentially hazardous substance).

Serious toxicity generally occurs at plasma concentrations over 4 g/L in, which requires extremely high intake over a relatively short period of time, or when used as a vehicle for drugs or vitamins given intravenously or orally. It would be nearly impossible to reach toxic levels by consuming foods or supplements, which contain at most 1 g/kg of PG, except for alcoholic beverages which are allowed 5 percent = 50g/kg. Cases of propylene glycol poisoning are usually related to either inappropriate intravenous administration or accidental ingestion of large quantities by children. The potential for long-term oral toxicity is also low. In one study, in 1972, 12 rats were provided with feed containing as much as 5% PG over a period of 104 weeks and they showed no apparent ill effects; no data on offspring was offered. Because of its low chronic oral toxicity, propylene glycol was classified by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) for use as a direct food additive, including frozen foods such as ice cream and frozen desserts. The GRAS designation is specific to its use in food, and does not apply to other uses.

Research has suggested that individuals who cannot tolerate propylene glycol probably experience a special form of irritation, but that they only rarely develop allergic contact dermatitis. Other investigators believe that the incidence of allergic contact dermatitis to propylene glycol may be greater than 2% in patients with eczema.

Patients with vulvodynia and interstitial cystitis may be especially sensitive to propylene glycol. Women suffering with yeast infections may also notice that some OTC creams can cause intense burning. Post menopausal women who require the use of an estrogen cream may notice that brand name creams made with propylene glycol often create extreme, uncomfortable burning along the vulva and perianal area. Additionally, some electronic cigarette users who inhale propylene glycol vapor may experience dryness of the throat or shortness of breath . As an alternative, some suppliers will offer reduced amounts of propylene glycol and higher percentages of vegetable glycerin in the “e-liquid” for those who are allergic (or have bad reactions) to propylene glycol.

Vegetable Glycerin

Glycerol (also called glycerine or glycerin) is a simple polyol (sugar alcohol) compound. It is a colorless, odorless, viscous liquid that is widely used in pharmaceutical formulations. Glycerol has three hydroxyl groups that are responsible for its solubility in water and its hygroscopic nature. The glycerol backbone is central to all lipids known as triglycerides. Glycerol is sweet-tasting and generally considered non-toxic.

Triglycerides found in fats and oils are by definition esters of glycerol with long-chain carboxylic acids; the hydrolysis (saponification) or transesterification of these triglycerides produces stoichiometric quantities of glycerol. In this scheme, glycerol is produced as a co-product in the production of long-chain carboxylate salts used as soaps.

Food industry

In food and beverages, glycerol serves as a humectant, solvent, and sweetener, and may help preserve foods. It is also used as filler in commercially prepared low-fat foods (e.g., cookies), and as a thickening agent in liqueurs. Glycerol and water are used to preserve certain types of plant leaves. As a sugar substitute, it has approximately 27 kilocalories per teaspoon (sugar has 20) and is 60% as sweet as sucrose. It does not feed the bacteria that form plaques and cause dental cavities. As a food additive, glycerol is labeled as E number E422. It is added to icing (frosting) to prevent it from setting too hard.

As used in foods, glycerol is categorized by the American Dietetic Association as a carbohydrate. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carbohydrate designation includes all caloric macronutrients excluding protein and fat. Glycerol has a caloric density similar to table sugar, but a lower glycemic index and different metabolic pathway within the body, so some dietary advocates accept glycerol as a sweetener compatible with low carbohydrate diets.

It is also recommended as an additive when using polyol sweeteners such as erythritol and xylitol which have a cooling effect, due to its heating effect in the mouth, if the cooling effect is not wanted.

Pharmaceutical and personal care applications

 Glycerol is used in medical and pharmaceutical and personal care preparations, mainly as a means of improving smoothness, providing lubrication and as a humectant. It is found in allergen immunotherapies, cough syrups, elixirs and expectorants, toothpaste, mouthwashes, skin care products, shaving cream, hair care products, soaps and water-based personal lubricants and laxatives. In solid dosage forms like tablets, glycerol is used as a tablet holding agent. For human consumption, glycerol is classified by the U.S. FDA among the sugar alcohols as a caloric macronutrient.

Glycerol is a component of glycerin soap. Essential oils are added for fragrance. This kind of soap is used by people with sensitive, easily irritated skin because it prevents skin dryness with its moisturizing properties. It draws moisture up through skin layers and slows or prevents excessive drying and evaporation.[citation needed]

Glycerol can be used as a laxative when introduced into the rectum in suppository or small-volume (2–10 ml) (enema) form; it irritates the anal mucosa and induces a hyperosmotic effect.

Taken orally (often mixed with fruit juice to reduce its sweet taste), glycerol can cause a rapid, temporary decrease in the internal pressure of the eye. This can be useful for the initial emergency treatment of severely elevated eye pressure.

Flavorant

The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations describes a “natural flavorant” as:

the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or any other edible portions of a plant, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose primary function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.

Extraction techniques

The majority of natural essences are obtained by extracting the essential oil from the blossoms, fruit, roots, etc., or the whole plants, through four techniques:

  • Expression when the oil is very plentiful and easily obtained, as in lemon peel.
  • Absorption is generally accomplished by steeping in alcohol, as vanilla beans.
  • Maceration is used to create smaller bits of the whole, as in making peppermint extract, etc.
  • Distillation is used with maceration, but in many cases, it requires expert chemical knowledge and the erection of costly stills.

The distinctive flavors of nearly all fruits, in the popular acceptance of the word, are desirable adjuncts to many food preparations, but only a few are practical sources of sufficiently concentrated flavor extract. The most important among those that lend themselves to “pure” extract manufacture include lemons, oranges, and vanilla beans.

Chemical-created essence

The majority of concentrated fruit flavors such as banana, cherry, peach, pineapple, raspberry and strawberry, are produced by combining a variety of esters with special oils. The desired colors are generally obtained by the use of dyes. Among the esters most generally employed are ethyl acetate and ethyl butyrate. The chief factors in the production of artificial banana, pineapple, and strawberry extract are amyl acetate and amyl butyrate.

Artificial extracts generally do not possess the delicacy of natural fruit flavor, but usually get close enough to provide real service and convenience when true essences are unobtainable or too expensive.

One popular flavor extract used in e-cig flavoring is LorAnn. LorAnn sells flavorings in a variety of concentrations, formulations and sizes.  Their  flavors are used by professional candy makers, bakeries, pastry chefs, popcorn shops, ice cream & yogurt shops, specialty manufacturers and the home consumer. All flavors are gluten-free, contain no diacetyl, and most are Kosher certified.

Nicotine

Nicotine is a potent parasympathomimetic alkaloid found in the nightshade family of plants (Solanaceae) and a stimulant drug. It is a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) agonist, except at nAChRα9 and nAChRα10 where it acts as an antagonist. It is made in the roots of and accumulates in the leaves of the nightshade family of plants. It constitutes approximately 0.6–3.0% of the dry weight of tobacco and is present in the range of 2–7 µg/kg of various edible plants. It functions as an antiherbivore chemical; consequently, nicotine was widely used as an insecticide in the past and nicotine analogs such as imidacloprid are currently widely used.

In lesser doses (an average cigarette yields about 2 mg of absorbed nicotine), the substance acts as a stimulant in mammals, while high amounts (50–100 mg) can be harmful. This stimulant effect is likely to be a major contributing factor to the dependence-forming properties of tobacco smoking. The nicotine content of popular American-brand cigarettes has slowly increased over the years, and one study found that there was an average increase of 1.78% per year between the years of 1998 and 2005. Nicotine liquid can be used in vaporizers or electronic cigarettes along with a wide variety of different flavors.

Nicotine stimulates angiogenesis and promotes tumor growth and atherosclerosis.

Difficulty concentrating and deficits in task performance are symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. These symptoms begin as soon as 30 minutes after tobacco cessation begins, and can last for several weeks.

Nicotine appears to have significant performance enhancing effects, particularly in fine motor skills, attention, and memory. These beneficial cognitive effects may play a role in the initiation and maintenance of tobacco dependence.

Risk of ulcerative colitis has been frequently shown to be reduced in smokers on a dose-dependent basis; the effect is eliminated if the individual stops smoking. Smoking also appears to interfere with development of Kaposi’s sarcoma in patients with HIV.

While tobacco smoking is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, there is evidence that nicotine itself has the potential to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease.

Studies suggest a correlation between smoking and schizophrenia, with estimates near 75% for the proportion of schizophrenic patients who smoke. Although the nature of this association remains unclear, it has been argued that the increased level of smoking in schizophrenia may be due to a desire to self-medicate with nicotine. Other research found that mildly dependent users got some benefit from nicotine, but not those who were highly dependent.

While acute/initial nicotine intake causes activation of nicotine receptors, chronic low doses of nicotine use leads to desensitisation of nicotine receptors (due to the development of tolerance) and results in an antidepressant effect, with research showing low dose nicotine patches being an effective treatment of major depressive disorder in non-smokers.

The relationship between smoking and inflammatory bowel disease has been firmly established, but remains a source of confusion among both patients and doctors. It is negatively associated with ulcerative colitis but positively associated with Crohn’s disease. In addition, it has opposite influences on the clinical course of the two conditions with benefit in ulcerative colitis but a detrimental effect in Crohn’s disease.

List of Studies into E-Cigs
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