Vapes and E-Cigarettes
What are e-cigarettes and how do they work?
An e-cigarette is a device that allows you to inhale nicotine in a vapour rather than smoke. E-cigarettes don't contain tobacco and don't produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most damaging constituents in cigarette smoke. E-cigarettes work by heating a solution (e-liquid) that typically contains nicotine, propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerine, and flavourings. Using an e-cigarette is known as vaping.
What types of e-cigarette are there?
There are a variety of models available:
How do I choose the right e-cigarette for me?
For many people, the choice between a cigalike, vape pen, pod system or mod will be based on personal preference. Some types of device deliver nicotine more effectively and quickly than others and are likely to give you a better chance of quitting smoking.
It’s also important to choose the right strength of nicotine e-liquid to satisfy your needs. A specialist vape shop can help you find the right device and liquid for you, or you can get advice from us!
Will an e-cigarette help me stop smoking?
Many thousands of people in the UK have already stopped smoking with the help of an e-cigarette, and there is growing evidence that they can be effective. A major UK clinical trial found that, when combined with expert face-to-face support, people who used e-cigarettes to quit smoking were twice as likely to succeed as people who used other nicotine replacement products such as patches or gum.
Using an e-cigarette can help you manage your nicotine cravings. To get the best out of it, make sure you're using it as much as you need to and with the right strength of nicotine in your e-liquid. You won't get the full benefit from vaping unless you stop smoking cigarettes completely. You can get advice from a specialist vape shop or your local stop smoking service.
Getting expert help from your local stop smoking service gives you the best chance of quitting for good.
How safe are e-cigarettes?
In the UK e-cigarettes are tightly regulated for safety and quality. They aren't completely risk-free, but they carry a small fraction of the risk of cigarettes. E-cigarettes don't contain tobacco and don't produce carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful constituents in cigarette smoke. The liquid and vapour contain some potentially harmful chemicals also found in cigarette smoke but at much lower levels.
Leading health organisations including the Royal College of General Practitioners, British Medical Association and Cancer Research UK agree that e-cigarettes are far less harmful than smoking. Based on the currently available evidence, Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians estimate they are at least 95% less harmful.
In this short video experts explain the key facts on e-cigarette safety. There is also an extended version of the video covering wider safety aspects.
While nicotine is the addictive substance in cigarettes, it is relatively harmless. Almost all of the harm from smoking comes from the thousands of other chemicals contained in tobacco smoke, many of which are toxic. Nicotine replacement therapy has been widely used for many years to help people to stop smoking and is a safe form of treatment.
Little research has been conducted into the safety of e-cigarettes in pregnancy, however, they are likely to be significantly less harmful to a pregnant woman and her baby than cigarettes. The Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group, which includes the Royal College of Midwives and leading UK baby charities, provides the following advice:
Find answers to common questions about e-cigarettes in pregnancy.
There have been instances of e-cigarettes exploding or catching fire. To manage fire risk:
RoSPA and the Chief Fire Officers Association have produced safety advice for parents on vaping in the home.
This short video gives top tips for safer vaping.
If you suspect you have experienced a side effect to your health from using your e-cigarette, or would like to report a product defect, please report these via the Yellow Card Scheme.
Is e-cigarette vapour harmful to others?
There is no evidence so far that vaping causes harm to other people around you. This is in contrast to smoking, where exposure to secondhand smoke is known to be very harmful to health.
Unlike cigarettes, there is no side-stream vapour released by an e-cigarette into the atmosphere, just the exhaled aerosol. Unlike tobacco smoke, e-cigarette vapour dissipates quickly in the atmosphere.
Public Health England’s 2018 independent evidence review found that to date, there have been no identified health risks of passive vaping to bystanders.
How are e-cigarettes regulated in the UK?
The UK has one of the most comprehensive systems of regulation for e-cigarette products in the world. This includes: