What is vaping?
Vaping is a term used to describe the process of inhaling on an electronic cigarette.
What is an electronic cigarette?
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, are innovative technologies that offer the ability to simulate smoking-like sensations and rituals (i.e., hand to mouth movements) by vaporizing a liquid that either contains nicotine, or a no nicotine liquid with flavorings without burning tobacco. Importantly, e-cigs eliminate exposure to smoke and tar – agents that are known to cause harm to smokers and others.
Electronic cigarettes are also called personalized vaporizers (PV). They consist of a lithium-ion rechargeable battery to power the unit; a cartridge or tank to carry a flavored liquid that known as smoke juice; a connected mouthpiece, and an atomizer, which is the heating element that vaporizes the liquid to generate a puff of mist, which resembles the appearance of smoke. However, there is no smoke when using an electronic cigarette, only vapor.
The device can be activated by the user via the process of inhalation, or by pressing a manual powered button on the battery. Electronic cigarettes are designed to emulate smoking sensations by aerosolizing either non-nicotine, or nicotine liquids, and flavorings that are suspended in propylene glycol (PG), or vegetable glycerin (VG) bases. Flavorings can resemble an actual cigarette taste, or wide varieties of other enjoyable food or beverage tastes. Importantly, the rituals of smoking (i.e., hand to mouth movements and oral fixations) are not lost in substituting traditional cigarettes for electronic cigarettes.
Are electronic cigarettes considered a lower risks alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes?
Electronic cigarettes are helping thousands of people around the world minimize, reduce and even eliminate the amount of cigarettes smoked. Some evidence indicates that electronic cigarettes are “100 to 1000 times safer than tobacco cigarettes” (Laugesen, 2009). Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) researchers and other advocacy groups (American Association of Public Health Physicians, Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives casaa.org) suggest that e-cigs offer one of the greatest opportunities to champion public health causes to help people stop, or minimize smoking habits. Although research on e-cigs is limited due to the infancy of the industry and competing interest groups, it is likely that e-cigs may be one of the most important innovations of our times.