Current Edition

Vaping – Success or Disaster?

This month disposable vapes (also known as e-cigarettes) have hit the headlines – this time we have finally woken up to the fact that millions of disposable vapes are being thrown away every week in the UK, and of course in other countries.

Q1: Are vapes being targeted at children, by using candy colours and flavours?

Q2: Are vapes just intended to help smoking cessation?

Q3: How safe is it to inhale vapourised PG and VG, the e-liquids, regularly? Q4: Can this technology be used to deliver life-saving drugs via the lung?

These £5 sales price products are now significantly cheaper than a pack of twenty cigarettes and come in many attractive sweet flavours masking the nicotine addiction, some say promoting under-age nicotine addiction. Published US government statistics show that an average of 20% of school children claim to have vaped.

I find it difficult to understand why the vaping market in the UK is unregulated, aside from CE/CA UK marking which is a DIY activity requiring the manufacturer to keep a technical file on their product design and manufacture. Such marking does not prove that a product is safe to use as an inhaler. Indeed the number of cases of lipid (fat deposit) pneumonia related to vaping use are rising, and the FDA in 2019 (four years ago) proposed to put the e-liquid main ingredients on the ‘potentially hazardous to inhale’ register.

To use a vape as a medical product the technical hurdle would include large-scale in vivo safety studies firstly in animals and then a human study to prove safety and efficacy. It is my understanding that no vaping product has been registered voluntarily with any regulatory authority. The timescale to do so, and cost would make that product many times more costly to buy. It just does not make economic sense to the manufacturers, unless it is mandatory for all to do so. Governments must enforce safety in vaping.

Lithium Salt is a Well-known Poison

Aside from the safety issue of inhalation of e-liquid vapour, I was shocked to find out today that all disposable vaping products contain lithium batteries. To my mind using Lithium-ion batteries only once, in these disposable products, is environmental piracy. Vapes get thrown away in general rubbish and so end up in landfill, with both underground fire risk due to battery crushing at the site, as well as long-term rainwater leachate of the poisonous Lithium salts.