Vaping is a recent phenomenon. The first electronic cigarettes were designed to resemble tobacco cigarettes. They were introduced in China around 2000 and reached Europe and the USA a few years later. Many more types of vaping devices are now available but, being such a new pastime, there is little medical evidence regarding the safety of vaping. If you’re a fan of vaping, or thinking about starting, here’s how to vape safely.
What is Vaping?
Vaping is the practice of inhaling a vapour containing flavourings, chemicals and usually nicotine, to create an effect on the body. A liquid – or vape juice – is heated gently to release the vapour that is taken into the lungs. Inhalation of substances has high bioavailability, meaning high levels of the compound (such as nicotine or CBD) reach the body in the quickest time. This contrasts with taking, for example, CBD as an edible product. Edibles have much lower bioavailability as they must be broken down and metabolised by the liver and the digestive system.
Vaping, as with smoking, takes compounds to the lungs where the large surface area transfers chemicals directly into the bloodstream. The results can be felt in minutes.
Is Vaping Safer Than Smoking?
Anything is better than smoking. It has killed millions of people, including non-smokers, and causes damage to the entire body. Ideally, people should quit smoking entirely. However, nicotine, the addictive substance in tobacco, is highly addictive. Overall, doctors consider vaping to be far less harmful than smoking tobacco.
Switching to vaping drastically reduces the number of chemicals inhaled but continues to provide a hit of nicotine to fight cravings. Nicotine, although addictive, is not itself considered harmful. It is the 7000 chemicals in cigarettes that do so much physical damage. Therefore, people turn to vaping to support their withdrawal from tobacco.
The medical profession is currently unclear about the safety of vaping. It has not been around long enough for adequate research to be undertaken. The lungs are designed to take in fresh air and not much else, so anything inhaled from vaping could be damaging. There have been examples of lung conditions developing in younger vapers, mainly in the US. The condition is known as e-cigarette or vaping associated lung injury, or EVALI. It’s believed that any illness connected to vaping is caused by contaminants in the product.
On a side note, smoking involves burning material and therefore poses a fire hazard. Far too many house and forest fires have been started by cigarettes not properly stubbed out.
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Possible Safety Factors
Contaminants are more likely to be found in e-liquids containing THC, the psychoactive compound of hemp and cannabis. Depending on your home country, THC is generally not legal. There are strict regulations for CBD products which must contain no more than 1 mg of THC per product. Ideally, a product should be THC-free.
If you are trying to access THC e-liquid in the UK, be fully aware that this is likely to be an illegal product. It has probably not been manufactured in the best environment. Also, it could contain elements and contaminants harmful to health. To ensure you are vaping safely, avoid THC vape juices. Buying good quality brands of vape juice from a trusted retailer is the safest route to vaping. It will also provide the best possible vaping experience.
Vaping does still pose a risk as each device requires a battery to help heat the liquid. Batteries left to charge always have the potential to malfunction and there have been many reports of vape batteries exploding.
One of the issues is that batteries used in vape kits are not specifically designed for the job. Also, many vapes can be modified for personal use. It’s normal for someone to try different batteries and chargers to achieve their perfect device. This is not recommended as it can provide an explosive risk.
Vape kits that don’t cost much are also more likely to contain cheap electrical components and batteries that are untrustworthy. It makes sense to invest in a quality device and take advice from a reputable store or supplier. Look for equipment that clearly displays a customer services department or company contact details. Vaping devices without this information are likely to be of questionable origin. There would be no comeback if the device caused injury or damage. Make the sensible choice and buy quality products from a recognised company.
What Kit Do I Need to Start Vaping?
You’ll need a trustworthy vaping device to vape safely. Different types are available, including:
- E-cigarettes: Compact and resemble cigarettes; typically have a battery, heating element and a compartment for the vape liquid; e-cigarettes produce a favoured aerosol that usually contains nicotine.
- Vape pens: Popular, very compact and discreet to use; contain a battery and cartridge; short battery lifespan and longer heating time.
- Mods: More powerful and intense; larger battery and vape juice compartment; super-charged heating element; reputable brands are more expensive but offer quality.
- Pods: Accessible on price; very popular; pre-filled or refillable; small and simple to use; suitable for beginners; inhalation activated.
Can I Take CBD By Vaping?
Yes, certainly. CBD is taken in many different forms, from the original CBD oil to tinctures, pouches, and edibles like gummy bears and capsules. Vaping CBD is one of the fastest ways to get CBD into the body. There are plenty of quality CBD e-liquids to choose from, but there can be confusion.
The terms CBD oil and CBD liquid/vape juice are used interchangeably but are different things. To vape safely, make sure to use a CBD product designed for vaping. Using CBD oil in a vaping device is not advised. It is too thick and viscous to be evaporated and can create an unpleasant odour when heated.
However, and adding to the confusion, some companies produce CBD liquids that can be taken orally or vaped. One example available at CBD Village is from Ciro Health. https://www.cbdvillage.co.uk/learn/cbd-hemp-oil-and-its-advantages/
What Else Is In E-Liquids and Are They Safe?
CBD extracted from the hemp plant must be carried in a liquid suitable for vaping. The CBD – or nicotine – vape juice you choose will usually contain four ingredients:
- CBD extract
- Propylene Glycol
- Vegetal Glycerine
Propylene Glycol (PG) or Vegetal Glycerine (VG) are thinning agents that perform different functions. Both act to dilute the product but PG carries the flavour and provides a strong hit to your throat. VG is there to produce vapour from the liquid. It also provides thickness and sweetness to the vaping experience. VG is responsible for that heavy cloud and is also softer on the throat.
These two ingredients are mixed in different ratios to achieve certain effects. You may see figures like PG:VG 50/50 on the label. This explains that there is exactly half the amount of each in the vape juice. An e-liquid at, for example, PG: VG 70/30 will have a stronger throat hit and a more intense flavour. If VG is the predominant ingredient, there will be lots of vapour and a softer hit to the throat.
The rise in the popularity of vaping has led to some wild flavours being developed. These flavours often fall into certain categories, such as:
- Fruit and spice
- Cookies, desserts and sweets
- Drinks and cocktails
For safer vaping, look for natural flavourings rather than artificial concoctions. This is because some artificial flavourings can be harmful when eaten, but at present there’s no understanding of how these might impact the body through inhalation.
Propylene Glycol is tasteless, odourless and non-toxic. However, some people are allergic to this substance which can be regularly found in food products. It can cause skin rashes and dryness. Most people allergic to PG will already know this and therefore be scanning labels for potential allergens. But it can be easy to overlook a non-food item, like vape juice, as inhaling a vapour seems so different from eating.
Do All Liquids Contain Nicotine?
No, although most do. If you want to avoid nicotine look for the zero nicotine vape juices. There are plenty of CBD liquids to choose from that are nicotine-free. However, some do contain it alongside the CBD so be careful what you buy.
The Benefits of Vaping CBD With Nicotine
Many people take up vaping to help them quit smoking tobacco. A vape liquid containing nicotine may help to quell the cravings for tobacco but eliminate many of the harmful substances contained in cigarettes. However, a reduction in nicotine and withdrawal from tobacco can be difficult to deal with. It can lead to irritability and restlessness as a major time-consuming habit is taken away.
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Absolution Juice By Alfa Labs 0mg 50ml Shortfill (70VG/30PG)£3.25 (Incl. of VAT)
CBD is reputed to have many properties beneficial to physical and mental health. Anecdotal evidence says CBD produces a feeling of calm, may ease nervous tension and generally lightens mood. Tackling these with mental aspects could be useful to anyone giving up smoking. A CBD liquid with nicotine may relieve the cravings while at the same time improve mood and instil a sense of improved wellbeing.
Summing Up Safe Vaping
Vaping can be a relaxing and beneficial pastime. For many, it can be a route out of addiction and a move into a safer, healthier, cleaner way of life. Anything that reduces people’s reliance on tobacco should be considered favourably. But it does of course have its risks.
There are several factors to consider in order to vape safely. Firstly, get recommendations from friends about the best equipment and devices. If these don’t suit you, try alternatives that match your needs and lifestyle. A second option is to go straight to a recognised, popular retailer, whether in person or online. Any good vaping company should have customer teams available and willing to chat about vaping and give advice on the kit you need.
They should also be able to help regarding the strength of liquid you need if giving up smoking. A reputable company should put customer safety first so will not be stocking unsafe products, of questionable origin or untested.
Finally, always treat your vaping equipment with care. Anything with batteries that need charging runs a risk of overheating and becoming dangerous. Never recharge them on a soft surface, like bedding, or leave them exposed to heat. Don’t mix and match components without prior knowledge and never use batteries or chargers that can’t be traced to a legitimate manufacturer.
With this in mind, you should be able to enjoy your vaping experience. It can be enhanced with a good quality CBD vape juice. CBD can be absorbed quickly and effectively through vaping. It may be hugely beneficial in helping you to cope during difficult days, support healthy sleep and deal with everyday aches, pains, and stresses.