The Health Impacts of E-Cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes and traditional cigarettes are very different, so how do they affect our health? One uses a simple formulation of safe and non-toxic VG (Vegetable Glycerine) and PG (Propylene Glycol) combined with flavouring and nicotine to deliver satisfying relief from cravings. The other uses dried tobacco leaves treated with a cocktail of chemicals and additives, which when burned release yet more harmful chemical compounds and cancer-causing carcinogens.


Traditional tobacco products are known to contain such lethal chemicals as hydrogen cyanide, formaldehyde, lead, carbon monoxide, arsenic and ammonia, as well as radioactive elements like uranium which are used to treat the soil in which tobacco is grown.


All of these chemicals have a detrimental effect on health and likely account for the fact smoking is the cause of 15% of all cancer cases in the UK.

Tobacco is known to cause at least fifteen forms of cancer including lung, throat/oesophagus, bladder, bowel, liver and kidney cancer, which has in turn led to an estimated 484,700 hospital admissions and 77,900 deaths in the UK during 2016/2017 alone.*


The prevalence of e-cigarettes has promoted a slow yet steady decline in smoking rates, playing a massive role in the nation’s smoking cessation statistics. This is because smokers tend to favour e-cigarettes as their method of choice for kicking cigarettes over other nicotine delivery systems like chewing gum and patches, as e-cigarettes allow for a convincing ‘smoking’ experience both visually and behaviourally.  And whilst we know that e-cigs are up to 95% less harmful than tobacco cigarettes*, what exactly is happening to our bodies when we inhale these weird and wonderful e-liquids?

We have already outlined that the base of e-liquids is comprised of VG (Vegetable Glycerine) and PG (Propylene Glycol), which are considered safe for human consumption both topically and internally. Widely used in food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical products and even in asthma inhalers and medicines, the combination of VG and PG simply acts a neutral and non-toxic carrier substance to which nicotine and flavouring is later added.


When VG and PG are vaped, they can cause minor health implications such as a dry mouth and a sore throat. These symptoms are easily rectified by drinking more water and tend to affect newer users more so than people who have been vaping for over a month.


Some e-cigarette users may experience allergies when using e-liquids with a high-PG content, but these incidents are very rare.

You may have heard references being made to links between vaping and lipoid pneumonia, which occurs when fat particles enter the lungs and cause dangerous inflammation. It has been reported that the act of inhaling an oil-based substance such as e-liquid can cause lipoid pneumonia, but this is an unfair and indeed untrue statement as smoking tobacco is one of the major causes of respiratory infections, including pneumonia.


Quitting smoking is one of the most vital steps a smoker can take to lower their risk of respiratory pneumonia, and using a less harmful alternative such as vaping as a means to achieve this should never be discouraged.


Considering that vaping is at least 95% less harmful to health than traditional cigarettes, reducing daily cigarette consumption in smokers by switching to e-cigarette products is likely to produce significant overall health benefits.

For more information on how switching from smoking cigarettes to vaping can benefit your health, check out our blog on what you can expect by making the switch.

When you are using your e-cigarette to vape nicotine-containing e-liquid, you should be aware that nicotine has its own effect on the body and is both a stimulant and a sedative all at once.


The initial surge you feel after vaping or smoking nicotine is caused by stimulation of the adrenal glands and triggers a release of adrenaline and glucose which affects the heart rate, blood pressure and rapidity of breathing.


The absorption of nicotine also prompts the release of dopamine: a neurotransmitter which is linked to motivation, memory and reward. This results in a pleasurable and satisfying sensation which leaves the user feeling contented both physically and mentally.


And whilst the relieving feeling of nicotine is pleasurable, it is of course an addiction and should be carefully managed with a view to gradual reduction. Our e-liquids are available in a variety of nicotine strengths so that you can begin your vaping journey with a suitable level of nicotine to mirror your current habit, with lower strengths available so that you can steadily reduce your nicotine intake over time and eventually, break the habit for good.

*NHS Digital Data

*PHE – Public Health England, an executive agency of the Department of Health in the UK.