(And why there’s a huge difference between tests on real humans v’s a few lung epithelial cells in a petri dish)
A recent research article published in ‘Plosone’ Journal reported that lung epithelial cells, exposed to e-liquid, are more prone to infection from strains of rhinovirus, the virus responsible in the main for the common cold.
And this then got splashed across the papers.
However, Bernd Mayer PhD, lecturer in Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Graz, (who also has a special interest in e cigarettes) decided to look further at this lung epithelial cell research, to see if it matched up to real world experience – i.e. did living breathing humans give the same results? Was it really true that the now several million vapers across Europe were experiencing more coughs and cold and runny noses now they were vaping?
Professor Mayer began by setting up a survey involving members of two German vaping forums.
Asking the following very simple question, participants had only three possible answers:
Since I have been switching to e-cigarettes the frequency of airway infections is
- a) Reduced
- b) Not markedly changed
- c) Increased
Answers had to be given in relation to the common cold, as the researchers from Plosone had looked specifically at rhinovirus, and so Professor Mayer wanted to keep it that way too.
According to Professor Mayer’s blog, (link at the end of the post) this survey is still ongoing, but he quotes his findings as of the 26th Sept 1014.
307 vapers had answered his very short questionnaire by then.
207 had reported reduced incidence and severity of colds, = 67.4%.
89 had reported no change, = 29%
11 reported an increase in frequency of colds, =3.6%
Now, these results have to have a huge caveat – it is a small survey, many parameters were not included, it was conducted on a forum and is considered qualitative research at best, but it does show that the living breathing (vaping) human responds differently to a group of cells in a petri dish.
Professor Myer makes several interesting conclusions in his post, which I have copied below, about the research with the cells, and reveals some interesting nicotine levels that must have been influential in the final results:
“ The result of this survey indicates that the cell culture model used by Wu et al. does not reflect the consequences of e-liquid inhalation by humans. Presumably incubation of lung epithelial cells for up to 48 hours with e-liquids does not adequately mimic the effects of inhaled vapor. Moreover, the authors were apparently mistaken about the final nicotine concentrations in their experiments. According to the Material and Methods section of their paper, cells were incubated with up to 0.3% (v/v) of liquid containing 18 mg of nicotine per ml. Though not explicitly stated in the manuscript, this dilution would result in 54 µg/ml final. The authors state “the final nicotine concentrations were within the serum nicotine range of e-cigarette users.” However, a serum nicotine concentration of 54 µg/ml is far above the lethal threshold of 2-4 µg/ml . Concentrations of 20 ng/ml or less were measured in plasma or serum of volunteers upon inhalation of nicotine containing e-liquids [5, 6]. Thus, the nicotine concentrations applied by Wu et al. are three orders of magnitude higher than typical nicotine plasma levels. The inhalation of e-liquids does not increase but rather decreases the frequency of airway infections. Sadly this is more research that appears not to have been done well, and a simple survey of vapers completely refuted the findings. Sadly within the vaping community we are learning that not all e cigarette related research is conducted effectively, well, and often the results are not properly reported.”
We however, are lucky to have Professors like Bernd Mayer that do look at the research and can, with a critical eye examine it and then let us non scientist understand the flaws if present.
The link to his blog: : http://www.bernd-mayer.com/electronic-cigarettes-airway-infection-dont-worry/
Complete the challenge and receive a £20 reward*
So why should you try an e cig – (apart from the £20 The Electronic Cigarette Company (TECC) will put into your TECC account?)
Because e cigs are not the demon some in the public arena have made out them to be, they are in fact a force for good that should be celebrated.
2. 1 million people in the UK alone are smoking less tobacco cigarettes now, and that’s thanks to e cigs.
More experts are realising the good e cigs are doing and are coming out in support of them, and
here at TECC, we are very serious about e cigs and we think that if you’ve not tried vaping yet – you should give it a go.
And here’s why.
E cigs have been proven to be between 100 to 1000 times safer than tobacco cigarettes. No, there are no long-term clinical studies yet, but from the millions that have now been vaping for more than three years, (long term clinical trials generally last 1 to 2 years), there have been no attributable deaths to e cigs, people are not reporting any adverse affects, in fact they are reporting the opposite.
More and more research is being done on e cigarettes, and more and more the results are positive.
E cigs are a product that has spread by word of mouth, by people who have had their lives changed for the better telling their friends about them. They must be telling other people for a good reason surely?
Reasons like the following….
Vaping will save you money. If you go to our home page here – you can use our calculator and work out just how much money you could save.
The flavour choices are endless – forget the delicate taste of burning tobacco that leaves your mouth feeling and tasting like the bottom of the budgie cage, think coffee flavour, sweet caramel, sour cherry – whatever your favourite is – there is an e liquid in that flavour available vape.
You won’t stink like an ashtray that hasn’t been washed for 6 months. Instead you’ll be fragrant and fresh and people will be coming up to you asking you what that lovely smell is!
You can use your e cig in many places that you can’t smoke, though do ask, as it’s polite and part of the e cig etiquette.
So just a very few reasons on why you might think about taking up our challenge.
And like I said at the beginning, they are now proven safer than tobacco cigarettes.
E cigarettes are not a quit smoking product – despite the way the media and health experts are trying to frame them. Yes you might stop smoking tobacco, but you might not, and that is entirely up to you.
This is not about quitting this is about switching.
E cigarettes are simply an alternative product, that as a smoker we think you might enjoy.
The truth is that e cigs taste nice, don’t have all the gunk that tobacco cigarettes do, and they’ll save you a small fortune.
We vapers are a friendly bunch and will do all we can to help you switch over with ease and simplicity.
But anyway, after all that explanation – here are the rules for the challenge that you’ll need to follow in order to claim your £20 for Switchover!
Switchover Challenge Terms and Conditions
- The switchover challenge will only apply to new customers ( if you are an existing customer read the rules for referrals…)
- The word switchover must be entered in the Special Instructions box at checkout when making your order to show that you are taking part in the challenge
- An e-cig kit or accessories to make up a full electronic cigarette must be purchased on the first order
- To redeem your £20 reward you need to e-mail your details and the details of your challenge including the kit you used, your e-liquid of choice and how you made the switch to e-cigs; did you cut down or switch over completely? to email@example.com
- e-mails to redeem the £20 reward need to be sent 30 days after the first order was made
- £20 will be given as an online store credit
- No Cash alternative can be given
- Credits can only be used at www.theelectroniccigarette.co.uk
But I’m already a vaper I hear you cry… Then challenge someone else! We will then reward you with £10 credits* for simply giving us their details. All you need to do is send us their name, contact number and/or e-mail address (do ask them first though…) and once they have ordered you will be rewarded!
Here are the rules and regs for existing vapers:
Switchover Referral Terms and Conditions
- The referral details need to be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
- You must be an existing customer to refer others and receive credits
- The referee must make an order for the referral to be valid
- The £10 credits will be applied after the referee’s order has been completed
- No cash alternative can be given
So go on, Switchover !
The news over the weekend that Diacetyl has been found in some e liquid is not good. The media has pounced on this with absolute glee coming so soon after the announcement from the WHO and their take on e cigs, and understandably many vapers will be feeling worried.
For those of you that have not read the papers or been on Twitter over the weekend, a TV programme called Inside Out has investigated e-cigarettes with part of that investigation being the purchase of 4 bottles of e liquid; which they then had tested.
3 were fine and safe to vape.
1 contained Diacetyl.
So, what does this mean and just how afraid should we be?
Diacetyl is a chemical used in the food industry to give a buttery flavour. It’s absolutely fine and dandy to eat, but to inhale it is another question.
Diacetyl arises naturally as a by-product of fermentation and cultured cream, cultured butter and cultured buttermilk owe their distinct flavour in part to Diacetyl.
Diacetyl though has been associated with a lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans. This is a rare and serious lung condition, with some sufferers needing a lung transplant. It is often referred to as ‘popcorn lung disease’ as it was discovered after some popcorn factory workers that had been inhaling Diacetyl over a long period presented with it.
Diacetyl is hazardous if heated and inhaled over a long period.
So what else do we know about this, especially in relation to electronic cigarettes?
Dr Farsalinos has done some research (link at the bottom) specifically looking for Diacetyl in e-liquid, and he presented his findings at the Global Forum on Nicotine in Warsaw earlier this year.
Taking 159 refill e-liquids and concentrate flavourings from 36 manufacturers spread across 6 European countries, he wanted to see if Diacetyl was delivered to the vaper. If it was, he wanted to then measure the average daily exposure to Diacetyl, as compared with the respective NIOSH defined safety limits. For this research Dr Farsalinos assumed an average consumption of 3mls of e liquid per day per user.
The results were worrying, with 74.2% of the sweet e-liquids containing some levels of Diacetyl.
But this is where we need get our perspective goggles on and remove much of the fear, but admittedly not all of the concern.
Dr Farsalinos concludes – “ Diacetyl was found in a large proportion of sweet flavoured e liquid, at levels higher than the strictest safety limits, but significantly lower compared to smoking.”
Between 10 to 100 times lower than smoking.
Now this doesn’t make e cigs perfect, and it doesn’t make it all OK; it does though put the Diacetyl in perspective, as e cigarettes are safer than tobacco cigarettes.
But there is still more that can be done to eradicate Diacetyl altogether.
This is an avoidable risk.
All the companies that tested positive for Diacetyl were contacted, all of them can (and should have) put in place methods to prevent this from ever occurring again, and simple batch testing with the removal of certain ingredients will eliminate this problem.
This proves yet again why it is vital to buy your e liquids from a reputable e-liquid manufacturer that does due diligence.
TECC, via TW has the majority of its e-liquid manufactured in house, in the UK and USA to ensure that we provide the best e-liquid we can. Managing the risk of Daicetyl is about simple control of ingredients. We manage our concentrate specifications such that we define and manage the range of ingredients and related constituents in all our flavourings. There are a number of flavours that we will not stock as we are unable to develop these flavours whilst maintaining acceptable composition. We are confident our fluids do not contain Diacetyl, if ever we became aware of any fluid containing Diacetyl at any levels that could cause any harm these fluids would be removed from sale immediately and the product recalled. As a statement of our commitment, all TECC concentrates which are used within our fluid production will be sent for immediate independent analysis to provide an absolute datum for our customers to gain the assurance of safety they should expect from our company.
The link to Dr Farsalinos’ study: http://gfn.net.co/downloads/2014/posters/122%20Farsalinos%20%20-%20DA_AP.pdf
Having just read what I found to be a well written and amusing blog post about vaping, it made me stop and pause for thought….
Does my vaping smell offensive?
As a now ex smoker, I do revel in the delights of fragrant aromas and my re energised taste buds are having a pretty good time too, but do others appreciate this? Do others appreciate my clouds of strawberry cream?
Now smoking, that’s a no brainer. To a non-smoker and a newly (probably evangelised) ex smoker the smell of cigarette smoke stinks – plain and simple. We won’t go into the amateur dramatics that cigarettes smoke can provoke, all that arm waving and furious wafting, we’ll leave that for another day, but there’s not many non smokers that genuinely enjoy the smell of cigarette smoke.
Is it the same for non-vapers and vapour?
The lady who wrote the amusing blog certainly feels this way. She wrote:
“In the case of restaurants and cafes, you are interfering with the food. Flavour is a combination of taste and smell, and with the smell of pina colada air freshener floating under my nose; I am having a hard time enjoying my coffee. Your bubble gum vapor is not welcome when I’m eating a grilled cheese. And — I may be overstepping my bounds here — but I really wish you wouldn’t exhale bacon flavored vapor around my beer. We’ve already established that bacon-flavored beer is pretty terrible. I know you can still smoke in a lot of bars, but I don’t go to those bars. Besides, that’s what the patio is for.”
I have been guilty of not giving much thought to this – I’ve been too busy enjoying my flavoured e liquids to care too much about the oral or olfactory experiences of those around me. But because I think it’s nice, that doesn’t mean others will find it pleasant.
Said blogger was all for vaping, congratulating vapers that had switched, but I think, on reflection, (while vaping coffee mocha and sipping my latte), that perhaps she may have a point?
If you are vaping in an enclosed space, and someone is giving you ‘that’ look that tells you instantly they are not pleased, perhaps you/we could, as the fab vapers that we are, politely ask them if the vapour is bothering them? And if so, maybe refrain until they have gone?
Link to blog mentioned: http://www.xojane.com/healthy/an-open-letter-to-the-person-smoking-their-e-cigarette-indoors
First generation e cigarettes resemble cigarettes in look and size and are commonly referred to as ‘cigalikes’.
These types of e cigs are the ones found in most supermarkets, garages and small newsagents, yet it is these very cigalikes that has the Public Health people concerned.
Why? Because they believe that due to the similarity to tobacco cigarettes, cigalikes may re-normalise smoking.
At time of writing this post, please note there is no evidence that re-normalising of smoking is taking place due to e cigarettes and vaping, but Public Health see this ‘maybe’ as a very real concern.
Dr Lynne Dawkins of the University of East London has looked into this very issue and undertaken a few small research studies. Asking the questions – how important is the cigarette like appearance for a smoker transitioning to e cigarettes, and – is the visual appearance irrelevant as long as there is effective nicotine delivery? Dr Dawkins set out to find the answers.
Looking at the data, nicotine is a critical component of smoking, but then so are the sensory motor factors, i.e. the look and feel of the cigarette, because many smokers enjoy the experience of smoking.
Dr Dawkins study looked at 100 smokers with little to no experience of e cigs, and asked them to choose between a cigalike and a refillable eGo device –a second generation device. 50% chose the cigalike purely because it resembled cigarettes, thus confirming that looks are important.
But what about when used?
To address this question, Dr Dawkins randomly assigned 63 abstinent smokers a cigalikes e cig, only one type looked like a cigarette; the other resembled a cigarette but had a red battery casing. Both contained the same flavour and nicotine strength e liquid.
The reduction in urge to smoke and withdrawal symptoms was significantly greater for those in the white cigalikes group than for those in the red.
Again, concluding that looks are important, at least for short-term use in the laboratory.
So how does this equate to real life?
Cigalikes it seems are an important part of many vapers journey, despite the nicotine not being as effectively delivered as the 2nd and 3rd generation devices. It seems that once people get used to the idea of vaping, then they move onto larger and more complicated devices.
It is the switching of the habit that can be hard – (anyone that has tried to change an ingrained habit will know this).
Therefore if the cigalikes resembles a cigarette, this could mean that many more smokers will be more comfortable making the switch. People see themselves as smokers, and only once they see themselves as vapers, can they then make the further switch from cigalikes to 2nd and 3rd generation devices.
But as with all things e cigarette, more research into this is welcome, as some in Public Health say that the cigalikes can actually keep people smoking and sustain what is called dual use – where people both smoke and vape.