Vaping - an expert’s view

Why aren’t plug-in air fresheners under scrutiny?

I’m an electronic cigarette user and hold a Masters Degree in Medicinal Chemistry, so am obviously very well informed on the area.

Yes, they are unregulated and could feasibly contain harmful agents, but so do a million other things - most notably plug in air fresheners; their mode of vaporisation being paraffin, a known poison, unlike propylene glycol. Yet these are not the question of controversy. The question of why this is the case is an interesting one.

There are two important facts to consider here. First: the dose makes the poison and nothing found in an electronic cigarette could possibly have any effect on a user at the concentrations involved. For instance, the presence of tobacco specific nitrosamines are found in lower levels in electronic cigarettes than in approved nicotine replacement therapies and at levels roughly 25,000 times lower than cigarettes themselves.

Electronic cigarettes cannot be carcinogenic, because of the smaller dose .Long-term studies in mice have unanimously shown nicotine itself to be safe.


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Secondly, and most importantly, the reason some people favour an indoor ban on electronic cigarettes, and not air fresheners, is that they resemble cigarettes. If they did not people would not be attempting to attribute their justified prejudice against cigarettes to them.

I put it to all doubters that if nicotine was delivered via an aerosol device which resembled an asthma inhaler (also uses propylene glycol) they would have no problem with it.

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Why should electronic cigarettes have to be proved to be safe, when the rest of the thousands of new products released onto the market each year would instead have to be proved to be harmful to health to require attention?

Alex Carey-Hulyer

To comment on this opinion email belinda.bennett@archant.co.uk

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