Here's everything you need to know about e-cigarettes

A 2017 study published in the journal Nature concluded that "exposure to e-cigs could endanger human health, particularly among younger more vulnerable consumers. Researchers are actively investigating the short and long term effects of e-cigs

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If you have ever wondered ‘what that pendrive-looking thing’ which the younger generation is sucking on these days and blowing smoke out of is, those compact devices are nothing but ‘electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes.


How do E-Cigarettes work? 

Now, these devices have been used commonly in western countries but in the last couple of years, people in Mumbai are commonly seen using these. Considered to be a less-harmful alternative to smoking conventional cigarettes, e-cigs are tobacco-free and have refillable or replaceable cartridges or containers that hold liquid which contains nicotine, solvents, and flavours.  

When a person inhales (commonly referred to as "vaping"), they are putting a negative pressure on the device that triggers a battery to heat the liquid solution, which is then atomised into inhalable vapour. 

An e-cigarette has three main parts 1) a rechargeable battery 2) a vaporisation chamber/atomizer and 3) a liquid cartridge usually containing nicotine, chemical flavouring, and other compounds. When you inhale on the tip of the e-cigarette, a valve opens to allow some fluid into the vaporisation chamber/atomiser. The battery then heats the liquid, which vaporises it, and then it is inhaled into the lungs


Popularity of Juul

The most popular brand in the e-cig market is ‘Juul’. According to statistics, Juul is  the most popular e-cigarette in the United States at the end of 2017 and has a market share of 72 per cent as of September 2018 which has surely increased by now. It  packages nicotine salts from leaf tobacco into one-time use cartridge and is highly popular across the United States, United Kingdom and has found its fan-following in India as well. The Juul device kit is approximately priced at around ₹5000 and the cartridge/pods have an additional price. 

Effect on health 

Besides nicotine, e-cigarettes can contain fewer toxic substances and carcinogens compared to conventional cigarettes. Among the younger generation, there is substantial evidence that using e-cigarettes increases the chance of smoking conventional cigarettes. A 2017 study published in the journal Nature concluded that "exposure to e-cigs could endanger human health, particularly among younger more vulnerable consumers. Researchers are actively investigating the short and long term effects of electronic cigarettes on the heart and lungs. 

In a documentary for CNBC, Burns said that the effect of vaping on Juul users, including minors, is unknown. Burns told Carl Quintanilla, "Frankly, we don't know today. We have not done the long-term, longitudinal clinical testing that we need to do." 


Current status of E-Cigarettes in India

In India, on August 28 last year, the Union government issued an advisory to state governments to ban the production, storage, sale and distribution of e-cigarettes. Based on this circular, on March 5 this year, the Maharashtra FDA commissioner issued direction to the FDA’s enforcement staff to ban the storage, manufacture, sale and distribution of e-cigarettes in the state. Recently, Bombay High Court stayed the state government's action against e-cigarettes. The court also directed the state government to release the stock of seized e-cigarettes which they seized from Petitioners Godfrey Phillips India Pvt. Ltd. and Easy Smoke Distributors.

The vaping industry will argue that electronic cigarettes are much safer than conventional cigarettes, but at the end of the day, any form of smoke entering your lungs would be bad for health, right? 

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