Just ten years ago, hardly anybody had heard of e-cigarettes or vaping. But today electronic cigarettes are used by millions of people around the world and have become a popular alternative to smoking cigarettes.
So, what are e-cigarettes, and what is vaping? How do electronic cigarettes work? How does vaping differ from smoking? And are there any other alternatives to smoking? Read on to find out.
What is an e-cigarette?
An e-cigarette, also known as a vape or an e-cig, is an electronic device which heats e-liquid to produce a vapour. Vapes and e-cigarettes are simply different names given to electronic cigarettes.
E-cigarettes are available in a wide variety of styles which operate slightly differently to achieve different effects.
E-cigarettes have become increasingly popular as an alternative to smoking in recent years.
What is vaping?
Vaping is the act of vaporising a liquid, often but not always containing nicotine, (with an e-cigarette) and inhaling it into the lungs.
How do e-cigarettes work?
An e-cigarette is made up of various components, including a battery, a vape tank, an atomiser, a coil and a mouthpiece. E-cigarettes work by heating e-liquid to produce a vapour.
E-liquid or e-juice is a thick, viscous liquid usually containing four main ingredients: PG (Propylene Glycol), VG (Vegetable Glycerine), nicotine, and flavourings. These ingredients can be combined in different quantities for different vaping experiences and effects.
How is vaping different to smoking?
Vaping differs from smoking in three main ways:
- No smoke Instead of burning tobacco to produce smoke, e-cigarettes heat e-liquid to create a vapour.
- No tobacco Unlike cigarettes which contain tobacco, vaping uses e-liquid which often contains nicotine and flavourings.
- Reduced risk No burning means no smoke and presents less risk than continuing to smoke. The NHS estimates that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking cigarettes.*
Other alternatives to smoking
Smokers who are attempting to move from smoking to a better alternative often transition to vaping. But many people miss the taste and experience of tobacco when using e-liquids.
Heated tobacco is a relatively new alternative to smoking which heats tobacco to a controlled temperature to release vapour instead of smoke. Real tobacco gives a more authentic taste than e-cigarettes. For people who would otherwise continue to smoke, the familiar flavour and similar ritual may make transitioning to heated tobacco a smoother and easier experience than vaping.
The vapour from heated tobacco still contains naturally occurring nicotine, but with fewer harmful chemicals than smoking.** It also has less impact on those around you, as second-hand smoke is not an issue, and the smell is much milder.
IQOS is the leading heated tobacco brand in the UK, offering seven unique tobacco variants including four menthol options. You can find out more about IQOS and heated tobacco here.
Important Information: IQOS is not risk free.
**Average reductions in levels of a broad range of harmful chemicals (excluding nicotine) compared to the smoke of a reference cigarette (3R4F). It does not necessarily equal a 95% reduction in risk.