Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave for the last few months, you’ve probably picked up on the enormous upturn in the use of electronic cigarettes. A recent survey found that e-cigarette use has tripled over the last two years – so what are they, how do they work, and who is using them?
Electronic cigarettes heat a water-based e-liquid inside the device until it reaches the correct temperature to vaporise. The vapour is then inhaled and exhaled in the same way you would smoke a cigarette. These e-liquids come in a variety of strengths and flavours to suit your “vaping” habits: there are traditional flavours like rich and menthol, as well as fruit flavours such as pear, mango, strawberry, chocolate and even banana split! The vapour released looks like smoke but quickly dissipates into the air, and is odourless (unlike traditional tobacco smoke!)
It’s not as easy to spot an electronic cigarette as it used to be. Whereas the market used to be dominated by clunky models with large mouth pieces, now there are e-cigs designed to be almost indistinguishable from a regular cigarette. Apart from the brightly glowing end, you might not notice the difference as you walk by. There are even electronic cigarettes that have a specially designed soft tip filters, such as Vype electronic cigarettes, so they even feel like cigarettes. Presumably these design changes have been made to help smokers cut down on their normal cigarette consumption with a similar replacement.
Who’s using them?
2.1 million Brits, according to recent surveys. The vaping trend is spreading like wild fire: new e-cig bars are popping up all over the place, you’re even allowed to use them in the O2 Arena, and Heathrow Airport has recently opened a vaping lounge (although as they’re unregulated at the moment, if you’re vaping when you’re out and about it’s always best to ask the individual establishment’s policy on e-cigarettes). Opinion is still divided over whether they help you give up smoking or not, but with no chemical additives and the option to control your nicotine intake with your choice of e-liquid strength – we can’t see usage declining any time soon.