The Deal with E-liquid Safety

No discussion about the benefits and risks of vaping is ever complete without a long, lingering discussion of how we cannot conclusively determine that vaping is better than smoking, and how we should thus probably obliterate all vaping until a later time when these conclusive determinations can be made. That line of reasoning totally fails to take into account that, while vaping itself is new, no individual part of the process is actually new. Vapes are basically fog machines and e-liquids are made entirely from food-grade ingredients. Disambiguating vaping into its constituent elements makes it fairly easy to figure out that vaping itself is not particularly new, nor is it particularly dangerous. Fog machine and e-liquid safety are fairly well-established. Why should vaping be thought of as a different animal?

We’ve already talked about fog machines and the fact that they are generally recognized as safe, even in terms of occupational exposure. But how about e-liquids? Is there any reason why we should have any doubts about e-liquid safety? The answer is mostly no. US e-liquid manufacturers, include those VaporPuffs buys from, have shown great concern for e-liquid safety from the very beginning. The industry standard has been to limit e-liquid ingredients and flavorings to those approved by the FDA for human food-grade consumption. There are some questions about the applicability of food safety standards to inhalation safety standards, but those questions also seem misplaced to me. For one thing, e-liquid is primarily made out of VG or PG, both of which have been shown to be safe even at occupational exposure levels. For another, the food-grade flavorings used in e-liquids are highly volatile to begin with; for them to be safe in foods means that they will likely be safe when inhaled.

The only reason to believe that vaping might be dangerous is its connection to smoking, but that connection is limited to the fact that both involve the inhalation of nicotine. There is absolutely no reason to believe that any of the long-term risks associated with smoking stem from the impact of nicotine on lung tissue, though, and yet the claims that vaping might be dangerous in ways yet unknown keep popping up in the public discourse. E-liquid safety keeps being called into question regardless.

You might think that there’s a chance that the combination of the different elements we’ve looked at might result in unexpected consequences. Sure, e-liquid safety and fog machine safety are relatively well established, but how about the combination thereof? Could that be the source of problems in vaping? Certainly that’s a possibility, but it’s also quite unlikely. Take, for example, smoking. Yes, smoking tobacco is probably worse than chewing it, but the effects of smoking on the human body are already on display to some extent even in the use of smokeless tobacco. For instance, people who chew tobacco are more likely to develop oral cancer than people who don’t use tobacco at all. Smoking the tobacco doesn’t create all that many new complications. It just makes easier for these complications to occur in, say, the lungs, which would be safe from the effects of tobacco if the tobacco were only chewed.

In the same way, if there were any significant risks associated with e-liquid safety, they would likely already be in evidence in some way. The reasoning displayed by those who believe that vaping might pose endless associated risks that we have just not seen yet could be applied to literally anything that doesn’t appear to be at all harmful but seems like it might be. That reasoning is clearly not grounded in facts, but rather in a failure to consider vaping as separate from smoking.

Happy vaping!

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