The Real Story About Vaping And Your Health

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ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) has partnered with YouGov to conduct surveys about the use of tobacco products for many years. Starting on 2012, they began taking data for those who vape (use electronic cigarettes) exclusively, either as a replacement for or alternative to traditional cigarettes or other tobacco products. Now that they have amassed a few years’ worth of detailed data, they have made some very interesting findings. Their results might even surprise some of you.

In short:

  • Nearly 3 million adults throughout the UK vape, up more than 2 million in the last 4 years.
  • Just under half of vapers are ex-smokers, who now use e-cigarettes exclusively.
  • Vapers say that they use e-cigarettes to either cut down on or replace traditional smoking entirely, mostly for health reasons.
  • More than ¾ of vapers prefer using e-liquids with relatively low nicotine loads.
  • Nearly ¾ of vapers use less than 4ml of e-liquid per day.
  • Vaping is nearly non-existent among those who have never smoked.

And yet…

  • Only 15% of the public believes that vaping is substantially less harmful to one’s health than smoking, despite evidence to the contrary.

…But of course, the devil is always in the details. Let’s take a deeper look at these results, and what they really mean.

How effective is vaping when it comes to replacing traditional smoking?

Virtually everyone today knows how devastating smoking can be to your health, and to the health of those around you – cancer, COPD and emphysema are just the beginning. So, one of the things proponents of vaping point to as a positive effect is its ability to replace smoking either as a pathway to reducing nicotine intake or as a way to smoke less (and thereby avoid at least some of the harmful effects). This is the same argument used for nicotine gum or patches.

So, what does the report say about vaping helping people to quit smoking?

liberty-flight-table-one-real-story-of-vaping-and-your-health

The ASH results would suggest that vaping can help people quit tobacco. 1.3 million UK residents today no longer smoke traditional tobacco products due to switching to vaping exclusively. A further 1.4 million vapers also use traditional smoking products, but use substantially less because they have access to vaping.

In all, there is definitive proof that some 1.8 million Britons smoke less today because of vaping.

Do smokers really seek out vaping as a way to quit smoking?

liberty-flight-resons-for-using-electronic-cigarettes-among-users

Yes. The ASH survey shows that the three most common reasons UK residents vape are:

  • To stop smoking entirely,
  • To spend less money (than they did on smoking), and
  • To keep themselves off tobacco (after quitting).

What about the argument that vaping will be adopted by non-smokers, causing them to become nicotine users and perhaps transition to traditional smoking?

That was always the biggest argument against vaping – that it would cause young people to become nicotine users and perhaps smokers. The fact is, though, that only 0.2% of vapers had never been smokers – a figure that has not increased measurably in more than 3 years.

Does the public understand that vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking?

Not according to the ASH survey. There is a great deal of misunderstanding on this point, and the number of people who correctly identified vaping as the substantially less harmful option is actually falling.

liberty flights perception if harm

Despite a lot of good science being published on the subject, and organisations like the NHS supporting vaping as a less harmful alternative to smoking, the public is largely uncertain about the relative risks.

Only 15% of those asked got it right – that vaping was ‘a lot less harmful’ than smoking.

Do smokers understand the lesser risk of vaping?

Again, many do not. The top reason listed for why smokers who have never vaped have never tried it is that they are worried that it might not be safe – at 27%. Meaning that up to a quarter of current smokers may potentially try vaping as an alternative to smoking if they really understood the risks!

Can vaping be a pathway to quitting nicotine entirely?

The Ash results say yes. 10% of vapers use an e-liquid that has no nicotine in it at all. 37% of vapers use concentrations of 8 mg/ml or less. Only 9% use e-liquids at of 19 mg/ml or higher.

What is the significance of the ASH survey showing such positive results about vaping?

Frankly, the results of the latest ASH survey are a very big deal for the vaping community, and the businesses that serve it. In the early years, ASH was heavily against vaping in all forms and in all ways, and there was a great deal of concern from both the Government and the medical community. They used to feel that Britain would be better off without e-cigarettes in it at all. Of course, that has all changed now.

Vaping supporters have been convinced all along of the health benefits of switching from smoking to vaping. As more and more accurate scientific investigations into the actual health effects of vaping as opposed to smoking have been made, we are pleased to see acknowledgement of the positive role vaping can play in the lives of ex- smokers and those still trying to quit.

What is the biggest challenge to vaping being accepted as a real, effective and healthier alternative to smoking?

The biggest stumbling block for vaping is misguided public opinion and outright disinformation about its relative safety, and its usefulness to those who are struggling to quit smoking. However, as more health and governmental bodies change their policies to support vaping as a healthier alternative to smoking, we can expect public opinion to follow suit.

For more information and in-depth analysis see link below.

References: http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_891.pdf

Thank you,

Liberty Flights Team

Launch of IBVTA

 
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Liberty Flights is pleased to announce its involvement in the Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA), a not for profit trade association dedicated to representing the UK’s independent vape industry and vapers alike.

With the recent uncertainty around the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) and the changing landscape within the UK industry, IBVTA offers a progressive way for independent members to continue to work collaboratively in a challenging regulatory environment. This is most apparent in the formation of IBVTA’s Science and Regulatory Committee, where scientists with a range of experience and specialisms are coming together from the top UK companies to support the vaping industry. As part of their role they have been instrumental in engaging with the regulatory bodies, such as MHRA, as well as other professionals within the community. As a manufacturer with production facilities in the UK, this support and resource hub is welcomed by Liberty Flights and our own Chief Scientific Officer sits on the committee contributing to this collaborative approach.

Liberty Flights have always been committed to the vaping industry and providing high quality products for vapers. As part of IBVTA, Liberty Flights seeks to strengthen that commitment and ultimately drive the industry forward.

For more information, or if you are interested in joining IBVTA see the website below:

www.ibvta.org.uk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcSf8CRt4vk

Thank you,

Liberty Flights Team

Battery Safety – Refresher

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With an increase in tabloid headlines reporting exploding e-cigarette batteries, it’s time for a refresher about battery safety and reinforce the message that good-quality batteries, from trusted sources and handled sensibly will rarely encounter problems. See our top tips and recommendations below:

Why do some batteries explode? 

If treated improperly, lithium batteries can suffer from what is called ‘thermal runaway’. This causes the battery to become very hot and vent off gas. This occurs when the separator sheet that keeps the positive and negative electrodes apart gets broken as a result of the battery being dropped or damaged. When the electrodes touch, the battery heats up very quickly causing the electrolyte solution within it to vent. The heat itself or a nearby spark can then ignite the venting fluid resulting in a fire.

What protection is in place in batteries to keep them safe for use?

Reputable manufacturers achieve reliability by adding three layers of protection to Li-ion batteries. Firstly, they limit the amount of active material whilst still achieving an effective balance between energy density and safety; secondly, they include various safety mechanisms within the cell; and thirdly, they add an electronic protection circuit in the battery pack.

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It is important to always buy from a reputable supplier who has taken the above precautions and can provide the appropriate documentation. At Liberty Flights we verify all our batteries come with a CE Certificate of Conformity, including the detailed test report. In addition, we also require suppliers to provide a Restriction of the use of Certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) certificate, under Directive (2011/65/EU) and the supporting test report. Other reports (e.g. IEC62133, UN38:3), transportation reports and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are also required and checked.

What can customers do to protect their batteries from damage?

We would always recommend storing and transporting loose batteries separated from one another, in non-conductive (e.g. plastic) containers. Never store batteries where they can come into contact with metal items such as loose change or keys as these can cause a short circuit.

Top Tips 

  • Manufacturer’s device specific instructions for charging should be strictly followed.
  • Always use the charger provided with the device. Incorrect or incompatable chargers can result in failure.
  • Always charge batteries on a hard, flat surface, not on soft furnishings or carpet.
  • Never leave a charging battery unattended or overnight.
  • If possible, use a charging bag to encase the charger and battery as they can offer additional protection whilst charging.
  • Once fully charged, remove the battery from the charger and unplug from the socket.
  • Do not over-tighten any screwed connections to rechargeable batteries as this can result in mechanical damage. For example, the battery can be push down onto the centre pin causing a short.
  • Never use batteries where there is visible damage to the plastic cover, terminals, insulation or case, replace it instead.
  • Do not use batteries that have stopped functioning or charging normally.
  • Do not store or use batteries in extremes of temperature, high or low.
  • Do not submerge batteries in water.
  • Dispose of and recycle batteries in accordance with your country’s appropriate legislation.

Stay safe and happy vaping everyone!

———————-

Lucy Robins

Chief Scientific Officer

 

References

 http://www.ivva.ie/latest-news/battery-safety-2/

http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/lithium_ion_safety_concerns

 

E-liquid Testing Results

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Recent developments in the understanding of e-liquid safety and the effect of some of the flavour components have led to increased scrutiny across the industry with regards three key compounds. While these three compounds are used safely in food, special consideration must be given to inhalation use because the lungs are not equipped with the same level of defence mechanisms compared to the stomach i.e. when something is swallowed. This blog discusses these compounds of interest, why they need to be monitored and how Liberty Flights is ensuring the quality and safety of our e-liquids.

What is Diacetyl (DA)?

Diacetyl (or butane-2,3-dione) is an organic compound with the structure shown below:

diacetyl

It is classified as an alpha diketone (two C=O groups, side-by-side, ringed in red) and has an intense, buttery flavour. This means that it is often added to food as a flavouring agent but it can also occur naturally in alcoholic beverages.


What is Acetyl Propionyl (AP)?

Acetyl propionyl (or 2,3-pentanedione) is another alpha diketone with the structure illustrated below:

acetyl

AP also has a buttery taste and can be found in food flavourings.

What is Acetoin?

Acetoin (or 3-hydroxybutanone), is a ketone (ringed in red), not a diketone like DA and AP, and has the structure shown below:

acetoin

Acetoin is described as having a pleasant buttery odour, making it a popular food flavouring. It is also a chemical intermediate in the production of DA.


Why shouldn’t they be present in e-liquids?

During the use of DA as a flavouring for butter popcorn in the US, it was discovered that workers exposed to the flavouring during manufacture were at risk of Bronchiolitis obliterans (BO). BO is a rare and life-threatening form of non-reversible obstructive lung disease in which the bronchioles (small airway branches) are compressed and narrowed by fibrosis (scar tissue) and/or inflammation. After investigation, it was concluded that DA contributed to the damage caused and there is good data to support the presumption that both DA and AP are dangerous if inhaled (see links below). Evidence suggests the respiratory damage is linked specifically to the functional group of these molecules (an alpha diketone).

(1)    http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/updates/upd-08-15-11.html

(2)    http://tpx.sagepub.com/content/36/2/330.short

(3)    http://tpx.sagepub.com/content/40/3/448.short

What is most concerning is that the maximum exposure limits for DA and AP are very low and it is vital that these compounds are tested for, at the lowest possible level, in any inhalation product. The recommended exposure limit (REL) for DA is 5 parts per billion (ppb) as an eight-hour, time-weighted average, (TWA) during a 40-hour work week. For AP the REL is 9.3 ppb(1).

This data has been applied to e-liquids by registered toxicologists (BIBRA Toxicology and Consulting) contracted by ECITA (Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association), who have set limits for DA and AP to 20 µg/ml in e-liquids, based on a daily consumption of no more than 3 ml of e-liquid per day. The possible inclusion of DA and AP, at any level, in some sweet tasting e-liquids is therefore a concern to the industry in general. According to the British Standards Institution (BSI) PAS 54115:2015 (Vaping products, including electronic cigarettes, e-liquids, e-shisha and directly-related products – Manufacture, importation, testing and labelling guide) these compounds are not permitted in the production of e-liquids.

Although not a diketone, there is conflicting evidence about the effect of acetoin on the body when inhaled. What is known is that it is a respiratory irritant and combined with the fact that it is an intermediate in the formation of DA, it has become a compound of concern. Bibra have quoted a safe level of 8400 µg/ml and Liberty Flights Ltd has chosen to test for and monitor acetoin levels as more data continues to become available.

Liberty Flights has taken the step of having our e-liquids tested at an independent, GMP laboratory to confirm that the level, if any, of DA, AP and acetoin are within acceptable, safe limits for inhalation.

How and where is the testing performed?

In order to get the highest quality, reputable data, Liberty Flights approached a well-known independent, GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) laboratory and undertook extensive method development to create a method which had the highest possible level of sensitivity, despite the often complex mix of flavourings.

It was important to Liberty Flights to use an accredited laboratory that would perform the testing to the highest standard so selecting one with GMP approval was vital. GMP outlines the standard required in order to conform to legislation covering pharmaceutical manufacture and testing. As a result, standards are very high and ensure reputable, repeatable data is obtained.

Using an independent laboratory was also important to Liberty Flights, as we wanted the results to be unbiased, giving our customers confidence that the results were verified independently without interference from anyone invested in the outcome.

The method for detecting and quantifying DA, AP and acetoin uses High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). This approach separates compounds of interest from each other in the e-liquid. In HPLC, the sample is passed through a column (usually containing silica based packing), with a flowing solvent mixture through the system. Based on their structure, the individual components in the e-liquid sample have unique affinities for the packing material (i.e. silica) and the solvent mixture, and retain on the column for different periods of time relative to that affinity, before being eluted. This allows the different components to be detected as discreet peaks at different times by the detector.

hplc-chromatogram

Example of a HPLC chromatogram

(http://www.merckmillipore.com/GB/en/products/analytics-sample-prep/chromatography-for-analysis/analytical-hplc/aluspher-100-rp-select-b-hplc-columns/I36b.qB.kGEAAAE_sOR3.Lxi,nav).

The concentration can then be calculated based on the intensity of the response to that compound in the detector (area under peak). This is a widely used analytical technique and the method development carried out by the laboratory ensured the limit of detection (LOD) and limit of quantification (LOQ) for the method was as low as possible whilst maintaining precision and specificity.

XO e-liquid Results

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The certificates for the first 27 liquids tested can be found where you see the certificate symbol next to any flavour on the product pages. Due to the number of liquids available, this process is ongoing and as more results become available they will be published on the relevant product pages of our website.

For reference, 1 µg/ml equals 1 ppm and therefore, the safe limit of 20 µg/ml referenced previously equals 20 ppm for DA and AP and 8400 µg/ml equals 8400 ppm for Acetoin.

The limits of detection for the methods used to conduct this testing are 2 ppm. It can therefore be said that any e-liquids showing a result of ‘none detected’ (ND) have levels below 2 ppm and are therefore well within safe limits.

Liberty Flights is pleased that the results reflect the thorough approach taken to e-liquid quality.

Guest liquids

At Liberty Flights all of our guest e-liquid manufacturers are required to supply the appropriate certification on DA, AP and acetoin levels to ensure we only sell the best quality products. Please contact the manufacturer directly for more information.

A Final Note

Liberty Flights will continue to invest resources into scientific development to ensure that we produce e-liquid that is of the highest quality and is as safe as it can possibly be. If you have any questions about this blog, or anything else about Liberty Flights products, please feel free to get in touch via our customer service team or leave your comments below and we will do our very best to get back to you as soon as possible.

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Lucy Robins

Chief Scientific Officer