Vaping (E-cigarettes)

AuthorJames G. Wigmore
 5
Vaping (E-cigarettes)
“Who thought sucking on a battery was a good idea?”
—Hall, “Who Thought Sucking on a Battery Was a Good Idea?” ()
“Researchers have disproved claims by e-cigarette manufacturers that
e-cigarette aerosols are only water vapor, glycerol and PG and can be
used safely in all environments.
—Walley et al, “A Public Health Crisis:
Electronic Cigarettes, Vape, and JUUL” ()
Most e-cigarettes (ECs) structurally contain f‌ive dif‌ferent components:
) Mouthpiece.
) Sensor or user-activated button to ignite the heating coil.
) Power source (usually a rechargeable battery).
) Heating element or coil (atomizer).
) Cartridge or reservoir, which holds a liquid solution (e-liquid or
e-juice) containing varying amounts of nicotine, f‌lavorings, and other
Researchers and academics use the name “electronic nicotine delivery
systems” (ENDS), which is not a name commonly recognized by the pub-
lic. Thus, e-cigarettes (ECs) will be used throughout this book instead. In
many ECs, the user’s pung activates the battery powered heating device,
which activates the heating element and vaporizes the e-liquid, which is
stored in the cartridge.
Vaping (E-cigarettes) | 
“The technology for the modern e-cigarette did not originate solely in
China in ; the idea that Hon Lik was the f‌irst person to develop a
device that aerosolised a nicotine solution is an oversimplif‌ication of the
history of the e-cigarette. PM began exploring nicotine aerosol generation
technology in  to create a product that would serve as an alternative
to NRT therapy for health-concerned smokers and deal with smoke-free
environments. . . . Researchers and policymakers should recognise that PM
developed e-cigarette technology to evade tobacco control regulations.
—Dutra, Grana, and Glantz, “Philip Morris Research on
Precursors to the Modern E-Cigarette Since ” ()
Tobacco companies developed electronic delivery systems that avoided
smoke for many years before Hon Lik was touted as the f‌irst person to
aerosolize a nicotine solution (, –, ). In fact, Hon Lik’s
original device did not use a coil to heat the e-liquid but a piezoelectric
element to produce ultrasonic waves that vaporized the liquid ().
The evolution of ECs can generally be divided into f‌ive generations,
each delivering more and more nicotine and volume of vape ():
st Generation (Cig-a-likes): These ECs looked a lot like cigarettes
and some even had an LED tip to mimic the lit tip of a cigarette.
Some cig-a-likes were disposable and some rechargeable, but the
heating power and volume of nicotine liquid vaporized were low.
nd Generation (Clearomizers): The clearomizers are transparent
and have higher volume e-liquid reservoirs than cig-a-likes and
have larger variable voltage batteries (pen-style). These vaporizers
are ref‌illable.
rd Generation (Mods): These much larger devices can contain
ref‌illable tanks, which can contain a much larger volume of e-li-
quids. The coils, batteries, and other parts can be customized or
modif‌ied by the user, hence the name. Almost all third-generation
ECs have a f‌ire button and are therefore mainly manual.
th Generation (Sub Ohm Mods): More powerful mods allow for
large puf‌f volumes and are capable of producing vape clouds.
th Generation (Pods): The most popular vaping devices include
JUUL and come with a f‌ixed voltage. The f‌ifth-generation devices
typically look like laser pointers or, in the case of JUUL, like a USB
f‌lash drive. In fact, a JUUL EC can be recharged by plugging it into
 | Wigmore on Nicotine and Its Drug Delivery Systems
Reference Number: 
a computer port. Vaping with JUUL and many other podbrands is
totally automatic with no buttons to push, and the devices contain
small, replaceable, f‌lavored liquid nicotine pods which contain a
greater volume of e-liquid than cig-a-likes. JUUL can deliver more
nicotine than a conventional cigarette and it is easier to stealth vape
in schools or other public institutions than it is to smoke a cigarette.
The trend in ECs has been to have stronger batteries and coils, which
vaporize the e-liquid at higher temperatures to provide a greater hit of
nicotine (). There are now more than  brands of ECs and ,
types of f‌lavored e-liquids ().
ECs were marketed by the tobacco industry as a safer method of
obtaining nicotine, which is how low tar f‌ilter cigarettes were marketed
in the s and s in order to prevent smokers from quitting ().
Large tobacco companies now own over half of the EC market ().
ECs, however, require more suction and stronger puf‌fs than cigarettes
and allow toxic aerosols (e.g., silver, iron, aluminum, chromium, and
nickel from the heating coils) to enter deeper into the lungs ().
Philip Morris International has funded an institute ($ billion over
 years) with the deceptive name of “Foundation for a Smoke-Free
World,” which is basically a front group for the promotion of nicotine in
all other forms but smoking ().
The slow response of regulators to the new ENDS allowed the ciga-
rette companies the déjà vu of advertising to youth just like they did in
the s and s, linking vaping with freedom, rebellion, youth, and
glamor and using cartoon f‌igures (, –). Some vaping ads
have even had endorsement from physicians, just as cigarette ads did
The tobacco industry has promoted the incorrect factoid that vaping
is % safer than cigarette smoking ().
Reference Number: 
, .., . ,  .. . “Philip Morris Research on Pre-
cursors to the Modern E-Cigarette Since .Tobacco Control, :
e–e,  ( tables,  f‌igures,  references)
Abstract: Although the invention of the e-cigarette is often credited to
the Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik in , researchers at Philip Morris
(PM) described a device in  that included a heater, which would
be activated when the device was puf‌fed on. A printhead would spray a

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