Quite a stir was caused when the Oxford English Dictionary named “vaping” as its word of the year in 2014.
Usually new words don’t get people so excited – after all this is the era of selfies, twerking and the Internet – but vaping is still a controversial subject.
Almost every week there is a newspaper running a front-page article warning how dangerous vaping is.
This is very unfortunate, since although there are around three million individuals in the UK who vape, for most of the rest of the population it is still a big mystery.
So what is vaping exactly?
It is basically a substitute for smoking.
Rather than inhaling toxic smoke that comes from burning tobacco, what vapers do instead is inhale vapour that comes from an electronic cigarette, or e-cig for short.
An electronic cigarette is a device usually comprised of a mouthpiece, tank containing liquid, a heating coil and battery.
When you push the main ‘fire’ button of the device is pressed to activate it that causes the coil to heat up and then some of the liquid contained in the tank is vaporized.
You’d then inhale this vapour via the mouthpiece.
Not all e-cigs have a fire button. Many cig-a-likes and vape pen devices simply require you to inhale the device to activate the heating of the atomiser.
What vaping isn’t is smoking.
A person who vapes is not “still smoking” just because they are using nicotine still. Is somebody who chews Nicorette gum smoking? No, of course they’re not.
Smoking involves inhaling smoke, and you don’t do that when you vape.
The vapour coming from the mouthpiece may look like smoke, however, it isn’t because nothing is burning.
What it is instead is tiny droplets and vapour made up of four ingredients: nicotine, flavouring, glycerine (food additive) and propylene glycol (food additive).