Find out all about e-cigarettes, what they are, how they are similar to cigarettes and how they affect you.
What are e-cigarettes?
E-cigarettes, unlike regular cigarettes, don’t have any tobacco in them. They have liquid nicotine inside, and the user ‘smokes’ or ‘vapes’ this nicotine. Vapors are also released from the device, making it look as if you are actually smoking.
Although e-cigarettes don’t have the harmful toxins that tobacco does, they still contain nicotine which is a highly addictive substance. It’s also unclear what the effects of vaping on the body are, but it is potentially less harmful than tobacco smoke.
Can I vape anywhere since they aren’t real cigarettes?
There is no specific law stating you can’t – however most places feel that because they look like real cigarettes, this may encourage people to believe it is okay to smoke traditional tobacco cigarettes, and therefore don’t allow them.
It’s really up to the business to decide, so it’s much safer to ask before using the device.
Are they safe for me to use?
The Scottish Government's new Health Bill has banned under-18s from buying e-cigarettes.
The new rules make it illegal for young people to buy tobacco and nicotine vapour products (NVPs) and anyone buying NVPs for those underage will also be breaking the law.
E-cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance. It is often this part of smoking that people find hardest to give up – this is why many smokers use nicotine patches to help them quit. They give out a certain dose of the substance, and the user gradually uses less as they quit.
The issue is that e-cigarettes aren’t subject to medicinal regulation, so each device can have a different combination of ingredients and strength.
What e-cigarettes should be used for is an alternate way to quit smoking, and not be something people take up.
E-cigarettes are an electronic device, so if you do use them you have to be safe. There have been a number of instances of fires breaking out due to people not charging them correctly.
- follow the instructions provided carefully
- make sure they aren't left charging for long periods of time
- don't leave them plugged in overnight or when you're out the house
- avoid buying counterfeit goods
- switch off appliances at the socket when not in use
Find out more about cigarettes at Choices for Life.