When determining what chemicals in E-liquids are dangerous we would need to first figure what is exactly in the ingredients. Vape juice is a fairly simple concoction made up of generally 4 ingredients. 1. Vegetable Glycerin 2. Propylene Glycol 3. Nicotine 4. Natural or Artificial Flavoring.
Some e-juice contains either Vegetable Glycerin or Propylene Glycerin and some e-juices contain a mix of both depending on individual preference.
Nicotine
There have been many studies related to Nicotine. The first thing most of us are well aware of is that nicotine is highly addictive. According to Scientific AmericanThe faster the delivery system, the more addicting nicotine can be. Meaning the faster nicotine reaches the brain the possibility of addiction increases.
Scientific American compares nicotine like caffeine that is in coffee. Since nicotine when consumed increases heart rate and blood pressure. This can possibly lead to cardiovascular issues if high dosages are consumed for a long period of time. Similar to caffeine has been suggested to lead to cardiovascular problems also. There also have been studies that suggest nicotine to prevent Alzheimer’s and delay the onset of Parkinson’s disease.
There are also studies floating around that seem to be opponents of e-cigarettes since they stress their findings of nicotine muting cells which can possibly lead to cancer. These studies do seem to need more research because since they compare e-cigarettes mixed with fresh air and not with smoking and also using mice as test subjects. Mice are known to have nicotine affect them differently than humans. Keep in my mind nicotine has yet to be labeled as a carcinogenic.
Propylene Glycol
You may have come across PG in some juices but have you ever wondered what exactly this stuff is? PG is a synthetic solvent used in cleaning materials, asthma inhalers, makeup and of course some foods. Test have shown the e-liquids have very low traces to have an effect on you.
PG has been a popular choice for e-liquids because its temperature regulating, water retaining and bonding properties. Though PG is most commonly used some have reported irritation on the throat or at the very least a good hard throat hit. Keep in mind Propylene Glycol is FDA approved for human consumption. It has been widely tested by digesting PG but very little has been tested by consuming while inhaling vapors.
Vegetable Glycerin
Vegetable Glycerin is considered a hypo-allergenic which can be deemed helpful since there have been reports of some people being allergic to propylene glycol. As with PG the FDA considered VG to be safe for human consumption. It is also accepted that more test needs to be done for the consumption of VG by inhalation. Side effects of VG are dry mouth, increase thirst and sore throat. VG is also considered to be the most benign organic liquids known.
Natural/ Artificial Flavoring
I saved this section for the last part to talk about because I think it is the most important. Natural and artificial is relatively the same thing. Natural of course would mean derived from a natural source. Artificial would be mean the duplication of the natural source that has been created outside of nature. To achieve the same flavor as the natural flavor artificial flavors use the same molecules and that in essence is why I state it is relatively the same thing. Many e-juice manufacturers list their products as FDA approved “artificial” or “natural” flavor. That does not really don’t help much. FDA approved products are generally assumed the products are digestively consumed. As I mention before there is more that needs to be done for inhaling these products.
One common example is diacetyl. Diacetyl is most commonly used for the butter flavor used in popcorn. It is safe to eat but when inhaled in abundance can cause lung problems. The lung problem is known as “popcorn lung”. Another flavored compound that has shown signs to be harmful when heated is cinnamon extract. Here are some e-juices with terrific flavoring that don’t contain diacetyl or cinnamon extract for Juices Under 4 Bucks
Conclusion
After the countless articles and studies about e-liquids I have tried to express an unbiased opinion even though it seems to me those that scientist or doctors that do these studies generally have an agenda in either regulating or not regulating the e-juice side of this industry. IMO it is a positive thing that we have both sides which help us from being influenced by one extreme side or the other.
From what I gather nicotine has a bad stigma being associated with the traditional combustible cigarette. Everyone agrees that nicotine is addictive. It does cause changes in your cardiovascular system by increasing heart and blood rate. No one is really sure on the exact long-term effects because unlike traditional cigarettes e-juice does not contain all the additives and tar-like in a cigarette.
In its purest form and in high dosages of nicotine can result in nicotine poisoning. There have been reports of kids just eating one cigarette and causing nicotine poisoning. So please keep away any nicotine products away from children.
Generally, Vegetable Glycerin and Propylene Glycol are relatively safe since it is used in small dosages. FDA deems these ingredients safe for human consumption but more test are needed for consumption through vaporized liquids.
The huge question is when it comes to flavoring. There are many variables when it comes to flavoring but all flavors are FDA approved and tested for consumption. Again there does need to be more test when consuming vaporized liquids. There is no report to any health issues related to the use of e-liquids but studies have shown diacetyl and cinnamon extract to be harmful when taking in abundance.