There are a lot of scary stories flying around about how vaping is dangerous. About how it's corrupting the youth. Or the e-cigs are scary new technology that could hurt you. Or how vegetable glycerin and fruit flavor is somehow a 'dangerous mystery concoction'. But if that were true, then gummy candies would also be a dangerous mystery concoction with unknown far-reaching health implications.
The fact of the matter is that people say some crazy things about the 'safety concerns' of vaping. They're afraid for the children. They're afraid for your lungs. Really, they're just afraid of something new. As experienced vapers and artisan e-juice crafters who are 100% positive that our simple ingredients are no mystery, we can tell you that vaping is not nearly as dangerous as the fear myths make it out to be.
But, like anything, there are a few actual real-world safety concerns. They're just not that scary. In the interest of truth (and comedy), we're here today to share with you the real(ly insignificant) safety concerns of vaping.
BURNING YOURSELF ON THE ELEMENT
Okay, so the one definite thing we can say about vapes being dangerous is that they get hot. Of course, we trust everyone over the age of 18 to know what 'hot' feels like and not to press their fingers into scorchy metal when they feel it. So there's not a lot of risk here, but there is a tiny amount of risk.
So the thing is that vape pens don't just get hot on the inside where the coils are. If you press the button long enough, the entire base of you re-cig, pen, or mod box can uncomfortably hot on the outside. This isn't good for your fingertips, but let us tell you, it's not good for the vape pen either. If you can use normal self-control and let your vape cool off every few puffs, you'll be just fine.
And, for the truly clumsy of us out there, try not to drop your scorchy hot vape pen on your lap when wearing an insufficiency of pants. That really can sting!
YOUR DOG DRINKS THE E-JUICE
E-juice is not dangerous or scary either, despite the horror stories about witches brews and cancer. But you also shouldn't drink it. And even more importantly, you shouldn't let your dog (or any other pet) drink it. It's not because e-liquid is dangerous. Just that it's mostly made of oil.
What allows vape to create those satisfying clouds is vegetable oil (VG) not unlike what you would cook with on the stove. But you definitely wouldn't want to drink a whole glass of oil or you'll find yourself on the potty for a loooong time. And if your dog decides that vape smells awesome and somehow manages to lap up the contents? You don't want to think about the consequences but it won't be pretty.
Nicotine-free vape juice poses nothing more than a digestive challenge for people and pets.
EXPOSURE TO CONCENTRATED NICOTINE
But on a more serious note, concentrated nicotine is actually dangerous. In fact, it's the most dangerous thing about vaping but it's also one of the main health -benefits- of vaping. Ex-smokers have been using nicotine vape juice to save themselves from the physical harm of cigarettes while and to take complete control of their nicotine exposure. For those trying to quit, e-cigs are a medical device and the liquid is a medicine. An alternative to nicotine gum or arm patches.
Or you can look at it from the perspective of vaping recreationally, where nicotine e-liquid might be compared to alcohol. And like alcohol, you can buy it in concentrations from almost-none to real-kick.
Nicotine e-liquid has the same basic risk as both medicine and alcohol: Keep out of reach of pets and children. Yes, if your dog drank it or your toddler poured it over their head, they might get sick. Don't pour it over your own head, either. But the dangerous substance actually has nothing to do with the vaporizer or the e-liquid itself. Just the nicotine is a health hazard.
In thinking about this article, we realized that somewhere in there, the liquid is getting really hot and vaporizing. So there is probably a point where there is a really hot liquid that could burn someone if you somehow got to it. But in all our experience, the vapor is pleasantly warm to inhale and the liquid from a leaky pen is cool.
So we'll just issue a general warning not to touch hot atomizers or coils. And... don't stick your finger in the tank and hit the button.
SLIPPING ON SPILLED E-JUICE
A much more realistic risk for vapers is e-juice slipperiness. And all you experienced vapers out there will know what we're talking about. E-juice is mostly oil, which vaporizes into beautiful clouds but is really slick to the touch when it spills. And if you vape a lot, you'll eventually have spills. It's a statistical surety between pen leaks and dozens of bottles over years of happy vaping.
Vape juice cleans up really easily, you can usually wipe it up with water, glass cleaner, or isopropyl. Really, whatever cleaning stuff you have around and a cloth. But before you wipe it up, it's like a cartoon oil slick. Your hand could slip if you lean on a table e-juice spill. Your foot could slip if you step on a spill.
Since spills are both inevitable and slipper, we actually seriously caution vapers to notice and clean up spills as quickly as possible. Falling is dangerous.
COUGHING A HIT
There are many right ways to vape, but there are also definitely some wrong ones. And vaping wrong can be painful and, eventually, a health risk. The key to the perfect vape is finding the right temperature for your coils and e-liquid. You can do this with a box mod, atomizer and tank combinations, or by finding the right e-liquid for your e-cig.
But if you vape too hot for the coils or liquid, you'll get a harsh hit and the vapor will taste burnt. Hits are harsh because you've either burned the liquid or burned the coils, which puts burnt cotton particles into the vape. Both irritate your throat and can make you cough among other responses. Over time, vaping too hot could damage your throat, sinuses, and possibly your lungs.
But you'd have to be a pretty slow learner and ignore every 'how to vape' guide ever written to actually cause long-term damage.
Finally, a word on dehydration. Many brands of e-liquid are made with a PG base. The vapor from these e-liquids is safe, but it bonds with water molecules which effectively dehydrates you. This is why you may feel like you have dry mouth or sinuses after vaping. Or experience dehydration symptoms.
PG is Propylene Glycol which is an ingredient in plastic, cosmetics, and some foods. It's a synthetic material that is basically plastic but is very common in things like lotion. It's technically safe to eat, rub on your skin, and vape but it's not natural and it reacts strangely to water. If you vape e-liquids with PG, prepare to get dehydrated and drink lots of water while you vape.
Dehydration isn't very deadly but it can make you unfocused and have a slow negative effect on your health.
As you can see, there are some real-world risks to vaping. About as many as there are to a pair of scissors. So when you're customizing your rig and enjoying your delicious clouds, be careful not to burn yourself. Drink plenty of water. And keep the whole lot away from children and pets. But you probably already knew that.