What is vaping and is it safe?


Doctors have said people should regard e-cigarettes as safer than tobacco at their “peril” after a 16-year-old boy suffered “catastrophic” respiratory failure thought to have been caused by vaping.

– What is vaping?

Vaping involves using electronic-cigarettes or other devices to inhale a vapour which often contains nicotine and flavourings but not tobacco.

– Will it help me quit cigarettes?

Studies suggest that vaping may be a useful aid to quitting regular cigarettes and many smokers use them as part of their efforts to stop smoking.

– Is vaping safe?

The jury is still out.

Public Health England (PHE) and many other health bodies say vaping is much, much safer than cigarette smoking and smokers should switch to e-cigarettes.

However, studies suggest vaping in itself can cause damage to the lungs, heart and other tissue.

Long-term studies on the risks are not yet available.

– How many people vape?

A survey in September by the charity Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) suggests an estimated 3.6 million people in the UK are currently vaping, up from 3.2 million in 2018.

– What about the US?

The US authorities have taken a much harder stance against vaping than regulators in the UK.

President Donald Trump has said he will raise the legal vaping age to 21 “or so”, while officials are preparing a ban on flavoured e-cigarettes.

This follows reports of deaths and lung injury from vaping, although some cases are thought to be caused by inhaling cannabis.