There is an unfortunate, narrow-minded outlook associated with the E-cigarette industry as it exists today, and this particular narrow-mindedness is preventing certain advancements from taking place. Since the typical E-cigarette is utilized in a very similar way to traditional, analog cigarettes, the current view is that E-cigarettes must be used as a method of nicotine delivery; a harm reduction device for addicts of tobacco smoking. But take away the nicotine and the aesthetic relationship to analogs and what do you have? You have an effective and healthy method of bodily-substance-intake.
Let’s leave the nicotine out of the equation for a second. There are already a few E-liquid companies out there that offer B-12 and ginseng liquids for health-friendly energizing of the body. These vitamins have been mixed in with a Red Bull-flavored juice, to give potential customers a point of reference for the type of effect they are going to experience from the vaping of that particular product. Another company, Ecigsunlimited.com, is offering an E-liquid that not only contains ginseng and B vitamins, but also vitamins A, C, and E.
Obviously, there would have to be some research done to determine how much of the vitamins, emulsified in the E-juice vapor, is actually absorbed by the lungs. It would also be useful to know which vitamins can be suspended in glycerine vapor, and which ones can’t (possibly because they are too heavy, etc.) Currently, there is a bit of controversy and not a small amount of speculation on whether or not vitamins can even be metabolised through the lungs. Even E-cigarette enthusiasts are sceptical about their precious alternative nicotine delivery systems being used for the delivery of substances other than nicotine. Their worries are not completely unreasonable, either. Many members of popular online vaper-hangout site, E-Cigarette Forum, suggest that vitamin-based E-juices could open the entire industry to possible regulations from numerous angles, instead of the already feared tobacco product regulations that loom on the horizon. Pharmaceutical regulations could come into play in these cases. However, having worked a retail position at CVS Pharmacy/Drug Store, I have had plenty of opportunities to peruse the Vitamin section of the store, and I can tell you that almost all of the vitamin bottles display a “not tested by the FDA” message on their labels… so why should E-cigarette-delivered vitamins be different just because they enter the body in a way that looks similar to the smoking of a tobacco cigarette?
There are some preconceptions that we need to deal with here. We have been conditioned, thanks to the tobacco industry and more than a few deadly results of using tobacco products, that ingestion through inhalation is necessarily a bad thing. There already exist examples of how the previous statement in inaccurate. Think of asthma inhalers. They enter the body through the lungs, and they are necessary for the survival of asthma sufferers. Maybe we could stop referring to E-cigarettes as E-cigarettes and start calling them vapor-inhalers (a much more accurate name) instead? And instead of fearing the expansion of inhalation science because of the possibility of regulation, or the potential of inaccurate or non-existent vitamin delivery, why not research the possibilities further? Do we give up because we haven’t found an answer yet to something that is still in it’s extreme infancy? Or do we press on and study harder until we find ways to make it happen?
So, in order to bring us into the future of inhalation science (I think we’ve just coined a new term here) there are a few tasks we need to accomplish, or at the very least begin working on. First, let’s consider phasing out the use of the term E-cigarette in lieu of something more descriptive, like ‘vapor delivery system’ or ‘vapor inhalation device.’ This will do two things… First, it will help to draw that distinguishing line between E-cigs and analog cigs, alleviating many of the potential problems we are facing currently and second, it will be more descriptive of what is actually taking place during the vaping process, allowing future innovators to proceed unhindered by negative terminology.
No matter what we do with the changing of industry jargon, or how much expansive, redefining research we do over the next few years, the future of vapor delivery technologies is in the hands of the policy-makers right now. Let’s just hope that there are enough open-minds in that group (not to mention uncorrupted) to give this exciting new health-supporting technology a real chance.