Experts reassure that UK vapers are safe thanks to stringent regulation after fears have arisen around the safety of vaping as 6 people in the United States die from severe respiratory illness.
There have been no reported illnesses linked to vaping in the UK.
Martin Dockrell, head of Tobacco Control at Public Health England, said reports suggest that the majority of cases in the US are linked to illicit vaping fluid, bought on the streets or homemade, some containing the cannabis product THC or synthetic cannabinoids like ‘Spice’.
The Washington Post have reported that the FDA have stated that ’nothing unusual’ has been found in the nicotine-containing e-liquids that have been submitted to officials.
“Unlike the US, all e-cigarette products in the UK are tightly regulated for quality and safety by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and they operate the yellow card scheme, encouraging vapers to report any bad experiences.” Martin said.
The Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), an EU law transposed in the UK as TRPR or Tobacco and Related Product Regulations, has a strict list of banned ingredients which includes anything with carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic properties, formaldehyde, Diacetyl and many more. There is an obligation to conduct emissions tests and create full toxicological dossiers on all nicotine-containing e-liquids. This information must be submitted to the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency before the product can be placed on the market. This ensures customers can have complete faith in the products that they are purchasing.
Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of the health charity Action on Smoking and Health, said that no serious side-effects have been reported in the UK to date, and added: “In Britain, you can check on the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) website whether the product you’re using has been notified and can be legally sold.”
Professor Linda Bauld, a public health expert at Edinburgh University, further backed the point. “It seems highly unlikely that widely available nicotine-containing vaping products, particularly of the type regulated in Europe, are causing these cases,” she said. “All the evidence to date suggests that illicit marijuana vaping products (THC oils) are the cause. In particular, a compound called tocopherol acetate (Vitamin E acetate) may be the culprit.”
On September 5th, the New York State Dept of Health stated, “Laboratory test results showed very high levels of vitamin E acetate in nearly all cannabis-containing samples analysed by the Wadsworth Center as part of this investigation. At least one vitamin E acetate containing vape product has been linked to each patient who submitted a product for testing”.
Paul Aveyard, a professor of behavioural medicine at the University of Oxford said: “…advice from all official bodies in the UK is that it is always preferable to vape than to smoke. These reports should not change that advice.”