Are e-cigarettes really a safer alternative to regular smoking?
Sales of e-cigarettes have tripled in the past three years after they were hailed as a safer alternative to regular smoking.
But perhaps they pose a more immediate danger than lung disease and cancer. Some e-cigs have exploded into flames.
Last night gran Jean Booth was fighting for life in Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, after her oxygen supply – she was recovering from a hip operation – was allegedly ignited by an e-cig on Friday.
Barmaid Laura Baty from Richmond, North Yorks, revealed last week how one left on charge behind her bar burst into flames, set light to her dress and singed her skin.
And firefighters have been called to house fires caused by exploding electronic substitutes, including one at a nursing home in Chesterfield that left a woman dead.
Some scientists, politicians and health campaigners fear the battery- powered cigarettes may undermine the smoking ban, tempt youngsters into smoking and represent a health risk in their own right.
Last summer the World Health Organization “strongly advised” against using e-cigs until they had been fully vetted. Spokesman Glenn Thomas said: “The science around the safety of e-cigarettes has not been demonstrated. A lot of the toxins which are consumed through e-cigarettes have not been adequately researched.”
Here’s the science bit. E-cigs store nicotine in a solution of glycerine and water called propylene glycol. When you inhale, a heating element steams up a vapour containing addictive nicotine and you suck it in through the mouthpiece.