E-Cigarette FAQ

What are e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are electronic devices designed to work like cigarettes. Some are also designed to look like cigarettes. E-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco, and there is no combustion involved. E-cigarettes produce clouds that look like fog or smoke, but are composed of fine particles of liquid containing flavourings and may contain nicotine. Without the combustion (burning) of tobacco and paper, there are many obvious advantages of e-cigarettes. The main advantage is a lack of the toxic chemicals that are produced when tobacco is burned.

How do e-cigarettes work?
E-cigarettes use either a cartridge or tank, filled with a liquid containing a mixture of vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG), combined with approved food-grade flavourings, and liquid nicotine. The liquid mixture is called e-liquid or e-juice (may be shortened to just “juice“).

The e-liquid absorbs onto a wick that brings it in contact with a coil. A battery is used to power the coil. When the user inhales, the coil heats the e-liquid to produce fine particles that look like fog or smoke. This process is called atomization, but for simplicity the smoke-like cloud of fine particles of VG and PG is referred to a “vapour“. When the vapour is inhaled, the flavourings produce a pleasing taste and the nicotine is absorbed through the lungs in a similar manner to cigarettes, satisfying the user’s addiction.

A wide range of designs of e-cigarettes are available. The original and simplest designs have the shape and size of regular cigarettes, and automatically produce vapour when the user inhales. Other designs use larger batteries and tanks, and require a button press to energize the coil to produce the vapour.

What is the difference between "smoking" and "vaping"?
Smoking refers to the inhalation of smoke from a regular burning cigarette. Vaping refers to the inhalation of a fog-like mist of fine VG/PG particles produced by an e-cigarette. Technically the process of producing a liquid mist is called atomization, but for simplicity the smoke-like cloud of particles is referred to a vapour. So people who use e-cigarettes are referred to as vapers, not smokers.
Are e-cigarettes satisfying for smokers?
For a large percentage of smokers, e-cigarettes are very satisfying. The reasons are:
1) nicotine is inhaled and satisfies the smokers’ craving / addiction
2) various flavours are available, which enhance the vaping experience
3) various e-cigarette devices are available, allowing the user to customize their experience
Can I get e-cigarettes with nicotine in Canada?

Liquids containing nicotine for e-cigarettes are legal in Canada.

Are e-cigarettes safer than regular cigarettes?
Extensive research has been conducted on e-cigarettes. From this research it appears that e-cigarettes are very safe. However, since the e-cigarette industry is unregulated, there are many products on the market. Some are cheaply made and some have poor designs that may cause harm. Research also shows variability in the quality of e-liquids, as they are also unregulated. Also, doctor-written educational guides explaining the correct use of e-cigarettes are not commonly available. Vape-MD has resolved all of these concerns for smokers who are interested in making the change to e-cigarettes, and for vapers who are not satisfied with the safety or quality of the devices they are currently using.
What safety standards does Vape-MD comply with?
Vape-MD supplies devices and e-juices made by Smoking Vapor and their affiliate companies only. SV products are manufactured in FCC, CE, SGS, RoHS, and ISO 9001 certified facilities. SV e-juices are manufactured from USP-grade ingredients. SV e-juices are also tested by an independent accredited lab. In addition, Vape-MD conducts emission testing of SV juices vaped in SV devices. This is an industry first in Canada. This additional testing is done to ensure a very high level of consumer confidence in SV products, and to meet the requirements of upcoming federal legislation.
Do e-cigarettes cause cancer, heart disease and other serious health problems?
So far, there is no data to show that e-cigarettes cause cancer. Long-term data is not yet available, since e-cigarettes have not been around for as long as regular cigarettes. Many e-cigarettes contain nicotine, but nicotine is not a carcinogen, and does not cause heart disease, strokes, or other serious health problems. Only if a nicotine overdose is taken, it can cause various health issues.

Recently new data has been published that suggests nicotine can “promote cancer growth”, in other words, that nicotine can increase the growth of cancer already present in the body. In the opinion of Vape-MD doctors, this data is meaningless since the lab studies used nicotine doses that are at least 10 times higher than the normal doses taken by smokers! Such doses would be lethal if taken by any person, so this data cannot be used to imply anything about the potential for nicotine to promote cancer growth in humans.

On the other hand, there is clear evidence of a massive amount of harm caused by regular cigarettes, including, but not limited to causing cancer. Regular cigarettes cause cancer because cigarette smoke contains hundreds of dangerous chemicals (carcinogens).

E-cigarettes do not produce smoke because there is no combustion. The vapours from various e-cigarettes have been tested in multiple published studies, and have been shown to produce either no detectable carcinogens, or tiny amounts that are generally considered unimportant. However, research also shows that some poorly designed e-cigarettes can produce carcinogens, because they may burn the liquids contained in the e-cigarette. Research also shows that improper use of e-cigarettes can produce carcinogens, because the user can burn the wick if they don’t understand the correct way to use their device (for example by vaping with minimal e-liquid in the device). This is called a “dry hit”.

Vape-MD has addressed these issues by providing Canadians with premium US-designed SV e-cigarettes that are quality-controlled and emission-tested, and with educational guidelines designed by our doctors explaining the proper use of these safety-tested devices.

I see reports about exploding batteries on the internet. Is this real?
E-cigarettes contain batteries which can overheat or explode if they are misused or abused. But many devices that you use on a daily basis also contain batteries that can explode, yet you probably never gave it a second thought. For example, a TV remote control, a hearing aid, a wireless mouse or a cellular phone. Modern SV e-cigarettes (and other battery-powered devices) contain circuitry to prevent battery overheating or explosion. SV e-cigarettes have extensive safety features like overuse time cutoff, overheating cutoff, and short-circuit cutoff which make them safer than many battery-powered consumer devices!

Also, you should be aware that competing industries may be helping to spread old news about rare e-cigarette battery explosions, to make it look like a common occurrence. This may frighten smokers away from e-cigarettes and encourage them to spend money on regular cigarettes or nicotine patches / gums instead.

What is "popcorn lung"? Do e-cigarettes cause "popcorn lung"?
The medical term for “popcorn lung” (or “popcorn worker’s lung”) is bronchiolitis obliterans. This is a lung disease in which the small air passages in the lungs become narrow or blocked due to inflammation and scarring. Popcorn lung causes chronic cough and shortness of breath. This condition was first documented in the 1990’s in people who worked in microwave popcorn factories. Popcorn lung is caused by inhalation of the butter flavouring chemical diacetyl (chemical name: 2,3 butanedione, formula: CH3COCOCH3) which is used to manufacture butter-flavoured popcorn.

Vape-MD only supplies premium e-juices made by SV and their affiliate companies. None of these e-liquids contain diacetyl. We advise caution in choosing e-liquids by other manufacturers, if it is not clear whether they are diacetyl-free.

To read more about diacetyl and popcorn lung, we have complied a few freely distributable scientific articles:

Diacetyl Effects on Human Airway Epithelial Cells
Flavouring Chemicals in E-Cigarettes
Bronchiolitis Oblilterans in Popcorn Workers

Why are e-cigarettes so controversial?
E-cigarettes are considered a “disruptive technology“. They disrupt the current cigarette industry and also the nicotine replacement drug industry, because they are highly effective replacements for regular cigarettes. E-cigarettes can provide a rapid “hit” of nicotine through the lungs, which is totally unlike nicotine gums and patches. Naturally, those who stand to lose business as a result of the increasing acceptance of e-cigarettes will not support e-cigarettes, and may go even farther to attempt to scare smokers away from them. Other businesses or even charitable organizations that are heavily supported financially by any of these industries may also take a negative position against e-cigarettes.
Why is the government trying to stop e-cigarettes sales?

We believe that governments seek to enhance public safety by putting regulations in place for the following reasons:

1) to prevent non-smokers from starting to use e-cigarettes
2) to prevent young adults from starting to use e-cigarettes
3) to block the sale of poor quality e-cigarettes

Vape-MD doctors believe it is important to regulate the use of e-cigarettes in a manner that promotes public health and safety. However, current legislation appears to also be carefully designed to discourage smokers from transitioning away from regular cigarettes. It is possible that competing industries (nicotine patch and gum manufacturers) are providing substantial “incentives” to various levels of government to encourage them to block smokers from choosing e-cigarettes. A perfect example is the active promotion of safe injection sites in Toronto. The Public Health Department strongly supports safe injection sites as a harm reduction tool for iv drug users, yet curiously favours strict limits on the use of e-cigarette as a cigarette harm reduction tool for smokers. Since it is well known that cigarettes cause far more harm to the population than iv drugs, this hypocritical decision suggests there are other motivating factors for the anti e-cigarette stance, that have nothing to do with science.

It is also well known that governments have a history of themselves being addicted to tobacco tax revenue, which is higher than sales tax revenue from e-cigarettes. This may be a big factor for supporting the cigarette industry, while working against the e-cigarette industry.

What is not common knowledge is that the Canadian government receives a percentage of the gross revenue from the sales of new drug products (like nicotine patches and gums) once they are approved for sale. The same applies to costly drugs used to treat cancer. These drugs can range in price from $5,000 to $10,000 per person per month in many cases! If most smokers transition to e-cigarettes and the cancer rates drop, the pharmaceutical industry will lose substantial revenue, and the government’s percent of that revenue will also be lost. This clear conflict of interest may be a factor in the government’s support for the drug industry over the e-cigarette industry.

I enjoy my cigarettes, why should I even consider trying e-cigarettes?

We find that smokers enjoy the experience of vaping when transitioning over to high quality e-cigarettes, with suitable nicotine levels. There are many benefits to making the transition. High quality e-cigarettes are not known to have serious side effects, unlike regular cigarettes. Even if smokers are not concerned about improving their well-being, there is a significant cost saving from making the change. From that standpoint alone, smokers should explore e-cigarettes.

Vape-MD is the first Canadian doctor-developed website that helps educate and guide smokers to make the transition from regular cigarettes.

I don't smoke, should I try e-cigarettes?
E-cigarettes are not designed to be recreational devices for non-smokers. However, if you are a non-smoker who has already decided to start vaping, zero-nicotine devices are relatively safe. See our Social Smoker web page for more information.
I only smoke socially, should I try e-cigarettes?
Yes you should definintely take a close look at e-cigarettes! Please go to our educational web page which is designed specifically for social smokers.
I smoke regularly throughout the day, should I try e-cigarettes?
Yes you should definintely take a close look at e-cigarettes! Please go to our educational web page and choose the category that best fits with your pattern of smoking.
How do I choose an e-cigarette or e-liquid?
It is difficult for us to advise on the selction of e-cigarette devices and juices. The reason is that there are hundreds of products on the market in Canada and no safety standardization. This is the reason Vape-MD only carries premium products from Smoking Vapor and a small number of affiliated companies. We have created a detailed guide to assist with the selection of SV products. This can be accessed from the main Vape-MD web page by choosing the category that is the best fit for you.