We would guess that a few people might be expressing concerns about press reports of a single incident of serious illness that is evidently related to vaping. It is unfortunate that the truth does not sell many newspapers, and that all of the reports we have read or heard to date appear to be deliberately misleading.
The very first thing to note is that the incident occurred over 2 years ago, and is only being reported now. No similar incidents have been reported in the UK before or since, and with over 5 million vapers or ex-vapers residing in the UK, if the reported illness was related to vaping, it is incredibly rare.
The second thing to note is that the e-liquids that allegedly caused this highly unusual reaction have not been identified as UK regulated products. Had they been, the manufacturer was duty bound to make a full investigation, and to report their findings to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA). The manufacturer does not appear to have been identified, nor does the MHRA appear to have been alerted at the time of the incident.
Totally Wicked is fully compliant with all UK e-cigarette and e-liquid regulations. We have reporting systems in place that in the incredibly unlikely event that any harmful substance were discovered in e-liquid, the specific product would be removed from sale across our entire network within hours. Our painstaking work around toxicology and emissions testing mean that we do not ever expect to need to do this, but the systems are there, as we will never knowingly supply anything other than the safest products possible.
Lastly, we need to question what motivated the story given by the poor young fellow that got so ill he nearly died, of the medics that took over 2 years to report what they believed to be a case of an extremely harmful product being on the market, and of the media filter that leads to headlines that are nothing more than scaremongering. The last of these is easy, it gets attention focused on the media channels, and so sells newspapers.
Ewan admits that he was a cigarette smoker at the time he started vaping, and had previously smoked cannabis. Given the rapid onset of his condition, could it be possible that smoking may have been in any part responsible for his condition? The safety of vaping is often brought into question now, but there is no question about whether smoking is “dangerous”, it is just plain harmful, like stepping out in front of a moving bus. If you smoke for a lifetime, you stand more chance of dying from it than you do of anything else, and you have very little chance of dying healthy and of “natural causes”.
The medics involved are of most concern. They say that we consider e-cigarettes as much safer than tobacco “at our peril”. If, just by any slim chance, the e-liquids in question were responsible for a one in 5 million chance of serious illness, are they not safer than tobacco, which is responsible for almost 100,000 deaths, and half a million hospital admissions per year in the UK.
With a little simple maths, that puts vaping in the region of a million times less likely to lead to a hospital admission than smoking. There is no peril – it is just plain “much safer”.
Liam Humberstone – Technical Director, Totally Wicked