Vaping products are available in many different forms. Some are designed to look like cigarettes, some are the size of a USB or pen, and others are much larger and may be modifiable. They also often contain a wide range of flavourings.
Most vaping devices consist of a:
- Heating element
- Chamber (a tank or reservoir to contain a liquid solution)
Vaping products produce an aerosol by heating an e-liquid that usually contains flavourings, nicotine, and chemicals such as vegetable glycerine and propylene glycol. As stated by Health Canada, these chemicals “are considered safe for use in products such as cosmetics and sweeteners. However, the long-term safety of inhaling the substances in vaping products is unknown and continues to be assessed.” The aerosol is inhaled by users through a mouthpiece and is then absorbed into the bloodstream.
The e-liquid and aerosol can contain other substances that are potentially harmful to users and bystanders, including:
- Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs
- Diacetyl, a chemical found in flavourings, that can lead to "popcorn lung disease"
- Volatile organic compounds
- Cancer-causing chemicals
- Heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis
- Vitamin E acetate, a filler ingredient in some THC vapes that has been linked to the outbreak of lung illness in the United States
The long-term health effects of inhaling these substances are not yet fully understood.
Vaping products are legal for sale in B.C. for those 19 years of age and over. However, these products may cause health risks and have not been fully evaluated for safety or quality by Health Canada.