When is a cigarette not a cigarette?


E-Cigarette also known as vapes and vaping was first developed in 2014 in China and came to the UK a few years later.

How do they work? An e-cigarette is a nicotine delivery system which despite the name, do not burn or contain tobacco but most do contain nicotine; the addictive ingredient in tobacco. An e-cigarette is powered by battery which heats up and vaporises the e-liquid which contains the nicotine and/or fruit flavour. When the user inhales a heating coil is activated and subsequently vaporises the liquid creating a mist or vapour that can be inhaled.

Are they safe? E-cigarettes aren’t completely risk free but carry a small fraction of the risk of smoking and are helping thousands of smokers to quit and stay smokefree.

Second hand smoke Public Health England state ‘there is no evidence of harm to bystanders from exposure to e-cigarette vapour and the risks to their health are likely to be extremely low’.

Children and young people’s awareness and experimentation with e-cigarettes is increasing but regular use is rare and most common with those who do or have smoked.

The Law The legal age to buy an e-cigarette is 18 years. It is against the law to sell to anyone under this age or for an adult to purchase for anyone under 18 years.

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Water Pipes

Water pipes (also known as hookah, narghiles, shisha or hubble-bubble pipes) consist of a head, body, water bowl and hose. Tobacco, often flavoured with fruits and sugar syrup, is placed in the head and covered with perforated foil. Burning charcoal is placed on top of the foil.

The bowl is filled with water (submerging a tube for the smoke). Sucking on the hose creates a vacuum above the water causing the smoke to pass through the water producing bubbles and the familiar ‘hubble-bubble’ sound.

Some people mistakenly believe that the water filters out harmful substances in the tobacco smoke before it is inhaled. This is not true and water pipe smoking delivers addictive nicotine in just the same way as a cigarette.

Water pipe users have an increased risk of cancer of the lungs, mouth and bladder compared to non-smokers. It is also associated with cardiovascular disease and respiratory disorders.

Smokeless tobacco

Another form of ingesting tobacco doesn’t involve ‘smoking’ at all.

Chewing tobacco is popular with some ethnic groups. Tobacco is combined with other ingredients to form a packet or ‘quid’. Betel pepper leaf used as the wrapping has a mint flavour and is relatively harmless, however the tobacco contained inside is not.

A ready-made mixture known as gutka is marketed amongst some ethnic minorities and looks appealing to children, as are bidis. Bidis are small, thin, unfiltered cigarettes which are cheaper than western style cigarettes and are often flavoured with cardamom, chocolate and strawberry.

Over 90% of oral cancer patients use tobacco either by smoking or chewing.

Cannabis cigarettes

The drug cannabis has doubled in strength every decade since the 1960’s.

Of the 7000 individual studies examining the dangers of cannabis, not one has concluded that the drug is safe.

Compared to regular cigarettes, cannabis cigarettes contain five times the quantity of carbon monoxide and four times the quantity of tar.