Understanding the risks behind ecig-juices

A lot of the current mainstream media’s fascination with the health risks of electronic cigarettes turn on 2 things. First, they make a big deal out of this almost statistically insignificant chances of ecigs blowing up. This, of course, is due to bad battery design or bad overall construction.

While this does happen, this takes place so rarely that you can’t help but wonder why the media is making a big deal out of such tragedies. Of course, one battery explosion is one too many. But let’s keep things in perspective.

Your chances of suffering serious harm from an electronic cigarette blowing up around you are way less than you getting killed in a car accident. You can take that statistical comparison to the bank. 

The other issue that the media seems to obsess about is the recent reports coming out of the European Union as well as preliminary indications in the United States regarding the overall safety of ecig juices or e-juices. 

These are, of course, the liquids that you put in a cartridge to vaporize using an electronic cigarette. Ecigs create an aerosol water vapor from the mixture of liquids inside these cartridges. The media has distorted the health consequences of using e-juices. 

There are certain problems regarding this media portrayal. Please understand that I’m not trying to downplay the risks. I’m not trying to trick people into thinking that these risks somehow, someway, do not exist. I’m not going to explain that these risks are somehow illusions. They’re not.

There is some statistical reality to them. They have to be confronted. They definitely have to be addressed. But you have to pay close attention to what the media is doing so you can see the risk in its proper perspective.

It is my understanding and my belief that the risks behind e-juices or e-liquids, as significant as they may be currently, is going to be temporary. What do I mean by this? Well, as the electronic cigarette industry continues to grow and evolve over time, the market will start to prefer other products.

Remember that any new product that enters the market is going to have a lot of risks. When the first iPhones came out, they weren’t all that good. A lot of them bent. A lot of them didn’t work properly. But people still kept buying iPhones and the technology finally leveled up.

The same goes for airbags. Did you know that the first generation of airbags had very rough exteriors that when they deploy, they actually cut up your face? Well, now you don’t hear those complaints anymore.

My point is that as markets evolve, consumer expectations, as well as market competition, serve to put tremendous upward pressure on quality. This is going to happen no matter what. Unfortunately, all the hand holding in the world that’s happening now regarding the perceived dangers of e-liquids and ecig juices really do the vaping public a great disservice. How come?

Well, a study from Britain shows that when people are trying to quit smoking, switching to an electronic cigarette is a great first step. You’re subjecting yourself to fewer risks. After all, you’re not burning plant materials. You’re not creating tar when you smoke.

This is a big deal because if you’ve ever seen tar, and this is the black sticky stuff that they put on the road when they’re paving roads, you can see the health issues there. Imagine painting that stuff in the sensitive inner lining of your lungs.

Your lungs are mostly made out of the water. It’s very spongy tissue. That’s how sensitive your lungs are. Can you imagine putting tar into that area of your body? This is why the lungs of smokers look very disgusting compared to the lungs of non-smokers.

When these people are autopsied after their deaths, smoker’s lungs stand out. They’re almost black. That’s due primarily to tar. It’s very easy to see the health risks there. In fact, you can see them a mile away. 

The same issue doesn’t play out when people are using e-liquids. You’re creating an aerosol. You’re not burning anything. You’re definitely not creating tar. This alone should get people to sit up and pay attention to the major health improvements and benefits electronic cigarettes bring to the table.

But unfortunately, the debate about electronic cigarettes has been clouded (no pun intended) by the focus on current formulations of ecig juices.

The problem is the media focus on current e-juice formulations

The problem with looking at products as they exist at a certain period of time is the tendency for people to think that the product will never evolve. If this is our mindset about product dangers, then why aren’t people still obsessing about the Model T Ford’s risk factors?

Why aren’t people worrying themselves sick about the dangers of riding in an old pre-jet aged propeller driven airplane? People aren’t obsessing about these because the technology has changed. The technology has changed because consumer pressures have made sure that the technology keeps up with consumer demand.

A lot of this current hysteria regarding e-juices and e-liquids simple miss the forest from the trees. They think that electronic cigarettes are somehow, someway, immune to consumer demand as well as product evolution. 

Well, as long as a product is being sold in an open market and people are free to make up their minds, you can bet that consumer trends and consumer preferences will play a major roll in how products are formulated, marketed and positioned. 

That’s never going to go away. This is just basic marketing 101. This is also a basic product design. Unfortunately, the media is completely clueless about this. They do a good job of pretending that somehow, someway, the e-liquids being sold now will be the same e-liquids sold a dozen years from now. 

They don’t make any room for product evolution. They don’t make any room for the possibility that consumers themselves would prefer different e-liquid formulations. Granted. It’s very scary. Some of the ingredients in e-liquids are very scary.

After all, it’s the wild wild west out there when it comes to electronic cigarette accessories manufacturing. There are many manufacturers out there. There are many brands and a lot of them have different formulations.

Still, there seems to be an industry standard and some compounds in the typical e-liquid formulation should make consumers want to speak up. This doesn’t mean that they should be panicked. This doesn’t mean that they should head for the hills. They should just speak up and ask questions regarding why certain compounds are used more often than other compounds.

In other words, the consumer and manufacturer dialogue regarding proper product formulation and design is still in its infancy. But keep in mind that ultimately, it’s the consumers that will drive product evolution. Not the other way around.

Media doesn’t get this. If the market simply is not going to react favorably to certain “standard formulations” the e-liquids will change. They have to. Otherwise, people won’t buy them. It’s that simple. 

Sadly, the media is clueless regarding this. They think that just because certain dubious or potentially risky compounds are included in the typical e-juice or e-liquid formulation that this formula will remain the same for all time. 

The idea, of course, is to set up this formula as some sort of permanent market fixture so regulators can step in. The idea is if regulators see certain compounds in e-juice, then it didn’t make sense to ban electronic cigarettes because they’re incapable of vaporizing formulations that may be healthier for you.

But this is the blind spot regulators suffer from. They simply discount market innovation. They simply refuse to see the history of product evolution because as I’ve mentioned above, a lot of the products that we take for granted now in terms of health and safety actually were quite risky when they first came out. 

There was always a risk that the product will blow up, cause injuries or cause some sort of harm. But that didn’t prevent people from buying the product. Instead, when the market expanded, there was massive competitive pressure that built up to reward manufacturer who came up with safer products.

Sure, there were lawsuits along the way and there may have been quite a number of regulatory interventions. Still, in terms of the broad arch of the product evolution story, it really all boiled down to the market.

Let the market work when it comes to e-juice safety

The bottom line is once the word comes out that certain brands of e-juice and e-liquid are less safe or less optimal for people, there will be tremendous pressure on those brands. You can bet that if those companies want to stay in business, they will find a way, any way, to come up with something more natural, something safer and more affordable.

In other words, they’ll come up with a product that would somehow meet the needs of their target market while at the same time, meeting other needs like affordability, taste and scent. In other words, the market will take care of itself.

I know that sounds a bit naive. It may seem overly optimistic. But I have the weight of history going for me. You only need to look at how other products in a wide range of product verticals and industries evolve over time.

It’s not like some group of lawyers came up with this magic formula for an ultra-safe product. That never happened. Instead, these products tended to evolve based on this intricate dance with consumer demand, consumer feedback, and consumer intelligence.

At the end of the day, the customers came. If you come up with a product that you think is the best thing since sliced bread but nobody busy it, guess what? Your product is worthless. You’re better off not making that product.

It doesn’t matter how much time you put in. It definitely doesn’t matter how much labor you put in. Your product is worth exactly $0. That’s how markets work. Don’t underestimate this powerful internal self-correcting mechanism when it comes to new industries like electronic cigarettes.

Sure, our industry is fast growing. We have recently breached the 1 billion dollar sales mark. According to many estimates, the market is set to double sooner rather than later. This is a good sign because this means that there’s a tremendous amount of product maturation, research and development and consumer education and awareness going on.

Eventually, all these factors will line up to produce safer, more affordable and yes, more profitable products for the long term.