Blowing Smoke: The Risks of Essential Oil Vape
Due to the recent news stories over the last few months, you may have become aware of the recent controversies surrounding vaping and e-cigarette use. In September 2019, the CDC, FDA, and state and local health departments began investigating a multi-state outbreak of lung injuries associated with the use of vaping products and e-cigarettes. This drastic increase in vaping-related illnesses and issues has garnered a lot of attention from the public, and some states are even working to limit the availability of flavored e-cigarettes to spread the message of their harmful effects.
As vaping becomes more and more popular, it’s important to understand that the safety and long-term health effects of using e-cigarettes or vaping products are still unknown, and that many health organizations caution against the practice.
When you pair vaping’s rising popularity with the ongoing investigations of vaping-related illnesses (1,479 lung injury cases reported as of October 15, 2019), some individuals are choosing to vape essential oils in an attempt to enjoy vaping without the perceived health risks. As a company that is fully committed to the safety of our customers, our team at Rocky Mountain Oils would like to help provide more insight into the complexities of vaping and aromatherapy in order to help our customers understand the differences, risks, and possible alternatives to these activities.
What is Vaping, Exactly?
Vaping is the act of inhaling vapors consisting of fine and ultrafine particles. These vapors are usually made up of propylene glycol, glycerin, flavors, nicotine, additives, and differing amounts of contaminants. The exact composition of each e-liquid sold varies between and within every manufacturer.
When used, the vaping mechanism typically heats the e-liquid to an extreme temperature, which then turns the liquid into an inhalable aerosol. This inhalation, while considered to be less toxic than cigarettes, still contains harmful chemicals that are not free of toxins. Because these vaping products have not been on the market long enough for conclusive studies to be completed, the repercussions of long-term exposure to these chemicals are still unknown.
The Dangers of Vaping With Essential Oils
Numerous individuals have embraced the practice of vaping essential oils as a means to indulge in vaping without the potential adverse effects associated with certain e-juices. Regrettably, due to the lack of safety studies, determining the safety profile of essential oil vape remains a challenge, making it difficult to categorize its usage as either 'safe' or 'toxic.
Essential oils are extremely volatile organic compounds and can be incredibly dangerous when not used correctly. While many e-liquids are designed to reach temperatures of around 100-250°C (212 - 482°F), the chemical makeup of essential oils changes when heated to such high temperatures, which not only limits the health benefits of the oils, but can convert to abnormal compounds that can be incredibly dangerous and damaging to our nose, mouth, and lungs when inhaled.
Again, please remember that since there are no long-term studies in place, the health risks of directly inhaling essential oils through a vape are unknown. As a company fully dedicated to the safety of our customers, we do not recommend using essential oils in a vape, as this use can be incredibly dangerous.
Essential Oil Vape vs. Aromatherapy Diffusers: A Comparison
Though many might consider diffusing essential oils in a diffuser to be the same as vaping, the differences are quite outstanding. There are a few different types of diffusers available on the market, and each provides a different method for dispersing essential oils into the air. The most important thing to remember when using diffusers, however, is that they commonly use cold water to suspend micro-fine vapors into the air, which then spread evenly throughout a space.
This dissipation of essential oils in the air makes it great for aromatherapy purposes, as the essential oils themselves are diffused into the air via ultrasonic vibrations and not through extreme heat.
While there are some “personal diffusers” or aromatherapy pens, these devices are so new and untested that we do not have sufficient evidence or research to recommend the use of these products. We instead ask you to do your own research before purchasing and using these aromatherapy vapes to ensure your safety.
If you are looking to incorporate the use of essential oils into your life, we highly recommend investing in a high-quality diffuser to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy without altering or harming the integrity of your essential oils. With diffusers, not only can you experiment with each oil to create the perfect diffuser blend for your needs, but you can rest easy knowing that the oils are being evenly distributed across your space for safe inhalation.
So, What Do I Do With This Information?
At Rocky Mountain Oils, we want to provide our customers with the information they need to make safe and informed decisions on how to use their essential oils. Our own suggestions for those looking to benefit from aromatherapy on the go would be to invest in an aromatherapy inhaler to help stimulate your olfactory senses, or to consider purchasing roll-on blends that you can apply topically for immediate aromatherapy benefits.
With the limited studies and information available regarding the long-term effects of vaping, it’s important to understand that many health professionals still do not recommend picking up the habit, and we ourselves do not recommend using essential oils in your vape.
If you are interested in learning more about vaping or using essential oils in your vape, we highly recommend proceeding with extreme caution, and to seek scientific information with a critical eye to ensure your own safety. We also encourage you to speak with a doctor to discuss any possible risk surrounding vapes and aromatherapy pens before purchasing and using these products.