***This is a legacy document and as such may contain out-of-date or incorrect information. The vaping world has moved on a huge amount in a very short space of time, and these articles were written to the best of our knowledge at the time, but we can no longer stand by their accuracy!***
There is a percentage of smokers who cannot give up cigarettes using ecigarettes no matter how good the equipment they use or the support they are given. Nobody knows what this percentage is - estimates range from 10% to 50% or more. This group of people will still smoke the occasional cigarette even when using 36mg liquid on a 5 volt device. They may also revert to smoking cigarettes under stress. For these people, the nicotine and the sensation of smoking that an e-cig can provide is not enough - something else is missing. Many of these people seem to be able to successfully stop the use of cigarettes if they combine electronic cigarette use with something called Snus which is a small bag of treated tobacco that is kept in the mouth. This suggests that some other ingredient of tobacco is needed that is not supplied by an e-cigarette - in other words, nicotine is not the only ingredient that has people hooked. Anecdotally, using a dual-product solution like this raises the success rate for quitting cigarettes to about 80%. It is thought that the missing ingredient may be something called WTA (or whole tobacco alkaloids). These include nornicotine, anabasine, anatabine and myosmine. Swedish Snus contains many WTAs, and as the risk of Snus use in Sweden has been shown to be virtually identical to totally quitting by 25 years of very large sample clinical trials and population-level data. It is safe to assume that the consumption of WTAs has no identifiable risk at population level, but individuals should consider their current medical issues or prescriptions (There are possible contra-indications for WTAs, such as the possibility of interaction with meds such as prednisone/prednisolone).
It is not known which has the least associated risk: Snus or e-liquid with added WTAs. The consumption of WTAs within Snus and within e-liquid are not the same thing: we know that the processing of Snus removes enough of the carcinogens that cancer is no longer a significant issue, but little is known about the processing of WTA e-liquid. Snus has been the subject of a huge amount of medical research; the same cannot be said for WTA eliquid. Until evidence shows otherwise, it cannot be assumed that WTA-inclusive refill liquids are free from health issues. Of course, WTA e-liquid would have to be highly toxic before the risk approached that of smoking. The use of WTAs added to e-liquid seems on the face of it to be far safer than continuing to smoke, since it is the smoke that causes virtually all the disease, not the active tobacco compounds. However, it is possible that some carcinogens present in tobacco may accompany the WTAs into the e-liquid.
- Pharmaceutical-grade nicotine as supplied by corporations such as Dow and used in regular e-liquid is produced to a very high and checkable standard. It is processed extensively to remove anything other than nicotine. Very small amounts of carcinogens remain, but they are considered insignificant. They are seen in nicotine skin patches made from this pharma-grade nicotine, for example, as well as the e-liquid made from it.
- WTA-containing liquid has not been produced to any known standard. No one knows if it contains carcinogens or not. No analyses are provided.
- Some WTAs such as nornicotine are associated with carcinogens, in that it is claimed they are harder to eliminate if nornicotine is retained.
- The production method may or may not remove the carcinogens - but no claims can be made on this subject without the proof: a full analysis - a GC-MS test and associated tests that identify 99.9% of the constituents of the sample.
Overview All things considered, the use of WTAs cigarettes seems a better option than smoking for those persons who cannot successfully quit cigarettes no matter what ecigarette equipment of liquids they use. In our view it is not yet possible to know if the use of WTA liquid and Snus have the same health implications. There is very strong evidence to suggest that the health risk of Snus is known is of low significance but no such evidence exists for WTA e-liquid. The WTAs themselves are unlikely to pose a risk, but the processing of WTA eliuid is an unknown that may introduce of other harmful ingredients. Conclusion People who are already happy with their e-cig should pass this by - they don't need it. Those with cravings even on 36mg liquid @ 5 volts could try Snus or WTA-added e-liquid in addition to their e-cig with regular liquid. Snus are proven safe but WTAs aren't, mainly due to the possible inclusion of carcinogens. It is tempting to think of the possible carcinogen level in the vapor as likely to be extremely low, but this is an unproven assumption.