Gadget mania and the electronic fagsters. What’s the connection?

18-10-2017 |   |  By Paul Whytock

Electronic gadget mania means that young people in this country reach for their gadgets every eight minutes of every day.

This is just one of the results from a survey of 1000 people in the UK. It showed that people who own two gadgets such as phones and tablets use them on average around 60 times per 24 hours with smart phones being the predominant technology of choice with a usage rate of every 20 minutes.

Now I have to say I find nothing strange about this at all. Technology is there to help us, inform us and entertain us and there is no point in having it and not using it.

What I did find a tad bewildering is the survey that unearthed these gadget facts was performed by a company called Electric Tobacconist, a purveyor of electronic cigarettes. Why? What’s the connection? Are they hoping that people will want to vape at a similar frequency to their gadget use? Quite possibly.

Now whereas I totally understand gadget mania and at times could justifiably be accused of exhibiting a spot of it myself, I just cannot get with E cigarettes and I’ll tell you why in a moment.

But first lets finish some of the gadget mania statistics.

According to the survey women use their gadgets more than men and scored an average usage of 66 times a day, or every 14.5 minutes. Men in comparison reach for their technology 54 times daily which is about every 18 minutes.

But the real gadget grabbers are the 18-24 year olds. They tap their technology more than 124 times during a day.

Getting back to the vapors, one thing I will say, and about the only thing, in favour of E fags is their positive help in weaning smokers away from lethal conventional tobacco-based cigarettes. However what is not known in the long term is the health effect of years of vaping.

But instead of me bleating on about long-term side effects and how I wouldn’t set foot in a restaurant or pub that allowed vaping, let’s take a look at what some experts say.

A study published in Environmental Science & Technology identified harmful emissions in the vapour, including possible carcinogens and irritants, though it must be said at a much lower level than in conventional cigarettes.

However one recent study found formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acetone in the vapour of several different e-cigarette models and researchers in the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found e-cig vapour released over thirty harmful chemicals, including two possibly cancer-causing compounds that had never been previously found in e-cig vapour.

The amount of chemicals produced varied according to the temperature at which liquids are vapourised by the E fag heating coil. This temperature is effected by the voltage the thing is operating at. Typically many E fags operate around the 3.5V mark but some users like the taste at a higher voltage. The problem here is the higher the voltage the more toxics will be released by the E fag.

Of particular concern is formaldehyde. This becomes more prevalent at higher voltages and laboratory studies have shown that exposure to formaldehyde causes nasal cancer in rats. But does formaldehyde exposure cause cancer in humans? Some time ago America’s Environmental Protection Agency classified formaldehyde as a probable human carcinogen under conditions of unusually high or prolonged exposure. It’s the prolonged exposure comment that could cause concern.

Higher temperatures also cause more nicotine-rich vapour and another safety risk is the liquid nicotine contained in E cigs is extremely toxic if swallowed. And if all that isn’t worrying enough a study published in 2016 suggested that smoking e-cigarettes for 30 minutes can cause arteries to stiffen in a similar way to tobacco cigarettes.

But to be fair I believe that more research over a much longer period will be the only way that E-cigarettes dangers are either proven or evaporated.

In the meantime however I don’t want to be a secondary E cigarette smoker in that scenario. I am undoubtedly much happier seeing those people in pubs and restaurants with their predilection for constantly prodding their gadgets rather than those that like to see the world through a cloud of nicotine, propylene glycol and glycerine.


By Paul Whytock

Paul Whytock is Technology Correspondent for Electropages. He has reported extensively on the electronics industry in Europe, the United States and the Far East for over thirty years. Prior to entering journalism, he worked as a design engineer with Ford Motor Company at locations in England, Germany, Holland and Belgium.

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