When discussing the safety of using electronic cigarettes, people always seem to focus on biased reports of carcinogens detected in e-liquid or on the fact that we really don’t know very much about the long-term effects e-cigs may have on vapers. So far, no one has been able to prove e-cigarettes pose any real danger, especially when comparing them with tobacco cigarettes, but there is however an aspect of safety opponents hardly ever bring up – hygiene. Do you ever wonder how clean your e-cigarette is?
I myself have never paid much attention to the cleanliness of my vaporizers, leaving them casually in all sorts of questionably clean places, only to pick them up and put them in my mouth. I’m no health freak, but I always make sure to keep my hands and everything going near my mouth clean, but not e-cigs. And apparently, I’m not the only one. Recently, reporters from FOX23 decided to the issue of e-cigarette hygiene, asking three vapers to allow their e-cigarettes to be swabbed for bacteria and have the samples analyzed in a lab.
Like me, the three users admitted they usually leave their electronic cigarettes wherever. One said she keeps hers on the computer desk or in her purse, another said it usually gets thrown into her purse, while the third claimed to wear it around her neck, on a lanyard. Only one of them said she cleaned her electronic cigarette every time she changes e-liquid.
Electronic cigarette store owners questioned by FOX23 said they try to stress the necessity of cleaning e-cigarettes regularly with all their customers. “It’s very important to know all of the proper maintenance techniques and cleaning techniques,” said Jeremy Dickinson, the owner of Vapor Eyes, in South Tulsa. paper towels, toothpicks, even Q-tips and pipe cleaners should be found in arsenal of any vaper. “You really want to get in there and clean that with a Q-tip from time to time make sure there isn’t a bunch of residue down in there,” he added.
To find out if bacteria, yeast or mold could in fact be building up in users’ electronic cigarettes, reporters sent the samples they collected to Tulsa University’s laboratory. Dr. Mohammed Fakhry found that “two of the three were really full of a good number of bacteria species and also some fungi.It’s expected to have microbes, pretty much everywhere but it is the number that is worrisome.” Judging solely by the appearance of the cultures he found, Mohammed estimated there were at least three or four bacteria strains present in the tested e-cigs. “It’s a good reminder that you have to clean them out because it is high numbers, even regular non-pathogenic bacteria in large numbers… you don’t know what they can do,” the doctor concluded.
Jeremy Dickinson told FOX23 an easy rule is to clean your electronic cigarette every time you change the cartridge. It not only keeps potentially-dangerous bacteria at bay, but it also keeps the e-cigarette in working order.
Three samples is really to few to call this a real test, but you have to admit it does raise some concerns, and I for one am definitely going to clean my e-cigarette more often. All the stuff in your e-cigarette does go into your lungs, and while propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin are yet to be proven dangerous, the different bacteria building up in e-cigs may very well cause some serious problems.
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