With the number of vape pens available on the market today, chances are you’ve seen one on display in your local grocery store or corner shop and thought “that looks like a good way to quit smoking”.
We can’t blame you – these products are easy to use, they don’t make you smell like smoke, and they can taste quite nice.
But, before buying a vape pen, we highly recommend you take a minute to learn more about them, and how to stay away from the harmful ones.
Many vape pen brands tout themselves as a great alternative to cigarettes, but many of them are made as cheaply as possible and contain very harmful substances, making them no better (or even worse) than smoking.
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So, before you buy just any vape pen, we recommend you read this before heading down to the shop.
Differentiating Legal and Illegal Vape Pens
Two types of nicotine vaping products (NVPs) or vape pens circulate on the market today. One type is trusted and responsibly sold in local pharmacies, while the bad types are available just about everywhere else.
Illicit NVPs (such as those in convenience stores and tobacconists) are imported under the radar by criminal groups, just like illicit tobacco and drugs, and are made as cheaply as possible for maximum profits.
Here’s why you should steer very, very clear of these.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Illegal Dangerous Vapes
Illegal vapes are undeniably cheaper to buy, but they may cost you your health and all of your efforts to stop smoking and nicotine addiction for good. Here are several reasons not to use illegal vapes.
Illegal vapes that you find just about everywhere do not have any product liability insurance. Insurance is very important, especially for a product you’re inhaling into your lungs up to 200 times a day, as it ensures that if anything goes wrong you’re supported and covered.
Having a bad reaction? Hospitalised? You’re on your own.
Unknown Manufacturing and Hygiene
Many illegal vapes come from unknown overseas manufacturers – many of the ‘big brand’ vapes for sale are actually fakes/copies, and it’s impossible to tell.
These profiteering manufacturers do not use medical-standard equipment and facilities to make their products, and in testing have even been found to contain human saliva.
Dangerous and Unidentified Chemicals
Illegal vapes from overseas have uncharacterized or unidentified chemicals in their eliquids and the vapour the device creates.
Laboratory tests have shown these contain high levels of heavy metals such as nickel and lead, which are inhaled into your sensitive lungs with every puff and increases the risk of cancer and other potentially lethal diseases.
Made Solely for Profit, Not Health
As mentioned, illegal NVPs you buy from convenience stores are made only for profit. Medical facilities and safety tests are expensive, so these aren’t used at all. The result is a highly dangerous product selling wholesale for as little as $1, and passed onto you at a 3,400% mark-up.
Fortunately, the alternative is much more trustworthy and supported by many GPs and health providers throughout Australia – prescription NVPs available from your local pharmacy.
Why Use Legal/Pharmacy Vapes for Quitting Smoking?
NVPs you can buy from pharmacies only have one thing in common with illegal vapes: they look similar. But, that’s where the similarities end.
Made With Your Health in Mind
Unlike the potentially dangerous illegal products mentioned above, pharmacy vapes are responsibly manufactured purely with your health in mind. They are:
- Specifically designed for smoking cessation;
- Rigorously tested for inhalation safety by expert toxicologists;
- Covered by locally-issued product liability insurance; and
- Are trusted by doctors and pharmacists as a tool to help you quit smoking.
Medically Insured and Supplied
Physical pharmacies will not carry products that do not comply with GMP– and ISO standards in manufacturing medicines, and the pharmaceutical wholesalers (the ones that supply all medicines to every pharmacy) do not supply uninsured medicines. NVPs sold in physical pharmacies comply with these requirements.
All vapes available inside physical pharmacies are manufactured in facilities that comply with high medical requirements. Furthermore, medical experts and toxicologists have identified every chemical in the eliquid and the vapour the device produces.
Just like all other medicines that you trust for your health, NVPs available in your local pharmacy are covered by locally-issued product liability insurance. This ensures that you’re covered for any adverse events, or even a fault with the product itself.
Simplicity and Ease of Use
Pharmacy NVPs are designed to be user-friendly, making them an excellent option for individuals who prefer a hassle-free experience. They’re ready to use out of the box, meaning there’s no learning curve or confusion, so you can get started on your journey away from smoking with ease.
Portability and Convenience
Pharmacy NVPs are very small and portable, making them easy to carry around in your pocket or bag. Moreover, the closed system of vape pens ensures there are no buttons, settings, or manual filling of liquid required – you simply give it a puff whenever you feel any cravings or withdrawal symptoms, especially helpful when you’re in a smoking environment and start feeling the pressure.
Consistency and Performance
Pharmacy NVPs are specifically designed to provide consistent and reliable performance. The pre-filled cartridges are tested medically and functionally to perform well, ensuring that you receive a dependable and consistent experience throughout the life of the cartridge.
Each pharmacy NVP cartridge uses a specific formulation of nicotine-containing liquid, ensuring that you’re receiving an accurate and suitable ongoing dosage to alleviate your withdrawal symptoms and stay smokefree.
How Can I Get Pharmacy Vaping Products?
Go Through First-Line Solutions First
NVPs aren’t issued immediately in smoking cessation programmes. A motivated smoker should first go through NRT and use the safest quit-smoking aids available from pharmacies.
NRT products are lozenges, gums, patches, and inhalers that introduce a small dose of nicotine to alleviate your withdrawal symptoms. While these have worked well for many motivated smokers, some might have ingrained triggers that require a mimic of cigarettes to address.
In fact, the latest Cochrane Review found high-certainty evidence that NVPs are more effective than NRT in helping people stop smoking.
Chat to a GP
A GP is the most qualified professional that can oversee your quit smoking journey. They can create a custom-made smoking cessation programme with your previous nicotine intake in mind.
They can also assess if your initial venture with NRT products isn’t helping you stop smoking and determine if a pharmacy NVP prescription suits you.
Visit a Local Pharmacy
Once you have your nicotine prescription, you can pop down to your local pharmacy. Over 2,200 pharmacies across Australia hold these products in-store, but any pharmacy can order these in for you if they don’t currently stock them.
Both your pharmacist and GP can advise you on how best to use the product, such as the initial setup, and the number of puffs to take when you feel withdrawals.
Vaping can be a useful tool for smoking, but only if you’re using medical devices from a physical pharmacy. Anyone who plans to vape should only do so to stop smoking and not for recreational purposes, so buy your NVPs only from pharmacies to keep yourself safe and smokefree.
We know you’re reading this because you want to know which vape pen is the best for your needs. We can help you much more beyond supplying this useful information.
Smokefree Clinic gives you access to many medically reviewed and trustworthy resources that can inform and aid you in your path to wellness, so have a look around!
If you’re ready to get started, Smokefree can connect you to bulk-billing Australian healthcare professionals who excel in helping patients quit smoking for good, including using responsible vaping products where appropriate.
Click here to book your bulk-billed telehealth consultation with an Australian healthcare professional and quit smoking today.