By Matt Rowland
Americans love their coffee. The instant “fix” that we get from that first cup of joe in the morning gives us both a boost of physical energy
and a jolt of mental clarity. We pay good money for it, too, stopping at places like Starbucks or Caribou Coffee, where our favorite caffeinated beverage might cost in upwards of $8 per cup.
But what if there was an easier, healthier way to feed that caffeine addiction? What if there was a way to get our fix without the risk of spilling coffee on our laps during rush hour traffic? Wouldn’t it be nice to also avoid the related caffeine and sugar crash that almost always immediately follows? Thanks to the wonderful advancements in vaping technology, we are now witnessing a surge in popularity of the caffeinated e-cig.
Vaping caffeine is nothing new, but the mainstream public is just now catching wind of this marvelously inventive gadgetry. A significant amount of the credit goes to a recent report in The New York Times. Journalist Alex Williams calls these caffeine inhalers “Red Bull for the Lungs.” And if the Times gives the green light for any new book, movie or even a new type of e-cig, then a significant amount of public attention is sure to almost immediately follow.
In reviewing the Eagle Energy Vapor e-cig, reporter Williams goes on to say, “The disposable inhaler, which is $8.99, lasts for about 500 puffs. Although each inhaler contains only two milligrams of caffeine, compared with about 150 milligrams in many 12-ounce cups of coffee (caffeine content can vary wildly, according to the type of brew), the company says 10 to 20 puffs constitutes a standard serving. Indeed, that was enough to give this reporter a buzz…”
That’s a pretty impressive recommendation, considering that the anti-vaping movement is so widespread throughout the print and television media. But a single good review from The New York Times does not mean that everyone is jumping on the bandwagon of admiration for caffeinated vaping devices. TIME Magazine, for example, is calling for the FDA to investigate the safety of caffeinated e-cigs, even though the e-juice ingredients are largely the same as those found in common energy drinks.
The main ingredients of the caffeinated e-juices are ginseng, taurine and guarana, a caffeine-rich plant from the Amazonian rain forests. While the levels of caffeine will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, most caffeinated e-cigs contain no nicotine, sugar or calories,
and only about two milligrams of caffeine per e-cig.
With 500 puffs per e-cig and 10-20 puffs per dosage, that’s conservatively about 25 cups of vaporized coffee, with a total of two milligrams of combined caffeine for a mere $9. That’s a bargain worth investigating. Williams even boasts that, after only five small puffs, his fingers tingled. After only 10 puffs, he had a caffeine high. If true, this means that 25 cups per e-cig could easily turn into 50. It all depends on the individual vaper’s tolerance levels.
Eagle Energy isn’t the only caffeinated e-cig on the market. Energy Shisha from the U.K. has a brand called Caffeine Vape Stix. And the Rush Energy Company
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offers its alternative, named Vapor Stick. But, if disposable e-cigs are not your style, vaping enthusiasts can also purchase many different brands of caffeinated e-juice from an abundance of suppliers. The e-juice manufacturers also tend to offer a wider variety of flavor choices. Meanwhile, disposable e-cigs like Eagle Energy only offer one standard flavor currently.
To be fair, we should also note that many medical professionals warn against the possible health risks of caffeine and energy drinks in general. Whether we are vaping our stimulants or drinking them, consumptions of high quantities on a regular basis are usually not recommended. Donald Hensrud, M.D., from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., is all over the web offering his opinions on caffeinated e-cigs. His main concern is that inhaling rather than drinking these stimulants causes them to be absorbed into the bloodstream much faster. But, we’re only talking about two tiny milligrams of caffeine divided over 500 puffs of an entire e-cig, vs. the 150 milligrams in a standard cup of coffee. Is a caffeinated e-cig really such a big deal? Or are doctors like Hensrud simply overreacting?
After all, many of these medical professionals consistently warn us that caffeine is addictive. Research shows a direct connection between excessive caffeine consumption and negative side effects like restlessness, agitation, depression, anxiety and other disorders of the nervous system. Since caffeinated e-cigs contain such a miniscule amount of the stimulant, one might expect the medical community to be shouting their health benefits from the rooftops.
It’s no big secret that vaping is taking the world by storm. This rush of public acceptance is leading to a great deal of debate among local, state and federal politicians, as well as among leaders in the medical community. Should the vaping industry be regulated by the FDA like Big Tobacco and prescription drugs? And what about caffeinated vapor? Should it be regulated, like the Folgers Coffee found at your local grocer?
Since the late 1980s, the smoking of traditional cigarettes in public venues has become increasingly unacceptable, which is understandable, since
second-hand smoke is harmful to our health. Yet somehow, vaping devices are deemed “guilty by association,” simply because they have a similar appearance to traditional tobacco cigarettes.
But, vaping isn’t the same as smoking. And vaping caffeine is not the same as drinking it. Just as millions of people have turned to vaping as a way to quit smoking, millions more might turn to the vape as a way to overcome their caffeine addiction. So, if you are tired of standing in line at the local Starbucks while the person in front of you orders her “quad Venti, nonfat, half-caff, light iced caramel latte, shaken not stirred,” then perhaps a caffeinated e-cig is worth a try.
Matt Rowland is a blogger for https://www.rastavapors.com/blog/.