Many of you will be familiar with the term ‘vaping’ by now, but never has there been a more 2018-ified wellness phrase than “vaping your vitamins” – and we have some questions.

Vaping, i.e smoking nicotine-infused e-cigarettes that come in a variety of flavours, has exploded in popularity in America in recent years, most noticeably among millennials. This is partly due to the fact that, despite it still being highly addictive, scientists agree vaping is technically better for you than smoking regular cigarettes. My recently converted friends explain it’s also fun being able to choose your own vape adventure – mango, strawberry, mint, peanut butter, crème brule, cucumber, you name it!

But now, wellness companies are jumping on the bandwagon, seeking to capitalise on the trend taking over the US social scene by selling vaporisers that let you inhale vitamins, essential oils and herbal supplements. The supposedly good-for-you spin on vaping (which was once a way to kick the dreaded ciggie habit once and for all) involves real e-cigs containing vitamin-enhanced vapour, such as D and B12 instead of nicotine.

One company markets its Vitamin B12 vaporiser as containing “10 times the amount found in a typical B-12 shot”. VitaStick, which was one of the first “healthy vapes” to hit the growing US market, claims to mist a cocktail of Vitamin A, B2, B6, B12, C, D, E and CoQ10. A more recent brand, breathe, says it’s “e-juice” contains B12, vegetable glycerin, deionised water and organic fruit flavour extract. VitaCig’s Kama Sutra claims to incorporate a “proprietary blend of fruit extracts, plants, and amino acids, commonly used to encourage sexual arousal.” The very same company also built a marijuana e-cig and is working on an alcoholic one.

Does this mean wellness is now just an inhale (or two) away? It certainly sounds appealing – hello, health hack. However the most obvious question that comes to mind is, just because eating or drinking something full of vitamins and amino acids is good for your body, does that mean it’s useful, or even safe to inhale a vapour made from the stuff?

Health claims are thin, given e-cigarettes have only been around for a hot second compared to combustible cigarettes. Scientists say the research used by the vaping industry to back up health claims is not up to date. “To me, [using vitamins and nutrients] is a marketing ploy to sell this product and make it look healthier,” Regan Bailey, a nutritional epidemiologist at Purdue University, said in Scientific American journal.

“These products might be completely safe, but they might not be. We know literally nothing about the safety or efficacy of inhaling vitamins.”

The American Cancer Society also says the purported health claims may very well hold up, however they have not been adequately studied. Simply put, how well the lungs actually do take in vitamins is still up for debate.

Frighteningly, a 2016 study shows electronic cigarette use grew 900% among high school students in the US from 2011 to 2015. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says there is “insufficient evidence to conclude that e-cigarettes help users quit smoking” and that more research is needed to determine the full health effects of vaping.

Currently – and despite big tobacco’s push to overturn Australia’s effective vaping ban – Health Minister Greg Hunt promises the ban will not be lifted, despite agreeing to an independent inquiry into the health impacts in September. “The overwhelming medical advice and evidence is that it’s likely to lead to the uptake of smoking and we cannot support that,” a spokesperson told The Guardian last month.

However key voices calling for e-cig legislation in Australia argue that vaping is a far safer alternative to smoking and has helped millions of smokers quit. With other comparative developed nation such as the US, New Zealand and Canada all making e-cigarettes legal, is it only a matter of time before Australia follows suit and we start to see vitamin vapes hitting the wellness scene in our own backyard?

For more like this, this is the surprising thing that happened when one writer got a vitamin shot. Plus, these are the 7 vitamin myths we’re guilty of believing.

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