by Bonnie Halper
Chocolate mouse. Tiramisu. Crème brulee. Kalhua and cream. Pecan pie. There’s no doubt that America – and most of the rest of the world – has a sweet tooth, but if you’re a diabetic, particularly a Type 2 diabetic, these are just a handful of the desserts and indulgences that are literally off the table.
For Type 2 diabetics, electronic vapes are a game changer. And a way to satisfy their cravings for sweets without suffering the physical consequences that come with setting off their blood sugar levels.
While they’re often referred to as electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, that name is somewhat misleading. While it’s true that the vape liquids can contain nicotine, the liquid base is propylene glycol, which is used in asthma inhalers and other medical devices; vegetable glycerine, which is widely used in foods and medications; or some combination of the two, along with a handful of other chemicals and flavorings, while cigarettes contain over 4000 chemicals, including a number of potential carcinogens. Not so with vapes, as they contain absolutely no tobacco.
Or nicotine, depending on the user’s preference.
Despite the fact that they are tobacco-free and emit moisture rather than smoke (the old adage is, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” conversely, where there’s no smoke…well, you get it), tobacco-based cigarettes have become so taboo that diabetics are loathe to discuss the fact that they’ve turned to vapes to satisfy their sweet tooth cravings. We only found out by accident, while chatting with online vape vendor Andy Aranda of Breazy, the largest vaporium on the web, who had received a fan email from a diabetic.
Which was when we began reading user feedback at various vape sites, and saw comments from happy customers, some of whom had never smoked a tobacco-based cigarette in his or her life, but who had turned to vaping to satisfy their sweet tooth cravings.
Without setting off their Type 2 diabetes symptoms, although it comes as a surprise to many people that not everyone who vapes is a traditional cigarette smoker, or a former or recovering cigarette smoker.
Vapes can be ordered with various levels of nicotine – including zero or no nicotine at all, which may account for the popularity of vapes which contain zero nicotine, beyond former smokers who ratchet down their nicotine levels. It seems that with the vaping community, unlike with tobacco-based cigarette smokers, it’s not all about the nicotine fix.
Usually the sweeter flavors are the most popular ones that particularly appeal to diabetics as well as dieters, according to Justin Powell at Beyond Vape in New York City.
“Usually things with marshmallows tend to be the sweetest, like the Rice Krispie flavor we have, or some of the fruit candy ones. The gummy worm flavor was very popular for people’s sweet tooth, but we’re out of stock right now, and it switched over to some fruitier stuff more recently.”
Aranda also noted that the candy and dessert flavors tend to be top sellers, as well as the cereal flavors, according to Powell, which may be as much a testament to the amount of sugar added to breakfast cereals – or maybe it’s just that some people never grow up, or out of their cravings for their favorite breakfast cereals!
“Loopr (think Fruit Loops) is probably the most popular, and another one that’s very similar to Loopr, but without the lemon flavor. A lot of people are sensitive to the lemon because it reminds them of Liquid Pledge or other cleaning solvents. But it’s been more popular because of that spectrum of people Loopr wasn’t able to reach before - now they can reach them.”
Many fruits that the rest of us take for granted are also on the no-fly list for Type 2s, or they must eat them sparingly. The same goes for fruit juices, which are high in natural sugars and carbohydrates, so Type 2s must be cautious about their juice intake as well.
“Fruit flavors are always popular – especially the blended ones," Justin commented. “The Naked line has blended fruits, which we’re sold out of for a reason!”
“Sweeter flavors will have artificial sweeteners in them to make them sweeter, since the natural flavors themselves cap at fruit sweetness, so if you’re going for a candy, they’re going to put some sugar in it,” he said.
Of course, it’s not actually sugar, since that would affect the coils. And no doubt a diabetic’s blood sugar levels.
While traditional tobacco cigarettes aren’t recommended for anyone, diabetic or not, the electronic variety doesn’t take the toll on one’s body that tobacco-based alternatives do, and the latter is especially hard on a diabetic’s heart and circulatory system, according to Sue Marshall, author of Diabetes: The Essential Guide.
But people turn to vapes for a variety of reasons. While it is a less harmful way to get your nicotine fix, it isn’t always about that. For some it’s the physical habit. For some, it satisfies an oral fixation. For others, it’s about the flavors and the taste.
It’s also something of a celebrity accessory. Leonardo DiCaprio, Katy Perry, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Colin Farrell, Charlie Sheen, Johnny Depp, Lindsay Lohan, Robert Pattison, Jack Nicholson, John Cusack and even Kate Middleton are among the growing list of familiar faces spotted around town with vape in hand.
As for diabetics, who need to monitor their sugar and carbohydrate intake, they’re out there vaping away, finally happy to have found a much safer way to have their cake - or cereal, fruit, aperitif or favorite confection – and eat it, too.
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