Vaping gets a lot of bad press, with the majority of sensationalist stories being ill-informed and inaccurate. VapersWAREHOUSE would like to set the story straight! Here are the most common misconceptions about vaping that often re-occur in mainstream media:
1) Passive vaping
There’s plenty of misinformation that says second-hand vapor is dangerous. With second-hand smoke being so dangerous, it’s understandable that people would be wary. The fact is, e-cigarettes have been designed so users can inhale nicotine without most of the harmful effects of smoking – they don’t produce tar or carbon monoxide. Public Health England have declared vaping at around 95% safer than smoking, making the risk of harm to bystanders extremely low.
2) Vapes explode
Scare stories of ‘vape explosions’ are well circulated but the truth is there have been very few fires from vapor products and most of these are caused by the mishandling of batteries. In reality, e-cigarettes are no more explosive than smartphones – when used properly and safely, they don’t explode in your pocket or hand. Vapers need to make ohms law and battery safety their top priority. Batteries explode for a reason – usually if they’re stored loose and in contact with metal object, or they’ve been damaged due to poor maintenance. Read more here on how to avoid exploding vapes.
3) Vaping is a gateway to smoking
The claim that vaping will tempt non-smokers into smoking has not been validated. In fact, data suggests that the vaping gateway is much more an ‘exit’ from smoking than an ‘entrance’ to it. E-cigarettes are a smoking cessation tool and are marketed to people who are looking to quit smoking. ‘Action on Smoking and Health’ produced a study on how many people who have never smoked now vape – the results were around 0.1%.
4) Sweet-flavoured e-liquids target children
Those opposed to the vaping industry often denounce it as trying to ‘addict a new generation’ with its sweet flavours such as bubblegum and jelly. This is nonsense – vaping companies cannot advertise to children because vaping is an age-restricted product and it is illegal to supply vapes to anyone under the age of 18. The sweet, fruity and dessert-flavoured e-liquids are aimed at adults wanting to wean themselves off combustible tobacco. If flavoured alcohol is seen to be catering to adults why not flavoured vapes?
5) Vapes gives you ‘popcorn lung’
‘Popcorn lung’ is a slang name used for a condition called bronchiolitis obliterans (BO), a serious and irreversible lung disease. It’s caused by the inhalation of a chemical called ‘diacetyl’, which has a buttery flavour and used to be common as a microwave popcorn additive. In the nineties, factory workers in a microwave popcorn plant contracted BO by inhaling powdered diacetyl in high concentration.
Now, while some e-liquids contain diacetyl (but not in the EU), there has never been a diagnosed case of BO in a vaper. Furthermore, there has never been any cases of BO in cigarette smokers either – even though cigarettes contain up to 750 times more diacetyl than vapes. Though e-liquids should be diacetyl free to err on the side of caution, the risks are negligible compared to smoking.
6) Vaping causes the same harm as smoking
This myth is the worst lie of all. Numerous studies have proven that vaping products have saved the lives of ex-smokers. To undermine the severity of the dangers of smoking by comparing real cigarettes to fake ones is doing the public a huge disservice. It is a sad fact that nearly half the population of Britain don’t realise that e-cigarettes are much less dangerous than smoking. There is no legitimate scientific dispute over the fact that vaping is much safer than smoking – around 95% less harmful to be precise. Read more on why vaping is better for your health than smoking here.
7) E-liquids contain dangerous chemicals
False rumours that say e-liquids contain scary chemicals including formaldehyde and anti-freeze are often quoted by non-vapers. Actually, there are only 3 or 4 non-harmful ingredients in e-liquids depending on what you vape, including: vegetable glycerine, propylene glycol, natural food grade flavouring and nicotine (optional). Each of these products can also be found in many everyday products we use such as food, drink and cosmetics.
8) Nicotine causes cancer
This myth points the finger at nicotine as the main cause of concern whereas in fact nicotine is about as harmful for your body as caffeine. Nicotine is not a carcinogen and there is no link between nicotine and cancer. It is, in fact, the thousands of chemicals in cigarettes that cause cancer. For more on the effects of nicotine read here.
9) Vaping products not regulated
Anti-vaping groups might try to peddle the idea that vaping manufacturers are brewing e-liquids in their bathtubs without any regard for what they’re producing. In reality, the majority of vape shops go out of their way to do extensive testing to ensure they’re putting out high-spec products that won’t harm the market or their customers. Recent regulations have also created a list of regulations for vape shops and manufacturers to follow, meaning everyone has had to step up their game to produce pure products. Read more on the new regulations here.
10) The tobacco industry owns vaping
One anti-vaping narrative that is particularly damaging is the idea that e-cigarettes are just the latest ploy from Big Tobacco to hook a new generation onto their products. In fact, this creates a misleading picture which overestimates Big Tobacco’s role in the e-cigarette industry.
Modern e-cigarettes were invented by a Chinese pharmacist in 2003 yet weren’t purchased by a tobacco company until 2012. The vaping industry had been growing for years and tobacco companies originally dismissed it as a fad but rising sales made them rethink that conclusion. In contrast to independent e-cigarette companies, Big Tobacco companies are almost laughably behind the times and hold a firm minority in the industry.