As a vaper I’m sure like me you’ve been faced with the anti vaping know it all at work – in your family or down your local pub – who continually spouts rubbish on the dangers of all things vape.
These folks are usually fed their false and at times scary information from the mainstream media – generally a tabloid shock piece – and as I’m sure you know can be extremely vociferous.
Arm Yourselves With Vaping Truth Bombs And Shut Down the Anti Vaping Brigade Easily!
Faced with a barrage of fake news and false information it’s tempting to ignore them or mumble something about vaping being 95% safer – but arm yourself with the key facts and suddenly you’re the expert in the room.
Trust me these types of brow beating verbal bullies really don’t like real hard facts 😉
As I said in my article Changing Those UK Pub Vape Bans One Bar At A Time Through “Considerate Vaping” – like it or lump it those of us who vape are ambassadors and even advocates for all vapers.
How we act and conduct ourselves whilst vaping in public places has a real impact on the public’s perception of vaping and this really does include those around you who still smoke.
And just as importantly when we’re faced with at times indignant – if ignorant – anti-vapers then like most things knowledge is the key.
OK so based on my personal discussions/arguments [some heated lol] with the anti-vape brigade and the ill-informed – here’s my crib sheet on how to tackle those anti-vaping ‘experts’ you will most definitely meet whilst out and about.
I’ve listed the main arguments I’ve faced over the last couple of years and as I’m sure there’s many more – please add them to comments and we’ll grow this piece together.
OK these are bullet points – and not detailed rebuttals – for more info I have linked to relevant articles and studies.
1. Vaping Causes Popcorn Lung…
I was told I was probably ‘going to die’ from this disease on the Saturday of this year’s Vaper Expo by a bloke in the pub where I’m allowed to vape. – a nice end to an enjoyable if tiring day lol.
Key Facts on the ‘Popcorn Lung’ Argument
- Popcorn Lung is a respiratory disease – bronchiolitis obliterans
- It is believed to be caused by inhaling HUGE amounts of the chemical Diacetyl
- It gets the name Popcorn Lung after workers in a popcorn factory became ill with the disease
- Diacetyl adds a buttery creamy flavour to foods
- Diacetyl is now removed from 99.9999% of ALL e-liquids – a decision by juice manufacturers NOT legislation – self regulation in action
- Lit tobacco creates far more Diacetyl than any e-liquids that contained it and NO smokers have ever contracted Popcorn Lung
Key Quote Rebutting Popcorn Lung and Vaping
Given the vast majority of e-liquids no longer contain Diacetyl it’s a bit of a mute argument however vape advocate and tobacco expert Professor Michael Siegel said:
…daily exposure to diacetyl from smoking is 750 times higher, on average than exposure to diacetyl from vaping.
2. You Know You’re Vaping On Formaldehyde Right?
This is one of the favourites of the know it all brigade and usually comes with the added tag “that’s what they pump into dead bodies…”
Key Facts on the Formaldehyde Argument
- These findings come from a study back in 2015 long since rebutted many times by real experts
- The method was flawed as the temperatures used on the devices were so high it would be impossible to vape on them
- Every vaper knows how bad a ‘dry hit’ tastes and feels – you’d need to vape on that for weeks even months to receive dangerous doses of any aldehyde
- Burnt meat and even toast produces more aldehydes than vaping in normal conditions ever could
- Therefore burned toast and charred bar-b-q meat is far more dangerous than vaping
Key Quote Rebutting Vaping and Formaldehyde
When a chicken is burned, the resulting black crisp will contain carcinogens but that does not mean that chicken are carcinogenic. Without overheating the e-liquid, no formaldehyde was detected.
3. The Passive Vaping Argument
Probably one of the most popular opening statements any vaper faces – you know you’re about to enter the “vaping is as bad as smoking” row when this is the opening gambit.
If you are not familiar with the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide then go have a read on the DHMO website.
Clouds are made from ultra fine particles; dust in your house exists as ultra fine particles (animal sheddings, dirt, insect excrement, food and more).
The size of the particle in vapour is wholly irrelevant to its potential for danger. The chemical composition of the cloud is what’s important – and vape is far, far safer than smoke.
Overplaying that a bottle of juice is dangerous while ignoring the contents under the sink of every kitchen is just ignorant. Looking at deaths caused by misuse or accidental use of e-liquid only has context when compared to other household deaths.
When looked at in this way the danger posed by poisoning may be the second greatest in the home but juice contributes such an insignificant part of this compared to bleach.
And given even the World Health Organization believes so called passive vaping is a health risk – we vapers have our work cut out rebutting this one.
Or do we?
Key Facts on the Passive Vaping Argument
- In 2018 Public Health England says there is no evidence of a threat from passive vaping
- A 2014 study by ‘greener environment’ scientists found no negative health risks from passive vaping
- California government officials tried to bury findings from a huge study that found NO harmful chemicals in e-cigarette vapour after testing numerous cloud filled vape shops – all without ventilation
- Unlike lit tobacco e-liquid vapour does not give off carcinogens found in smoke from burning tobacco – the cause of most smoking related cancers to smokers and passers by
Chest health expert Professor Riccardo Polosa told UK MPs the air in London is more concerning than e-cigarette vapour
Key Quote Rebutting the Passive Vaping Argument
…the levels of nicotine absorbed from “passive vaping” are not only harmless but do not even produce any biological effect (not even heart rate acceleration).
Considering the possibility that allowing e-cigarette use in public places may motivate smokers to switch to e-cigarette use, there is no scientific basis for any bans on e-cigarette use in public places.
4. Vaping Leaves Heavy Metals In The Brain…
The so called scientists made this shocking claim after testing just 56 vapers…yes really.
Apparently taking a toot off your favourite vape leads to heavy metals leeching into your brain leading to damage and even cancer.
However the rebuttal here is a simple as NO in this case as the methodology and findings despite the coverage in mainstream media are simply preposterous.
Key Facts on the Heavy Metals Argument
- The starting point for the experiment was flawed
- The measurements were tiny
- Vapers would need to vape 100mls of e-liquid per day for years to get close to even approved levels of contact with heavy metals
Key Quote Rebutting the Heavy Metals Argument
The authors once again confuse themselves and everyone else by using environmental safety limits related to exposure with every single breath – and apply them to vaping.
However humans take more than 17,000 breaths per day but only 400-600 puffs from an e-cigarette.
5. Vaping Gives You Pneumonia…
Scientists were really proud of themselves with this one.
Basically they say bacteria we all have from time to time in our airway passageways can ‘react’ with vapour with or without nicotine and bring on pneumonia.
Not so say the real experts in both health and vaping.
Key Facts on the Pneumonia Argument
- The test was carried out on mice
- Studies show none smokers that tried vaping had less chest infections than before
- Smokers who switched to vaping had considerably less respiratory issues
- PG – Propylene Glycol – in e-liquids is also used in asthma inhalers
Key Quote Rebutting the Vaping Gives You Pneumonia Argument
Previous work suggests smokers who switched from smoking to vaping report no increase, but in fact a significant decrease in respiratory infections.
6. You Know That Vaping Damages Your DNA Don’t You?
Another shockingly bad study suggested that nicotine and the vapour from e-cigarettes was likely to screw with your DNA so much it might cause cancer.
I called BS as soon as I saw this one and was right to…
Key Facts on the DNA Damage Argument
- Methods used had nothing to do with vaping
- Test carried out on mice and other animals do NOT compare to humans
- Human cells were SUBMERGED in shop bought liquid nicotine [yes really]
- No comparison made to lit tobacco
- Vapers show a 97% reduction in carcinogens compared to smokers
Key Quote Rebutting the DNA Damage Theory
Human cells were submerged in nicotine and in off-the-shelf bought carcinogenic nitrosamines. It is not surprising of course that this damaged the cells, but this has no relationship to any effects of e-cigarettes on people who use them.
7. Vaping Is Going to Give You A Heart Attack…
Scientists were once again almost gleeful earlier this year in once again linking vaping to ‘arterial stiffness‘.
However what they failed to tell you was the same effect on the body comes from drinking a cup of coffee or watching TV for extended periods of time such as Netflix binges for instance.
I go into much greater detail on vaping and the health of your heart HERE.
- Nicotine has the same effect on the body as drinking coffee or binging on TV
- Arterial stiffness sounds scary but is low risk to health
Key Quote Rebutting the Vaping Will Give You A Heart Attack Argument
…the key question is whether they are as harmful as conventional cigarettes, and this seems very unlikely, particularly if they are used as a bridge to quitting all cigarettes completely.
8. Nicotine Gives You Cancer…So Vaping Is As Dangerous As Smoking…
The big daddy of all the vaping arguments next to passive vaping I suppose.
And the simple answer once again is a resounding NO nicotine does NOT give you cancer.
It might be addictive – like caffeine is – but it’s certainly NOT a carcinogen.
- Nicotine is a natural substance not just found in tobacco but other plants and fruit
- Caffeine and nicotine are toxic but perfectly fine in moderation
- The tar in lit tobacco causes carcinogens NOT the nicotine
- Nicotine is linked to improved memory and brain function [fighter pilots use it to stay alert]
- An e-cigarette contains smaller amounts than lit tobacco
- No evidence that nicotine causes heart disease or cancer
- Most vapers reduce their nicotine levels on their vaping journey
- If nicotine was so bad why is it in approved gums and patches?
Key Quote Rebutting the Nicotine Gives You Cancer Scare
In terms of safety, e-cigarettes are likely far closer to nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). NRT has long been known as a much safer alternative to smoking.
The most important thing for your health is to stop using tobacco.
As covered on this website, a letter was sent to the World Health Organisation by 53 leading public health and addiction specialists from around the world.By way of response, Professor Glantz coerced 129 people to sign his letter.
Glantz has been an outspoken critic of electronic cigarettes but all too often relies on his opinions or the distortion of actual research in order to meet his own personal agenda.
It should be noted that the university he works for is heavily in debt and received $20,000,000 from the FDA to fund his study centre. He also receives money indirectly from WHO and pharmaceutical companies.
His letter notes:
9. Yeah But E Cigs Are A Gateway For Kids to Start Smoking
Glantz cited the research carried out by the CDC National Tobacco Youth Survey to support this statement. What the report actually says is:
“During 2011–2012, among all students in grades 6–12… current e-cigarette use increased from 1.1% to 2.1% (p<0.05), and current use of both e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes increased from 0.8% to 1.6% (p<0.05) ”.
Demonstrating neither rapid growth or disturbing rates among those who have never smoked. Less than ½% surveyed said that they were non-smokers and the survey didn’t clarify if they were ex-smokers as a result of vaping. The survey also just looked at if they had “ever” vaped, use could have been a one-off event.
The letter cites a survey (Electronic cigarette use among Korean adolescents) but failed to quote the section where Glantz himself wrote, “It was rare for students no longer using cigarettes to be among current e-cigarette users”.
As with the findings from ASH UK and Professor Robert West’s study, vaping in the UK has not acted as a gateway into smoking for teens.
The CDC research itself concludes that “In fact the CDC reports “ …the prevalence of current tobacco product use among middle and high school students was 6.7% and 23.3%, respectively”, while for 2011 estimates were “7.5% for middle school and 24.3% for high school students”.
It demonstrates that smoking has fallen in real terms in American schools so the gateway argument falls flat.
10. Dual use of e-cigarettes and cigarettes confers no benefit
It has been pointed out that there are no studies to support this position – no research, no conclusions, no nothing.
What does exist, using data obtained from nicotine replacement programs, is the knowledge that it is heavy smokers who are the people most likely to attempt to quit.
What’s acknowledged by the initial 53 is that this is an area requiring further study before making any statement about it in the manner Glantz has done.
Common sense dictates that the use of an alternative nicotine delivery system without 2,000+ carcinogenic chemicals and toxins is a preferable alternative to having a cigarette – so each one not smoked is a bonus.
An analogy of this would be that ideally everyone would walk everywhere and not use his or her car because it is healthier. Walking to the shops once a week is one car trip less.
11. “E-cigarette use undermines cessation”
Glantz claims that by dual-fuelling, using both e-cigs and cigarettes, there is less incentive to fully quit and access to e-cigs lets smokers off the hook…it allows them permission to continue their habit.
He ignores the testimony of millions of vapers in Europe and the US, brushing us all off as “astroturf”.
He claims that all of us who have successfully used e-cigs to quit or to prevent us from returning to smoking are being funded by tobacco organisations.
I don’t know about you but I haven’t received my cheque yet, I wonder if I ought to write to British American Tobacco or Phillip Morris?
Glantz relied on flawed studies that were not designed to measure this as his evidence while discounting all of the ones that did have this as their focus of research.
Evidence from proper studies supports the idea that e-cigs do help smokers to quit As a member of four UK forums and three based overseas my experience totally supports this position.
The adoption of e-cigs as a quitting tool by NHS Scotland also confirms that there are professionals who see it as a benefit, not an obstacle.
What hasn’t been mentioned is the type of e-cig used to quit.
We are lucky enough to be in a time when there really is an e-cigarette to suit all smokers.
Launch Those Vaping Truth Bombs!
In conclusion, e-cigarettes are not harmless and no professional will tell you they are. They are orders of magnitude safer than smoking and offer a valid and safer way to use or quit nicotine use.
These are just some of the arguments we vapers face pretty much on a daily basis and being armed with the facts not only helps you win the ‘argument’ but also might get smokers off the cancer sticks.
And that is surely one of if not the most important thing those of us who vape can do – it’s literally saving lives.
Like or or not the public’s perception of vaping whilst slowly coming round to a more positive attitude is still led by the mainstream media that continues to attack vaping and indeed vapers.
So next time you’re faced with that annoyingly smug anti vaper – launch a few fact bombs trust me the reaction is priceless.
And when I say vaping truth bombs – how about keeping the image above on your phone.
If Cancer Research UK is endorsing all things vape then surely they along with all the other medical organizations on side are right and maybe just maybe Mr or Mrs KnowItAll might be quite literally blowing smoke out of their smug ignorant arses?