vaping health risks

OK So What About the Scare Science Behind Vaping?

Since vaping arrived over a decade ago there’s hardly been a day where the media hasn’t pounced on negative studies surrounding vaping – particularly on health issues.

Some have been downright fake whilst others may have a ring of truth however thanks to sensationalist headlines have become almost urban myths.

As I’ve often said nothing is 100% safe and whilst vaping is indeed considerably safer than smoking there are some risks attached but certainly nowhere near the levels we’re led to believe.

There’s three topics that come up time and time again and as a vaper at one time or another you may well be faced with dire warnings about inhaling formaldehyde – developing ‘popcorn lung’ or the damage of ‘passive vaping’ to those around you.

So let’s look at those three myths and see how they can be de-bunked.

Formaldehyde and Vaping

Back in January 2015 a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine was pounced on by the anti-vaping mainstream media as it claimed vapers were inhaling high levels of formaldehyde.

The media gleefully reported that we the vapers were all about to die and therefore vaping was far more dangerous than even smoking!


However this daddy of all fake vape science ‘findings’ was quickly blown away by real vaping medical experts who attacked in their droves.

The basic test they used was flawed to say the least given the temperatures used to simulate a ‘dry hit’ was so great that no vaper could possibly stand it!

Dr Michael Siegel said:

Essentially, what this study demonstrates is that if you overheat a vaping system, it will produce high levels of formaldehyde.

However, such conditions are not realistic, as they could not be tolerated by an actual vaper. Therefore, extrapolating from this study to a lifetime of vaping is meaningless.

Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos said:


The scientific community must realize that variable wattage devices cannot be used at any wattage levels with any available atomizer. Even for naïve users, the harsh taste of the dry puff phenomenon is unbearable. … In fact, it is very easy to produce as much aldehydes as you want in the lab with an e-cigarette device. However, this has nothing to do with exposure from e-cigarette use.

Professor Peter Hajek said:

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.

Vaping may not be as safe as breathing clear mountain air, but it is much safer than smoking. It would be a shame if this study persuaded smokers who cannot or do not want to stop smoking and contemplate vaping that they might as well stick to their deadly cigarettes.

There was of course many many more quotes from health professionals and scientists coming out strongly against the ‘formaldehyde findings’ but did we see any of them in the media?

So Called ‘Popcorn Lung’

If there’s been one so called vaping ‘health scare’ that has split the vape community it has to be ‘popcorn lung’.

It’s known scientifically as bronchiolitis obliterans – [BO] – and is caused by certain inhaled chemicals that cause scaring to the lungs.

diacetyl popcorn lungAs far as vaping goes the chemical to note is diacetyl – which is used in many foodstuffs and gives a buttery taste to things such as microwave popcorn.

It gets its common name from a case where 8 workers in a popcorn factory developed a lung disease similar to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – [COPD].

Back in 2014 even pro vaping researcher Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos warned of the possible albeit minimal risk to vapers following his own study:

The study is important because it confirms the lower risk potential of e-cigarettes compared to smoking but also identifies an avoidable risk. We expect to see appropriate action taken by the e-cigarette industry to remove this small but unnecessary risk, making the products even safer than they currently are.

Of note here is that normal cigarettes contain diacetyl in far far greater quantities – 100 times as much and to date there’s not been one incident of ‘popcorn lung’ linked to smoking.

A study by the Environmental Health Perspective in June last year recommended that:

…urgent action is recommended to further evaluate this potentially widespread exposure via flavored e-cigarettes.

Well the good news is the e-liquid manufacturers responded quickly and without the need for legislation – as the vaping industry has done since its inception some might say!

You’ll now find the majority of e-liquid manufacturers no longer use diacetyl and it’s been quite some time since a ‘popcorn lung’ scare story has appeared in the media.

Under the TRPR and TPD all e-liquid bottles on sale in Europe should contain ingredients – including the very few if any that contain diacetyl.

Passive Vaping and Air Quality

The International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health published one of the first ‘scientific’ studies suggesting passive vaping was dangerous to health.

And this time it wasn’t just the media hungry for anti vape stories that jumped on the dubious [and soon to be dis-proven] theory.

vaping indoors
don’t try this at home [obligatory warning lol]
It was the extremely reluctant to support vaping as a harm reducer group none other than the World Health Organization that immediately called for a total ban on vaping indoors – anywhere!At the time a spokesman for WHO said:

The fact that ENDS [electronic nicotine delivery systems] exhaled aerosol contains on average lower levels of toxicants than the emissions from combusted tobacco does not mean that these levels are acceptable to involuntarily exposed bystanders… the risk of disease to bystanders, especially in the case of some ENDS that produce toxicant levels in the range of that produced by some cigarettes.

In 2014 a study by scientists at New York’s Health, Air, Nature, & A Greener Environment tested this theory finding:

For all byproducts measured, electronic cigarettes produce very small exposures relative to tobacco cigarettes. The study indicates no apparent risk to human health from e-cigarette emissions based on the compounds analyzed.


I could go on and on listing the various studies that show there is no risk whatsoever from passive vaping – including the very latest study in the USA ‘they’ tried to bury!

Luckily Dr Michael Siegel was able to get a copy of the findings and they really do blow the lid off the passive vaping myth once and for all.

You can read his full report HERE – however in a nutshell ‘scientists’ took air readings in a number of vape shops with no ventilation.

The findings show the air inside contained nothing dangerous at all!

However final word on this goes to Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos who after studying yet another ‘study’ concluded:

… 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.

So is Vaping Safer than Smoking?

In a word yes – but don’t take my word for it – here’s the Public Health England report on e-cigarettes and vaping.

I could leave it there lol…but…

no cancer from e-cigs

Look nothing is 100% safe – nothing if you think about it 😉

Everything has risks attached and anyone would be a fool to say vaping doesn’t have some kind of risk attached.

But as far as health issues are concerned the more scientific studies that come out the more it shows that vaping is indeed 95% safer than smoking – some may say even higher than that.

Beware the mainstream media promoting the ‘dangers’ of vaping – usually backed up with fake science – and get yourself informed with the facts.

Let’s leave the final word on vaping and associated health issues to none other than the British Heart Foundation.

They have taken a very sensible stance on e-cigarettes and one I wholeheartedly [no pun intended] agree with.

Dr Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director at the BHF said:

We would not advise non-smokers to take up e-cigarettes, but they can be a useful tool for harm reduction and to stop smoking.

[source Heart Matters Magazine]

Footnote: I strongly recommend reading the vaping Bad Science Briefing written by the awesome Clive Bates and Public Health England and their take on vaping.

I have simpler vape tastes these days - I never leave home without a Caliburn G, a Vaporesso Luxe 40 or Innokin EQ FLTR and a CBD vape pen or bottle of CBD drops in my rucksack...or indeed an Aspire Nautilus Prime X in my pocket... At home I'll be using various mods topped with the GeekVape Zeus X RTA or the Signature Mods Mono SQ topped with the Augvape BTFC RDA... I'm a former journalist and now a writer and sometimes author... I'm ex Army - adore dogs and never happier than hiking over the hills or with a good book on a beach.


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