Vaping appears to be constantly in the news – most of it fake and sensationalist painting e-cigarettes in a terrible light.
Established vapers can simply shrug off yet another alarmist article or study – but what about smokers thinking about making the switch to vaping?
To say they are probably confused at the conflicting evidence is an understatement.
Recent surveys, studies and reporting casts vaping as downright dangerous to health, and the public’s perception of e-cigarettes as a safe harm reduction option has taken a bit of a pasting, particularly in the USA where a staggering 87.5% of the public believe vaping is more dangerous than smoking!
Whilst I haven’t written the answer to every single commonly asked vaping question – I’ve begun with 7 of the most asked – more will be added over time.
So let’s take a look and try to clear up some of the myths and downright fake reporting around e-cigarettes and vaping.
1. Is Vaping Bad For You?
The mother of ALL commonly asked vaping questions and it’s a question that should indeed be asked. Is vaping bad for you? No doubt you’ve been bombarded with scare stories in the media – so what’s the real truth?
Nothing is 100% safe, however there is a wide and growing consensus from a number of weighty medical professions and organisations that vaping is indeed at least 95% safer than smoking.
Putting that into perspective means that whilst there is a slight risk, the reality is vaping is considerably safer than smoking by a country mile.
But don’t take my word for it.
Professor John Newton, Director for Health Improvement at Public Health England says:
We continue to keep the evidence on e-cigarettes under review.
However smoking kills half of life long smokers and accounts for almost 220 deaths in England every day.
PHE has always been clear that while not completely risk free, UK regulated e-cigarettes carry a fraction of the risk of smoked tobacco.
If you don’t smoke don’t vape.
But if you smoke there is no situation where it would be better for your health to continue smoking rather than switching completely to vaping.
UK medical associations currently supporting vaping as a far safer alternative to smoking includes: Cancer Research UK – Public Health England – British Heart Foundation – British Medical Association – Royal College of General Practitioners – UK Faculty of Public Health – British Psychological Society plus very many more.
So…who are you going to believe? A tabloid scare story or a renowned and highly respected group of medical professionals and associations?
2. Is Nicotine Dangerous?
Another often asked question about vaping.
There’s a widespread misconception that nicotine causes cancer – quite simply that is blatantly untrue.
Sure nicotine is addictive, however, it is closely aligned with the caffeine you find in coffee – which many say they are addicted to!
Used correctly nicotine is a relatively harmless drug and let’s face it, if it was so bad – then why is it perfectly acceptable in patches – gums and sprays?
Once again, don’t take my word for it!
The renowned UK Royal Society for Public Health [RSPH] says:
…nicotine is no more harmful than caffeine.
Getting people onto nicotine rather than using tobacco would make a big difference to the public’s health – clearly there are issues in terms of having smokers addicted to nicotine, but this would move us on from having a serious and costly public health issue from smoking related disease to instead address the issue of addiction to a substance which in and of itself is not too dissimilar to caffeine addiction.
There you have it and from the experts – all this BS making nicotine the big bad dangerous boy is in fact BS 😉
3. What Exactly Is In E-liquids?
OK, your average bottle of e-liquid bought from a reputable source contains: Propylene Glycol – Vegetable Gylcerin – Nicotine and Flavourings.
- PG can be found as the base for among other items asthma inhalers.
- Naturally made from plant oils and found in many things including cough medicines.
- Nicotine as we’ve already found is is none carcinogenic and relatively harmless.
- Flavourings – all food safe.
BTW – I’ll look at commonly asked vaping questions about flavours a little later.
So in essence, the e-liquid you buy from reputable sources, especially here in the UK, is highly regulated and safe.
One since debunked study suggested the heating of the e-liquid created formaldehyde – this is again blatantly untrue as to create that chemical would mean burning the juice at a temperature far far too high for anyone to vape!
As for the anti-freeze myth – again total BS.
It’s true some contain propylene glycol – but that’s as far is it goes. Just another of those myths around vaping used to discredit what is a life saving technology.
Again don’t take my word for it!
A study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics showed animals kept in a glycol filled chamber for many months showed NO damage externally or internally:
Examination at autopsy likewise failed to reveal any differences between the animals kept in glycolized air and those living in the ordinary room atmosphere.
Extensive histological study of the lungs was made to ascertain whether the glycol had produced any generalized or local irritation.
None was found.
The kidneys, liver, spleen and bone marrow also were normal.
More lies and myths rebutted 😉
4. Why So Many Calls For E-Liquid Flavour Bans?
Hysteria is the main answer to this one lol.
It was really only when JUUL arrived in America and reports came in that kids were experimenting because they like the flavours that all this craziness began.
I’ve covered the alleged teen vape epidemic so many times it tends to lead to me banging my head off my keyboard!
The plain fact is – there is NO teen vaping epidemic here in the UK or the US – the ‘numbers’ have just been massaged in an attempt to prove there is!
I wrote a detailed article, linked above, showing the old quote – lies damn lies and statistics – comes into play.
Simply put they asked kids if they’d vaped in the last 30 days and NOT if they were regular vapers. Most kids had said sure they’d tried but not continued to vape – sneaky massaging of the numbers or what!
However, and faced with the growing number of vapers meaning less cash from Tobacco Master Settlement Agreements and indeed sales to Big Pharma and Tobacco, plus the mere hint kids might be hooked on nicotine, led to the panic and hysteria we’re now seeing.
Trump has of course recently responded by banning flavoured sealed cartridges and pods – but the anti vape brigade wants ALL flavoured e-liquids banned – but are NOT attacking lit tobacco in the same way.
Quite simply flavoured e-liquids – even candy flavours – appeal to adults and DO help them quit smoking.
As always it’s about the money honey and NOT science.
And once again, don’t take my word for it.
Professor Michael Siegel is certain flavour bans WILL drive vapers back to smoking and in turn cost lives:
…there are at least 2.5 million adult vapers who rely upon e-cigarettes to keep themselves off highly addictive and deadly tobacco-burning cigarettes.
And most of these former smokers are reliant upon flavored e-liquids, because the whole point of vaping is to get away from the taste of, and dependence on tobacco.
Adults vape flavours too!
5. Is Secondhand Vapour From E-cigarettes Dangerous?
A resounding NO is the simple answer!
This is yet another bad science myth that no matter how many times experts prove there’s no such thing as ‘passive vaping’
And once again don’t take my word for it!
A study by the California Department of Public Health saw undercover monitoring of a number of cloudy filled vape shops.
The results showed:
- Nicotine: Not detected
- Glycidol: Not detected
- Formaldehyde: 7.2 ppb
- Diacetyl: Not detected using standard method
- 2,3-Pentanedione: Not detected using standard method
- Acetyl butyryl: Not detected using standard method
- Acetoin: Not detected using standard method
- Acetone: Not detected
- Ethyl benzene: Not detected
- m,p-Xylene: Not detected
- o-Xylene: Not detected
- Toluene: Not detected
- Acetaldehyde: Not detected
- Acetonitrile: Not detected
- alpha-pinene: Not detected
- Benzene: Not detected
- Chloroform: Not detected
- d-Limonene: Not detected
- Methylene chloride: Not detected
- Methyl methacrylate: Not detected
- n-Hexane: Not detected
- Styrene: Not detected
Remember, these samples were taken in cloud filled busy vape shops using state of the art technology!
And guess what – the ‘scientists’ decided NOT to publish their findings as it didn’t fit the narrative – naughty!
Luckily Professor Michael Siegel was leaked the findings and happily published 🙂
The pro-vaping professor said:
This study adds to the evidence that under real-life conditions, “secondhand vaping” does not appear to pose any significant health risks.
Despite the claims of many anti-vaping organizations, the documented health risks of “secondhand vaping” appear to be minimal.
And this is in an environment with relatively extreme conditions — there was a visible cloud of vapor at times.
So NO there’s no danger from secondhand vapour.
6. Is Vaping Illegal Indoors Within Public Spaces?
This is one of those grey areas and depends on a mixture of country and local bylaws.
Here in the UK there is NO law that exists making vaping ‘illegal’ in pubs – clubs – shopping centres or even cinemas.
What has happened is many local councils – private businesses and employers have created their own rules.
Many of those bans – such as at my local open air train station are simply ridiculous.
Much work is being done by advocacy and vape industry groups to clarify the rules surrounding vaping in public spaces.
Whilst the powerful UK All-Party Parliamentary Group for Vaping [APPG] is pushing for indoor vape bans at work and play to be lifted:
…there remains a perception amongst the public that passive vaping is as harmful as passive smoking and it is crucial for guidance in this area.
Indeed, public vaping bans probably perpetuate this perception; after all why ban it if it is relatively harmless.
7. Is Vaping Dangerous When Pregnant?
Probably one of the most controversial questions out there and you might be surprised by the answer.
I first touched on this tricky issue back in 2016 when the Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group produced a leaflet for UK midwives for advise on vaping when pregnant.
It stated what we all know – that smoking whilst pregnant is extremely dangerous to the unborn child.
However, and at the time it cause major controversy in the mainstream media – it stated:
While licensed NRT (nicotine replacement products) products are the recommended option, if a pregnant woman chooses to use an electronic cigarette and if that helps her to stay smoke-free, she should not be discouraged from doing so.
The great majority of the harm from smoking comes from inhaling tobacco smoke which contains around 4000 chemicals, a significant number of which are toxic.
While it is nicotine that makes tobacco so addictive, it is relatively harmless. Nicotine replacement therapy is widely used to help people stop smoking and is a safe form of treatment, including during pregnancy.
Since then a new study released 12 months ago by the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland says vaping is much safer than smoking for both mother and baby.
It found the use of e-cigarettes during full term pregnancy DOES NOT lead to low birth weight or indeed premature deliveries.
The research was VERY clear:
The use of electronic cigarettes in pregnancy is not associated with low birth weight or preterm delivery.
Both maternal and neonatal outcomes appear to be similar to non-smokers.
To our knowledge, this is the first prospective study on the relationship between electronic cigarette use and maternal and fetal outcomes.
Of course it goes without saying it would be better if pregnant women didn’t smoke or vape, but for those really struggling to quit – making the switch is the healthier option.
Send Us Your Questions About Vaping
I’ve just concentrated on 7 of the most commonly asked vaping questions and of course there are so very many more.
I shall be adding to this overtime but if you have a burning question please do ask it in the comments below.
Whilst I may not have the answer on the tip of my tongue – it will be fingertips away, and with a little bit of research I should be able to find it.