If you’re a smoker who wants to quit and are considering e-cigarettes as an alternative, you probably have some reservations.
And with the way people talk about e-cigarettes (or vaping), who wouldn’t?
There are over a dozen myths circulating around that decry vaping as some sort of strange and mysterious activity that could seriously damage your health.
So we are here to set the record straight today, taking eighteen of the most shocking and common myths and debunking them.
Through this article, we hope you can gather the truth about vaping and how it could actually be beneficial to you.
Here are the 14 myths we’ll be discussing:
- E-liquids are mysterious and dangerous
- You are inhaling formaldehyde
- Nicotine Causes Cancer
- E-liquids contain anti-freeze
- Vaping will give you popcorn lung
- Vaping is as dangerous as smoking
- Vaping is a getaway drug
- Vaping does not prevent smoking
- Vaping will introduce a whole new generation to smoking
- E-cigarettes will explode on you
- Second-hand vapour is dangerous
- E-cigarettes aren’t regulated
- E-cigarettes are full of carcinogens
- Vaping is unproven
1. E-LIQUIDS ARE MYSTERIOUS AND DANGEROUS
Despite e-cigarettes and e-liquids being on the market for quite some time now, there still persists the stubborn myth that e-liquids are mysterious.
You might have heard it from your friends before if you’ve ever mentioned vaping to them.
People often remark “But you know, we don’t even know what’s in that stuff. It could be anything.”
Except that it’s not just anything. In fact, these words are merely a scare tactic designed to keep you away from vaping.
So, let’s get the record straight. What’s actually in the average e-cigarette? Generally only three or four items, including:
- Propylene glycol,
- Vegetable glycerin,
- Natural/artificial flavoring
- Nicotine (optional)
Though some of these names may sound a little strange, these ingredients are found in a wide variety of everyday items, including our food and drinks (except, of course, for nicotine, which is optional in e-cigarettes, anyway).
2. YOU ARE INHALING FORMALDEHYDE
You might be familiar with this now-famous study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which says that vaping causes you to inhale formaldehyde.
While this may sound terrifying at first, it’s important to understand that the study thought found these results was flawed.
Though most vapors will stop when they reach dry-hit conditions, the machines that simulated vaping in the study did not take this reality into account.
Instead, it pushed the vaping to extreme limits and presenting the consequential results as if they were facts.
This means that the study is not taken seriously by many scientists or anyone in the vaping community.
Instead, it is a reminder that vaping in EXTREME excess is dangerous to your health—just like doing almost anything in excess is.
3. NICOTINE CAUSES CANCER
This is really a persistent myth, and it’s one that only pertains to e-cigarettes that contain nicotine.
Still, it’s worth pointing out that the overwhelming majority of scientific studies have proven that nicotine does not, in fact, cause cancer.
Instead, it is the many other thousands of chemicals in traditional cigarettes that lead people to contract lung cancer—chemicals, we might add, that are NOT in e-cigarettes.
This means that even if you choose to vape an e-cigarette that contains nicotine, you will not be putting yourself at higher risk for contracting cancer.
In fact, you are still much better off than if you were smoking a traditional analogue cigarette!
4. E-LIQUIDS CONTAIN ANTI-FREEZE
This is a myth that has absolutely zero scientific-backing, but that hasn’t stopped it from running circles in the vaping field.
A few years back, the media had a field day with the idea that e-cigarettes actually contain a harmful substance known as “anti-freeze.”
Of course, this myth has turned many away from the idea of vaping, when the reality is that e-cigarettes contain nothing like anti-freeze at all.
Rather, one of the main three (or four) ingredients of e-cigarettes is propylene glycol, a substance that is used in anti-freeze.
Note the difference.
Propylene glycol (PG) is merely one of several ingredients found in anti-freeze, meaning that it is not PG itself that is dangerous.
Ironically, it is actually one of the substances included in anti-freeze to make it safer to swallow in case of an accident.
What this essentially means is that e-liquids and anti-freeze have absolutely nothing to do with each other, except for sharing one of the same ingredients.
5. VAPING WILL GIVE YOU POPCORN LUNG
This is another scare-tactic myth that has gained ground in anti-vaping communities.
Popcorn lung is a condition people receive after being exposed to high levels of diacetyl over an extended period of time.
It gets its name from workers who contracted the illness after being around popcorn butter for too long.
While e-cigarettes do contain small amounts of diacetyl (the average vapor consumes about 9 micrograms per day), these levels are far from harmful.
In fact, they’re much lower than the 6,718 micrograms a smoker is exposed to on a daily basis.
We can begin to see a pattern here.
Though these myths seem dangerous and potentially harmful on the surface, when you look at the numbers, they just don’t add up.
6. VAPING IS JUST AS DANGEROUS AS SMOKING
This is honestly a myth that doesn’t make sense from the start.
Because most e-cigarettes contain only three or four ingredients, it doesn’t make sense to say that they are just as harmful as regular cigarettes, which contain thousands of toxic chemicals.
And if the very premise of this is not enough to convince you, you can turn to a body of evidence by health professionals.
For instance, UK health officials have confirmed that e-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful compared to smoking tobacco cigarettes.
To add to this, studies like the one led by Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, a doctor based in Athens, Greece, have found that e-cigarettes are healthier than traditional cigarettes.
I think I’ll listen to the experts and not the media on this one!
7. VAPING IS A GETAWAY DRUG
Maybe you’ve heard, vaping is a gateway drug. But then again, what isn’t these days?
In all seriousness, there is absolutely no credibility to the idea that vaping is a gateway to anything, including smoking.
When it comes down to it, this is a nation that simply doesn’t make sense.
The large majority of vapers are not teens or young adults who have never tried smoking before, but instead are healing smokers who are ready to kick the habit once and for all.
This means that claims that try and posit vaping as some type of mysteriously harmful gateway substance are patently false.
8. VAPING DOES NOT PREVENT SMOKING
There are some who claim that vaping does not, in fact, help people to stop smoking. Instead they claim that it merely becomes a supplement for those who are already used to cigarettes.
And while it is definitely true that some people vape and smoke, an overwhelming majority of vapers are ex-smokers who have cut the habit considerably or altogether.
In any case, those who vape and smoke are generally smoking much less than they were before, so even in those cases where someone participates in both activities, there appear to be long-term health benefits.
One way in which a lot of people do quit smoking through vaping is by gradually decreasing the amount of their nicotine intake.
9. VAPING WILL INTRODUCE A WHOLE NEW GENERATION TO SMOKING
This is a myth that is designed to scare parents and teachers into believing that vaping will actually have an adverse effect.
While it is true that even before the production of e-cigarettes that smoking rates had been going down, it is also safe to say that youth today already know what smoking is and why they should refrain from it.
The point of this is that e-cigarettes are not introducing a new generation to the concept of smoking, as most adolescents know of the habit and choose not to participate in it.
Rather, e-cigarettes are merely a great way for current smokers to gradually end their bad habit and take better care of their health.
10. E-CIGARETTES WILL EXPLODE ON YOU
Though this sounds crazy, there is evidence to suggest that mishandling of the lithium-ion batteries of e-cigarettes can cause them to explode on you.
This is usually a result of improper handling of e-cigarette batteries, including one man who removed the battery completely and deposited it in his pocket.
And while there are some pretty extreme cases of e-cigarette explosions, it should be noted that only twenty-five such occurrences were documented between 2009 and 2014.
Battery explosions usually occur after individual modification of purchased e-cigarettes or the exposure of the cigarettes to high temperatures for an extended period of time.
In other cases, overcharging or charging too quickly can lead batteries to explode, and much of the success rate of the lithium-ion batteries depends on the quality of the e-cigarette.
So while this does mean individuals should exercise caution, understand battery safety and and use their e-cigarettes as directed, it also means that—if operating under normal conditions—you are not likely to be victim of an e-cigarette explosion.
For more information on the causes of e-cig battery explosions read our battery safety e-cig guide here.
11. SECOND-HAND VAPOUR IS DANGEROUS
One of the most common myths floating around out there is that “second-hand” vapour is dangerous to nearby people.
This obviously stems from the reality that second-hand smoke IS dangerous to those in the nearby vicinity, even causing cancer in certain individuals who are exposed to second-hand smoke for prolonged periods of time.
In reality, “second-hand vapor” is guilty of doing nothing but making the air smell a little bit sweeter. There have been no studies that have linked the substance to any dangerous results in passerby.
Rather, e-cigarettes seem much healthier and less offensive to all involved parties, whether they be first or second-hand.
12. E-CIGARETTES AREN'T REGULATED
Okay, so this one is just simply not true.
There is absolutely no credence to the idea that e-cigarettes are unregulated and that just anyone can buy them. In fact, you have to be an adult to buy e-cigarettes.
People like to throw this myth around to make it seem like vaping will become some sort of inter-generational epidemic, but their ideas just don’t hold up.
The FDA regulates e-cigarettes by putting them into the same category as tobacco in the US, which makes no sense, and the TPD has all kinds of regulations across Europe.
13. E-CIGARETTES ARE FULL OF CARCINOGENS
We honestly do not know how or why this myth was started, but it is simply not true.
Scientifically speaking, traditional cigarettes are much more packed with carcinogens than e-cigarettes, which barely contain any carcinogenic material.
This is just one way in which e-cigarettes are actually more beneficial to your health than traditional smoking.
14. VAPING IS UNPROVEN
Frankly, this myth is one that proves that a large amount of people who criticise vaping are simply speaking out of both sides of their mouths.
Why do we say that?
Because one cannot say that “vaping is PROVEN to be dangerous” (it’s not) on the one hand, and then come back and say “but we don’t even know about its effects” on the other.
If you are against vaping, you must say one or the other, but not both, unless you are merely referring to the potential long-term effects of the habit.
There are several studies that have been done on the healthiness of vaping.
None of them show any indication that vaping is more (or even as) harmful to the human body as regular smoking is.
There are a variety of myths out there that would have you believe vaping is just as bad as or worse than traditional smoking.
On the contrary, however, none of these myths have any semblance of scientific backing or fundamental grounding to lend them credence.
Instead, vaping is—and should be viewed as—a healthy alternative to smoking and a great step to freeing oneself from smoking forever.