The debate surrounding vaping has given birth to a legion of myths and misconceptions. What was initially designed as a safer alternative to traditional tobacco products has often been vilified in media. This article will address and debunk several of the most prevalent myths including the popcorn lung myth, the formaldehyde scare, the gateway to smoking myth, and a handful of other misconceptions surrounding nicotine-free vaping, secondhand vaping, vape explosions, and vaping and cancer rumors. It’s time to separate the vaping safety facts from fiction.
Myth 1: Vaping Causes ‘Popcorn Lung’
The popcorn lung myth originates from the association between diacetyl, a flavoring compound used in popcorn factories, and a severe lung disease dubbed ‘popcorn lung’. Diacetyl was found in some early e-cigarette liquids, fuelling this myth. However, research shows that the levels of diacetyl in vapes are significantly lower than in traditional tobacco products, and not all e-liquids contain diacetyl nowadays.
Myth 2: Vapes are Packed with Formaldehyde
This misconception arose from a flawed study where researchers overheated ‘vape juice’, producing formaldehyde. In reality, Public Health England’s study showed that such overheating (known as a ‘dry puff’) is avoided by real-world vapers as it leads to an unpleasant taste.
Myth 3: Vaping is a Gateway to Smoking
The gateway to smoking myth implies that vaping encourages non-smokers, particularly youths, to start smoking traditional cigarettes. In reality, a study conducted by Action on Smoking and Health reported that over 90% of regular vapers are ex-smokers, suggesting that vaping is more often used as smoking cessation tool, rather than a gateway to smoking.
Myth 4: There’s No Such Thing as Nicotine-Free Vaping
Contrary to popular belief, there are indeed nicotine-free e-liquids available on the market. Such e-liquids can aid those wishing to quit nicotine altogether by helping to satisfy oral fixation without the addictive substance.
Myth 5: Secondhand Vaping is Just as Dangerous as Secondhand Smoking
Secondhand vaping misconceptions usually draw parallels to secondhand smoking. However, comprehensive studies show that exhaled vapor contains minimal amounts of nicotine and no combustion-related toxins, making it significantly less harmful than secondhand smoke.
Myth 6: Vaping Causes Cancer
Vaping and cancer rumors have been fueled by misleading headlines and misconceptions. While the long-term health effects of vaping are still under study, well-respected organizations such as the Royal College of Physicians in the UK have found that vaping is likely to be significantly less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes, which are known carcinogens.
Myth 7: Vapes Often Explode
Vape explosions make for sensational media coverage but they are, in fact, extremely rare. The vast majority of these incidents occur due to improper battery handling or device misuse. Furthermore, the evolution of vaping technology and regulation has culminated in safer devices.
In conclusion, while every consumer should be well-informed about any potential health impacts and should use vaping devices responsibly, it’s equally crucial to base our views and decisions on credible research rather than unfounded myths. As more research is conducted, it becomes increasingly clear that many of the fears and myths surrounding vaping are not supported by science.