5 Commonly-Believed Myths About Vaping
Have you been taken in by some of the many myths about vaping? Let’s face it, we all love a good myth. From sightings of supernatural beings such as BigFoot and the Loch Ness Monster, to the spell-binding legends of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, myths can be a whole lotta fun!
However, when it comes to vaping, the various myths that surround the use of e-cigarettes can be extremely damaging as it’s been shown that a lot of people are put off by the many misconceptions that sadly still exist.
This should be cause for real concern, not least because vaping has proven itself to be an extremely effective stop-smoking, helping millions of people finally kick the deadly habit which is still responsible for nearly 80,000 annual deaths in the UK alone.
Whether these falsehoods have been conjured up to deter people from vaping, or they’re simply the result of wild theories that got out of hand and caught on, sadly these false beliefs are preventing many smokers from switching to a relatively safe alternative.
So to help put the record straight, here’s 5 myths about vaping that we’re only too happy to thoroughly debunk!
Myth 1: Vaping is Worse than Smoking
This one’s been around since the early days of vaping, but with each definitive study that proves e-cigarettes are significantly safer than smoking – at least 95% safer according to the landmark study carried out by Public Health England (PHE) – it becomes that little bit more ridiculous.
Still, some people genuinely believe that vaping is as dangerous as smoking, despite the fact no death has yet been attributed to the use of e-cigarettes, whereas every year millions of people across the world lose their lives to smoking-related illnesses.
Thankfully, this one’s gradually fading out, but we thought it was best to include it on our list just to clear up any lingering doubt!
Myth 2: Vaping is a Gateway to Smoking for Youngsters
Another headline-grabbing myth that refuses to go away is the one about vaping acting as a gateway to smoking. Every few weeks we hear of some under-qualified “expert” who claims that vape devices are the devil’s work out to get young people hooked on nicotine, which eventually leads to smoking.
The issue with this theory is the evidence to support it simply doesn’t exist. In fact, all the evidence we do have suggests the exact opposite is true!
A recent study carried out by the University of East Anglia analysed data to determine whether flavoured vapes are getting young people addicted to nicotine and eventually cigarettes. After carrying out the research, they said that rather than encouraging youths to take up smoking, in reality far more young people use vaping as a means to quit tobacco.
Moreover, the team carrying out the study said that although flavoured vapes are an aspect young people enjoy, rather than acting as a gateway to tobacco products the choice on offer actually encourages far more young people to switch away from smoking.
Don’t expect this one to disappear anytime soon. It’s a myth the media and World Health Organization (WHO) love to recycle, but regardless of how many times they repeat it, until someone offers any proof to back up the claim then that’s exactly what it is… a myth!
Myth 3: Passive Vaping is a Danger to Bystanders
Passive vaping being dangerous to passer-by is another myth about vaping.
It’s easy to see where this one came from. After all, when we’re using our vape device out in public, if we’re not careful it’s easy to accidentally breathe vapour in the direction of passers-by. This is even more true if you’re using a high-powered sub-ohm device which can produce those thick, dense clouds of vapour.
The worries about passive vaping are a natural reaction to the very serious and well-documented dangers of second-hand smoke; we know from years of studies that passive smoking is a killer, which is the reason we’re no longer able to smoke in public spaces.
However, as we’ve already discussed, vaping doesn’t carry nearly the same health risks as smoking, and according to research conducted by PHE in 2018, there are no identified health risks of passive vaping for bystanders.
The report said: “The Glasser review (73) found that second-hand vapour studies showed that non-users may be exposed to nicotine vapour but the level of exposure was low, and exposure to other compounds were also very low, or at trace or non-detectable levels when compared with second-hand smoke.”
Hopefully this clears up any worries you had, although it’s important to remember that despite the minimal risk of passive vaping, we should still be mindful of others whenever we vape.
Myth 4: There’s a Youth Vaping “Epidemic”
The idea that there’s a vaping “epidemic” among youths is another one that’s been doing the rounds for what feels like forever. This is despite the fact that along with a decline in smoking rates, the number of teens vaping in 2021 dropped in both the UK and in the U.S.
So why do we keep seeing so many articles claiming the number of kids vaping is now off the charts? Well, one reason is that, sadly, sensationalism attracts clicks. Stories like this create panic and hysteria, so these articles generate massive numbers in terms of views and shares which is precisely why some media organisations choose to publish them, regardless of whether they’re true or not!
Another way this theory about a phantom youth vaping epidemic managed to take hold was the outbreak of a mystery lung illness in the U.S a few years ago which killed a number of people – many of them teenagers.
Although e-liquid was initially blamed, it was later established that contaminated THC was actually responsible. Sadly, though, that didn’t stop a knee-jerk reaction from both the FDA and the American government, headed by Donald Trump at the time.
After people first began to take ill, the FDA started talking of a “national youth vaping crisis”, while the Trump administration went as far as to discuss a complete ban on flavoured vapes. Although this plan was eventually ditched, the damage was already done and we’re still hearing about this non-existent problem despite the clear absence of evidence to support it.
Myth 5: Vaping Causes Popcorn Lung
You might be familiar with the idea that vaping can cause “popcorn lung”, and yep, you guessed it, it’s another myth!
“Popcorn lung” is a rare condition that stems from severe damage to the bronchioles, causing irreversible obstruction to the airways. The disease got its name from an outbreak at a microwave popcorn factory where vaporised diacetyl – a chemical linked to the condition – was being used.
Back in 2016, a Harvard study detected diacetyl in a sample of vaping products. This was latched onto by the media and it led to highly-respected publications such as the New York Times and even the American Lung Association publishing articles warning of the dangers of e-cigarettes and the risk of “popcorn lung”.
The problem here is no study has ever been carried out that explicitly links vaping with the disease. Furthermore, diacetyl is also found in cigarettes in much higher concentrations, but nobody ever said smoking causes the condition.
Add this one to your list of thoroughly debunked vaping myths!
So there we have it! Those are 5 of the most common myths about vaping that you’ve most probably heard at one time or another. Hopefully you now have a clearer view of the facts and you’re no longer concerned about issues that never existed in the first place!
If you’re still a little unsure on anything, perhaps you should take a look at our Vaping & Health guide. There, you can find all the information you need regarding vaping and the effect the use of e-cigarettes has on your body.