From the ludicrous ‘e-cigarettes don’t help smokers quit’ to the absurd ‘youth vaping is an epidemic’, there is no shortage of dangerous vaping myths out there.
More false statements have been made about vaping than any other product in the history of the world – fact.
OK, so I made that up, but given the amount of misinformation about the vape industry, some days it seems that it could be true.
Scare-stories are commonplace around the world and pose a serious threat to public health, making smokers scared to quit.
And when people are discouraged from switching to reduced risk products there is one inevitable consequence…more smokers will die unnecessarily.
The US-based consumer advocacy group CASAA (Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association) is dedicated to protecting the rights of vapers, regularly speaking up for them to policymakers and politicians.
CASAA also works hard to educate and increase public awareness about vaping and with so much false information out there, this is no mean feat.
Here is a selection of the most popular vaping myths they highlight on their website and the truth behind them.
For more information check out the CASAA website.
The Vaping Myths Vs The Facts
1. E-Cigarettes don’t help smokers quit
A variety of studies conclude that vapour products help people quit smoking.
Most notable is a randomised controlled clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2019 which found that nicotine-containing vapour products were nearly twice as effective as traditional nicotine replacement therapies (like gums and patches) to help people quit smoking.
2. E-Cigarettes are a trojan horse by tobacco companies
While most major tobacco companies now have their own branded e-cigarettes, these products were not created by tobacco companies to “hook future generations,” as many activists claim.
Vapour products were invented by people who smoke, for themselves, because they were frustrated with the low success rates of traditional nicotine replacement products.
3. Vaping exposes users to more formaldehyde than cigarettes
This claim comes from a single defective study published in 2015 in the New England Journal of Medicine in which researchers improperly used e-cigarette devices by overheating them, and effectively “burning” the wicking material, instead of aerosolizing the liquid.
This phenomenon, known as ‘dry hits,’ is the only way to achieve such high levels of formaldehyde but because of how harsh and intolerable the resulting vapour is, the user immediately stops vaping when this happens.
4. E-liquids contain antifreeze
Vaping liquids contain the ingredient propylene glycol (PG), which is also an ingredient used in antifreeze. What this myth leaves out is that PG is also a common food additive and it is used in antifreeze as a replacement for ethylene glycol in order to make antifreeze safer and non-toxic – especially for small children and pets.
5. E-cigarette batteries often explode
E-cigarettes use lithium-ion batteries, the same battery chemistry used in many cell phones, laptops, and other consumer electronics.
While battery explosions and fires can happen with any of these products (usually due to improper use or a manufacturing defect) it is generally rare.
6. Vaping causes heart attacks
Nicotine use is not without risk, especially for those with pre-existing cardiovascular issues, but there is substantial evidence that switching from cigarette smoking to vaping significantly improves vascular health.
7. Vaping was responsible for the EVALI deaths
The ‘EVALI’ lung injuries and deaths identified in December 2019 were caused by exposure to THC-containing vapour products, which also contained vitamin E acetate.
The lung injuries were not caused by nicotine-containing e-cigarettes. Conflating THC vapour products with nicotine vapour products in the case of EVALI is comparable to blaming all leafy-green vegetables for an outbreak of e-coli, when it’s really just a bad batch of spinach.
8. Youth vaping is a gateway to smoking
This claim comes from data showing that youth who experiment with cigarette smoking are likely to experiment with vaping, and vice versa.
There is currently no data to support a causal link between the two, let alone a “gateway” effect. In fact, according to the latest research, the most likely causal link between vaping and smoking is that vaping is diverting young people from experimenting with smoking.
9. Youth vaping is an epidemic
Youth experimentation with vaping increased in 2018 and 2019, but actually decreased in 2020. Additionally, the data most often reported only covers experimentation (trying vaping –even one puff – in the last 30 days), not regular or habitual use. Daily use of vapour products by adolescents remains relatively low, under five percent as of 2020.
10. Flavoured vapour products are designed to attract kids
Flavoured vape products, including fruit, candy, and dessert flavours, were designed by and for adults. Surveys of adult vapers clearly show a strong preference for fruity, dessert, and sweet/candy flavours over all other flavour categories.
Looking for more myth-busting facts?
Take a look through some of our other news articles to learn more about vaping and the vape industry. Or have a read of our article on the common misconception that smoking ‘calms the nerves’.