Over the last decade and a bit, many people smoked their last cigarette thanks to vaping.
Many have gone on to quit nicotine altogether.
The UK government has identified vaping as a huge public health opportunity. They’ve also identified that ‘vaping myths’ are stopping people from using the best current method for quitting smoking.
In this article we’ll take a look at some of these myths – and why they are wrong.
“VAPING IS AS HARMFUL AS SMOKING”
Nicotine is one of the addictive elements found in a cigarette. However, most of the harm from smoking comes not from the nicotine but the smoke.
As tobacco smoke cools down, thousands of chemicals and dozens of carcinogens are created. Vapour, on the other hand, either doesn‘t carry those carcinogens or carries them at the fraction of the level of smoking. Ongoing research is helping to make vaping safer by eliminating any remaining particles of concern caused by ingredients.
E-cigarettes have also been the focus of multi-year studies, which showed that switching to vaping can reverse the harm from smoking diseases.
After multiple annual reviews of the evidence, Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians state that e-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than tobacco, and carry just 0.5% of the risk of cancer.
“SECOND HAND VAPOUR IS HARMFUL”
We’ve already seen that vaping is far less harmful than smoking. What’s more, vapour dissipates faster than smoke, which means people are less likely to breathe in vapour produced by e-cigarettes.
Perhaps that’s why studies into passive vaping have not found any evidence of harm. For example, a study by Flouris et al found that, in contrast to secondhand cigarette smoke, second hand vapour had no impact on non-vapers’ blood.
A second study found that “…the quality and quantity of chemicals released to the environment are by far less harmful for the human health compared to regular tobacco cigarettes.”
“E-CIGARETTES ARE NOT EFFECTIVE AS A QUIT SMOKING AID”
The UK collects a lot of data around vaping and smoking. That helps us to look at the “real world picture”.
For example, in 2019 we can see that while 1.4 million people both smoked and vaped, 2 million people had completely switched from vaping to smoking.
That only tells parts of the story. A further 2.2 million people had first switched from smoking to vaping – before then giving up both completely.
After reviewing the evidence, Public Health England agrees, pointing out that:
- in 2017 alone, vaping increased the number of people quitting smoking by 50,000
- combining vaping with support from stop smoking services is THE most effective way to quit smoking.
“VAPING IS MORE ADDICTIVE THAN SMOKING”
Nicotine is only one of the addictive elements in cigarettes. Vaping replaces the nicotine you get from cigarettes, but without the other addictive elements. Addictive elements found in tobacco cigarettes, but not in vapour, include:
A number of studies have also demonstrated that vaping is less addictive than smoking. For example, researchers found that smokers need nicotine more quickly after waking up than vapers. In addition, experimental use with vaping does not usually lead to addiction, in stark contrast to smoking.
“E-LIQUID GIVES YOU POPCORN LUNG”
‘Popcorn lung’ is caused by diacetyl. High levels of diacetyl in popcorn factories in the USA have caused ‘popcorn lung’.
EU and UK regulations forbid the use of diacetyl in e-liquid. There may be diacetyl found in e-liquid in other countries, however tests have usually shown these to be much lower than that found in cigarettes. Cigarettes are not known to cause popcorn lung.
There are no proven instances of a vaper contracting popcorn lung because of e-cigarette use.
To learn more about vaping myths – as well as the benefits of vaping – why not watch this excellent video by Yorkshire Cancer Research: