Since vaping – the popular term given to the use of vapour-generating electronic cigarettes – is still a burgeoning phenomenon, the misconceptions about it are many. The NHS has rounded up what we know for sure about e-cigarettes on NHS.uk, including news of e-cigarettes’ forthcoming regulation following research by Public Health England, while e-liquid analysis by EL Science and other e-cigarette manufacturers is going some way towards rectifying things.
Here, some of the most common myths about vaping are debunked.
Nicotine intake causes cancer
It’s not the nicotine in a cigarette that causes various types of cancer. Cancer Research UK says on its website that, ‘Nicotine causes addiction in much the same way as heroin or cocaine. It is just as addictive as these ‘harder’ drugs.’ That potential for addiction causes smokers to carry on ingesting the carcinogens produced by burning tobacco – the actual cause of many smoking-related cancers.
Since no tobacco is burned during the vaping process, no tar is produced and – so far as many scientists can tell – no carcinogens.
E-cigarettes produce as many toxins as cigarettes
When a tobacco cigarette is lit, it produces a cloud containing some 4,000 dangerous chemicals. And since, as we know, e-cigarettes contain no tobacco and therefore produce no tar, that chemical cloud is vastly reduced when you vape. In fact, Public Health England concluded that vaping was about 95 per cent safer than tobacco smoking in a report from August 2015.
Vaping leads to smoking
Some anti-smoking lobbyists consider vaping to be a gateway activity to the smoking of tobacco cigarettes. Yet, returning to the Public Health England research once more, the inverse is true. More and more people are ditching cigarettes in favour of e-cigarettes, so much so that e-cigarettes are now the most popular stop-smoking aid in the UK. The same study also found that the rise in e-cigarette use has been matched by a corresponding drop in cigarette smoking.
Secondhand vaping is unhealthy
Since the majority of e-liquids – the substance that is heated and turned into vapour by an e-cigarette – are composed of only five ingredients (propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, flavouring, water and the hit-giving nicotine), there’s little to fear from walking into someone else’s vapour cloud. These are mainly food-grade by-products that cause no harm. However, it ought to be stressed that research is still ongoing into the long-term effects of vaping, and until those effects are clarified, adverse health impacts cannot be discounted.
E-liquids are designed to attract youngsters
The pop flavours many e-liquids are available in are thought by some to be deliberately aimed at kids. Sweet, sugary flavours such as apple, strawberry and even chocolate undoubtedly appeal to kids, but any e-cigarette manufacturer would insist that these flavours are simply added to improve the vaping experience. After all, the key ingredients are all essentially flavourless, and a taste and smell helps to reinforce to the vaper that they are actually inhaling something.
These are just some of the most commonly raised inaccuracies about vaping. The best advice is this: don’t be afraid to research vaping for yourself to sort fact from fiction.