6 Misconceptions About the Dangers of E-Cigarettes and Vaping
Even with a broad acceptance of vaping as an alternative to traditional nicotine products, many misconceptions still exist about the dangers of e-cigarettes.
Many people are still under the impression that e-cigarettes are as harmful as traditional smoking, if not worse. These ideas often stem from misunderstood science, unsupported evidence and lack of exposure to clear and detailed evidence rebuking these claims.
Read on to have a look at some misconceptions around e-cigarettes and vaping and why these claims are unfounded. We ensure to back up our evidence with academic studies, healthcare organisations, and UK government projects.
1. E-Cigarettes Are Not an Alternative to Smoking
The most common misconception is that e-cigarettes, in no way, help smokers to reduce their traditional smoking habits.
This idea suggests that these products actually encourage nicotine use and are not viable as an alternative to smoking. Many people base this opinion on campaigns based on little evidence and are unaware of many accredited studies that prove just the opposite.
Take, for example, a 2019 trial funded by the National Institute for Health and published in the New England Journal of Medicine. In randomised trials, researchers found that e-cigarettes were significantly more effective compared to traditional nicotine-replacement products to help smokers reduce their smoking habits.
Beyond that, according to the NHS, e-cigarettes are proven to be safer for bystanders and reduce health issues associated with second-hand smoke.
2. There Is a Lack of Regulations Associated with the Product
Another unsupported opinion about e-cigarettes is that the government does not oversee what goes into the flavourings and regulate what chemicals are allowed in these products.
This misconception about the lack of oversight leads people to believe that, unlike most products we consume that undergo screening for potential health risks, e-cigarettes are exempt and can contain whatever dangerous chemicals they please.
This myth is easily disprovable. Classified as tobacco-related products, vapes and e-cigarettes in the UK come with strict regulations around quality standards and packing concerns. They are subject to regulation by the UK Medicines products Regulations Agency and must list all ingredients in each product.
3. All Vapes and E-cigarettes Cause Evali
Evali is a shortening of e-cigarettes or vaping use-associated lung injury. The condition became a widespread concern in medical communities after it affected young people who used these products.
Respiratory issues and complaints characterised this condition. The illnesses of a few people led to a common misconception that all vapes and e-cigarettes lead to Evali, which many people still believe.
Clear evidence from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention proves that Evali came from a particular ingredient, vitamin E acetate, which is harmful when inhaled.
Since identifying the actual causes of this condition, cases of Evali are far less common. Yet, the misconception still exists that this problem is a significant issue for users of these products.
4. Flavourings Can Lead to Lung Disease
Many people still believe that e-cigarettes can lead to Bronchiolitis obliterans, colloquially known as ‘popcorn lung’. This misconception stems from the chemical flavouring Diacetyl, which has linkages to health problems.
Diacetyl can indeed cause issues in high amounts. However, it’s not likely in the amounts contained in these kinds of flavourings. Regardless, this is a banned substance in the UK and is not present in any vapour flavourings.
5. Nicotine Is Always Harmful
While cigarettes undeniably lead to cancer and respiratory issues, many people associate this with the nicotine contained in these products. This wrong assumption leads many people to think that vaping and e-cigarettes lead to similar health problems as they also can contain nicotine.
In actuality, tar and carbon monoxide are considered the two most dangerous chemicals found in cigarette smoke. E-cigarette vapour does not contain these substances.
6. Manufacturers Market These Products to Children
One common criticism for vaping and e-cigarette companies is that they market their products to children in an effort to lead young people towards smoking. If this were true, it would be a valid concern. However, this idea merely arises from the opinion that flavouring tobacco adjacent products are a clear marketing decision that aims to draw young people.
According to studies of young people in the U.K. published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, the use of these products are almost entirely among people who already smoke. It is not prevalent among young people who have not smoked previously.
Companies must adhere to strict regulations to market e-cigarettes, including that manufacturers do not advertise to children.
When faced with new technology, sometimes it takes a while to accept new products into daily life. Trying to be discerning about what you put into your body is always encouraged. However, when these concerns lack evidence from authoritative sources, it can lead to misinformation and misconceptions.
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