In this age of fast-paced news and sensational headlines, there is a constant stream of new reports on e-cigarettes, some true, and some… well not so much. Here are some of the most common myths you’ll find out there, disproved and debunked.
Using E-Cigarettes is the Same as Smoking Cigarettes
It is unfortunate that they are even called e-cigarettes, as it so closely ties them to regular cigarettes. Most people lump e-cigarettes right in with regular ones, causing them to be considered more bad than good. E-cigarettes are very different from regular cigarettes.
First developed in China, the e-cigarette was introduced to the U.S. market in 2007. The appearance of many e-cigarettes may be one clue into why e-cigarettes are mistaken for a regular tobacco product, but educated users know the difference. E-cigs are vaporizers. They do not burn tobacco, but instead heat up the e-liquid, turning it into a vapor. When you describe it, it doesn’t sound like a cigarette at all. That’s because it’s not.
E-Cigarettes are a Tobacco Product
As much as it sounds like it is, an e-cigarette is not a tobacco product. They usually contain nicotine, though not always, and a mix of ingredients designed to deliver a pleasurable vaping experience. E-liquid used in e-cigarettes contains four ingredients: water, vegetable glycerin or propylene glycol, flavoring, and nicotine. Compare that ingredient list to that of traditional cigarettes, which has over 600 ingredients in them. When burned, cigarettes introduce their users to more than 7,000 chemicals. Of these 7,000 chemicals, 69 of them are known to cause cancer and many others are poisonous. E-cigarettes are far different from a tobacco product, and while they are often lumped together with these toxic and chemical laden cigarettes, they are clearly a different animal.
They are a Gateway for Teens to Begin Smoking
They myth that e-cigarettes are a gateway is plastered all over the news and social media almost every time someone reports on e-cigarettes. Some propose that the flavors and packaging are enticing to adolescents and teens, but the evidence seems to dispute this fact. Very few first-time smokers try e-cigarettes. Even if they did, there is no evidence that they would progress to traditional smokes as a result of their e-cigarette use.
One study focusing on the gateway hypothesis was performed by Dr. Ted Wagener from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. He presented his research at the American Association for Cancer Research last year and he concluded that only one young person out of 1,300 college students studied began nicotine user with vapor products rather than traditional cigarettes. Another survey, completed by the Action on Smoking and Health, revealed that experimenting with electronic cigarettes, or using them on a regular basis, is linked closely to pre-existing smoking habits.
The study revealed that children and young people who were smokers of traditional cigarettes were the ones more likely to have experimented with e-cigarettes rather than those who had never smoked.
E-Cigarettes Devices Explode
The headlines have become more and more prevalent, shocking stories about how someone just dodged death or serious injury as their electronic cigarette exploded. Upon closer examination, however, you will find these so called explosions are attributed to using the wrong charging cord. When a different charger, one not provided with the device, is used there is a slight chance that the wrong voltage could be sent to the device and cause it to overheat. This is actually a danger with many chargeable devices, not just e-cigarettes.
Your E-Liquid Contains Anti-Freeze
Of all the convoluted myths out there, this one is perhaps the most prevalent. However, it is highly untrue as well. Some e-liquids contain propylene glycol (PG), an ingredient found in anti-freeze. The FDA has categorized PG as “generally recognized as safe.” PG is also non-toxic and used in some respiratory treatments. You can find PG in certain beers, boxed cake mixes, margarine, flavored coffee, and even Pop Tarts. Makes it seem a lot less dangerous now, doesn’t it?
Because E-Cigarettes Contain Nicotine, They Are Bad for You
Most e-cigarettes do contain nicotine, which is an addictive product, and that cannot be denied. While it is addictive, however, nicotine does not promote the development of cancer. The Royal College of Physicians in London says there are no grounds to assert that nicotine alone has long-term health effects. The researchers go so far as to say, “Electronic cigarettes and other nicotine-containing devices offer massive potential to improve public health, by providing smokers with a much safer alternative to tobacco. They need to be widely available, and affordable to smokers.”
Second Hand Vapor is Dangerous
Lately, more and more cities and businesses are enacting bans on the public’s use of e-cigarettes. While there is still little evidence of the effect of second-hand vapor, the vapor is almost night and day different from tobacco smoke. Researchers at the University of Southern California found second-hand vapor from e-cigarettes exhibited an overall 10-fold decrease in exposure to harmful particles when compared to cigarette smoke.
With so much misinformation about e-cigarettes swirling around the media and the Internet, it is important to adopt a filter to decipher myth from fact. There is still much to be researched and discovered about e-cigarettes and their long-term effects. The public needs to stay informed and look beyond the sensational headlines, for a real change in public health to take place.