Clearing up some myths around e-cigarettes

You might have seen some of the stories published by confused media recently regarding the risk of e-cigarettes. Vaping have sparked some controversy in the media and public. It doesn’t come as a surprise that there are lots of misconceptions about e-cigarettes when the sensationalist media is pushing stories about “popcorn lung” and other scary stuff.

So in this post we’ll clear up some of the myths and misconceptions about vaping, using real science and proven facts about vaping from the science community.

If you’re looking for the short answer: when compared to smoking, e-cigarettes are far less harmful.

Now you may ask: who are we to say that? We’re a retailer of e-cigs after all, and as all evil corporations, we’ll promote even the most harmful product if we can make money selling it.


The thing is, we’re not the ones saying this. This view is supported by a number of key bodies, including Cancer Research UK, The Royal College of Physiscians, Action on Smoking and Health, The British Medical Association, and the major US science body, The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Now, that’s a long list of highly respected bodies in the scientific community. The UK national government relies on the facts presented by these people. So we’re doing the same.

Myth #1 – E-cigs give you “popcorn lung”

A commonly held concern is that vaping will lead to “popcorn l ung”. This came about due to some flavourings using a chemical called diacetyl to achieve a buttery flavour. Diacetyl can, at very high levels of exposure, lead to a serious lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans.

The condition got its name because it was observed among workers in a popcorn factory.

However, diacetyl is actually banned as an ingredient from e-liquids in the EU. It has been detected in some e-liquids in the past, but even then at levels hundreds of times lower than in cigarette smoke. Even at those levels smoking is not a known cause of “popcorn lung”.

Myth #2 – We don’t know what’s in them

Not true. The EU has some of the strictest regulation for vaping in the world. The e-cigarettes and the e-liquid are subject to standards of quality and safety, and packaging and labelling requirements to provide you as the consumer with the information you need to make informed choices.

Myth #3 – E-cigarettes must be harmful because they contain nicotine

4 out of 10 smokers wrongly think that nicotine is the cause of the tobacco smoking being harmful. However, evidence shows nicotine has a minimal risk of harm to health. Nicotine is addictive, true, and nicotine is the reason why smokers keep on smoking. But it’s the thousands of other chemicals contained in the cigarette smoke that causes all of the harm.

Since e-cigarettes doesn’t contain tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful chemicals produced by a regular cigarette, it’s much less harmful to  your health.





Myth #4 – Second hand vaping is harmful to bystanders

We all know that second hand smoke is harmful, but e-cigarette liquid is composed of nicotine, propylene glycol and glycerine, plus flavourings. Unlike tobacco smoke, there is no side-stream of vapour emitted by an e-cig, only the exhaled aerosol.

The latest evidence from Public Health England found to date identified no health risks of second hand vaping to bystanders. Some people with asthma can be sensitive to the smell itself, so vapers should be considerate when vaping close to other people.


Myth #5 – E-cigarettes is a gateway to smoking

Public Health England found no evidence to back up this concern. UK surveys show that younger people are experimenting with vaping, but regular use is rare among non-smokers. Meanwhile, the smoking rates among young people in the UK is dropping drastically.

Wrapping up

E-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes are not the same, and shouldn’t be treated the same. The millions of smokers out there who could benefit from e-cigarettes should be spared the fear mongering and bad propaganda from the media, health and tobacco industry.

Public Health England: evidence on e-cigarettes

Key questions and findings from Public Health England e-cigarette evidence update

Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016

Young People’s Use of E-Cigarettes across the United Kingdom: Findings from Five Surveys 2015-2017

Tecord low of 15.5% smokers in England.

UK Government blog

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