Given the portrayal of vaping within the media, word of mouth and simple ignorance in the given subject, it isn’t difficult to create myths. For just like anything, those eggs with the rubber aliens giving birth, secret character in Mortal Kombat or elephants being scared of mice. It is easy to have a myth take on far more than just a rumour when enough people believe it. In most cases it generally doesn’t matter, the vaping myths however are far more dangerous due to altering smokers perceptions of vaping. These kinds of rumours are peddled by anti vaping campaigners, government campaigns or even questionable research published. Vaping rumours make headlines around the world, entire stories are created from a simple, for what it is, a myth. These myths then grow into something far more than what they should when people choose to believe them and opinion is then formed. That is the point where they get dangerous because for every smoker believing smoking is better for them due to any given myth, that is a life that won’t be saved from the countless illnesses they will eventually suffer.
So here at Drip Hacks we want to hopefully debunk some of the myths surrounding vaping that you may have heard from somewhere else. We want to get to the heart of these rumours and finally put them to rest, let’s start with a fairly new one but still quite significant.
Vaping apparently kills according to the latest stories being published around the world. I have even had a bus driver ask me this, whilst he was lighting up a cigarette! The story seems to emulate from recent news that people in America have died after vaping which you may have heard about.
The first thing you have to remember is that vaping has been in the industry for around 10 years now, countless research has happened over this time and millions of people have made the switch from smoking. In the past 10 years there have been a total number of 0 deaths directly attributed to vaping, not a single one. The majority of vapers who had made the switch have instead mentioned about improved health, loss of a cough, better airway function etc, the complete opposite of what this myth seems to apply. So to truly debunk the myth, this is where it has come from .
The story relates to recent deaths in America as previously mentioned, but it is what they were vaping that is key here in debunking this myth. The pod style vapes contained THC, an illegal substance especially in large parts of the world. Additionally to this, at least 82% of what was tested contained a substance called Vitamin E Acetate, an oil based substance that was used to thicken the black market E Liquid. Vaping oil is very very dangerous as much as vaping any other chemical that is not designed to be inhaled. Regular Eliquid, despite being mis-described as oils, do not contain any oil whatsoever. No legal Eliquid contains vitamin E acetate nor does it include THC. This is a case of a batch of poorly/dangerously made illegal cartridges being made and shipped as fast as possible which made a lot of people ill. Next time someone mentions about vaping killing people, you can now hopefully explain to them why that is not true.
This has been going on for a long time now ever since the Diacetyl scandal back in 2014-15. Everyone will have heard this myth and it has taken on a life of its own ever since the media ran with the story. A lot of companies were affected by this and had to pull their E Liquids off the market as a result.
This rumour is based around the idea that E Liquid can contain a substance called Diacetyl, used in industry to make tastes buttery. As a result, it is often used in the popcorn industry for those butter popcorn flavours that you buy. As it was detected in the E Liquid, the thought came about that you could get popcorn lung from vaping, which is a severe respiratory illness that is irreversible and potentially fatal.
To Debunk this myth we have to go way back to 2004, where this story begins. A Popcorn Factory in Missouri was reported to have several cases of popcorn lung happen with its workers and was reported as such 4 years later when a link was made to the cause of their illness. These workers were breathing in Diacetyl all day for years before they fell ill as a result and since then the dangers of Diacetyl have been made known. To this date there have been no more cases of popcorn lung occurring in such an instance, with scattered reports being sourced via different means of developing it. It was found that E Liquid had Diacetyl in it back in 2014-15 and a result the fear of popcorn lung arose.
The truth is, the amount of Diacetyl that would be needed to inhale on a regular basis in E Cigarettes and the amount of time required to develop it is non existent. In fact, what is not reported is that there are 100 times MORE Diacetyl in a cigarette than in a high level in E Liquid and to this date there have been 0 cases of popcorn lung being found in smokers. This is a surprise given the 100s of possible illnesses caused by smoking but still, the illness has never been found anywhere else. So to finally debunk this myth, no you can’t get popcorn lung from vaping unless you were just vaping pure Diacetyl every single day in amounts that would be impossible to do.
Water on Lungs / Wet Lungs
This one is a little bit odd as there has never been a true origin to this myth. It is one that I have heard from others over the past 5 years but there has never been a source for it. The idea is that vaping can cause water on the lungs which if un detected, can essentially drown a vaper as a result. There is a medical term for this, pleural edema, literally meaning water on the lung.
Ok so this one probably comes from the idea of water vapour being produced and then inhaled as the fairly obvious cause of this wet lung that is being talked about. To debunk this myth all we need to do is look at how a lung works. The lung absorbs fluid as a natural process, with both our breath and the lung itself containing water of some sort. When the lung develops too much fluid in the lung then you get the pleural edema and then your respiratory system starts to fail. For it to occur naturally then it is fluid leaking from the blood and it can have some nasty effects leading all the way up to a lung failure, where does vaping effect this though?
It can’t is the short answer. When you inhale E Liquid, it is absorbed into the lungs much like the air we breathe. The lungs take in the nicotine and we breathe the excess out with each breath again, like air. So naturally vaping cannot cause a build up in the lung because it never stays in the lungs long enough to be able to build up. There is a very small risk of it happening but that is dependency on the lung becoming inflamed and even then you would have to vape a lot of E Liquid to create a build up in the lungs. Chances are, if you have inflamed lungs then that will cause a whole host of issues before you even got to the point of building up fluid.
So in short, vaping naturally won’t cause water on the lung, as the normal lung function won’t store any water to begin with.
Nicotine is Harmful
This myth seems to stem from the idea that nicotine is a very dangerous chemical to inhale due to the effect it will have in smoking. After all you inhale nicotine in your cigarette and can get very sick from it as a result. So this myth is more an assumption rather than a story being spread, how many of us really understand what nicotine is?
So this story really comes from the effect of smoking rather than the effect of nicotine and the danger that is added to the overall cause. So let us have a quick look at what nicotine is as an inhalant. Nicotine is a compound that is extracted from the tobacco plant and is classed as both a stimulant and a sedative. It is classed as a drug due to the addictive nature of taking it which is why cigarettes are difficult to quit from. It releases Dopamine which gives the user a buzz, again part of the reason why we all smoked at some point in our lives.
Is it harmful though? There are side effects to nicotine that include increasing glucose in the body that can effect insulin, reducing the amount created. It creates dependencies and in very high does can have effects on the brain , and digestive system if swallowed. In its pure form then nicotine can also be classed as a poison due to the toxicity if swallowed. So in a word it can be harmful yes, normally in very high doses and via ingestion rather than inhaling, but there are side effects.
However, Nicotine to a user, in the levels that are used in vaping (and smoking) are not dangerous at all. The effects can be compared similarly to something like Caffeine, another drug that we regular take on a daily basis. Declaring the dangerous effect of nicotine is akin to comparing the danger of drinking too much coffee or energy drinks, excessive usage leading to negative effects. So as a component of vaping, Nicotine is addictive but it isn’t dangerous to inhale. As vapers use E Cigarettes then the addictive nature of nicotine does decrease which is why you see a great number of people use vaping as a means to quit. Next time you mull the negative effects of nicotine over your morning coffee, just remember that anything is dangerous in large consumption, even water!
Vaping is safe
This one we will end on simply as a balanced argument in this article because this is something that does get said within the vaping community and by default it is not 100% true. Have you ever read or heard someone say vaping is ‘safe’?
The idea that vaping is safe comes from the added benefits that comes from vaping when you make the switch to smoking. Tobacco contains over 600 ingredients and when ignited, creates thousands of chemicals which makes it so unhealthy to smoke. Therefore, making the switch to vaping is a significantly better choice as you only have 4 ingredients in E Liquid, none of switch are ignited as the E liquid is heated rather than burned. So many vapers have had their health improve as a result of making the switch with increased lung functionality , coughs/colds less frequent and even better skin. It is completely true, as backed by the Public Health of England, that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking.
It isn’t however safe, not in the broad term of the word. You are still voluntary inhaling something that the body does not need, as the best thing to do is to inhale only fresh air as even nicotine free E Liquid is still inhaling a substance into the lungs that does not need to be there. . Similarly you are inhaling nicotine which is still a drug no matter in what method you use to inhale it. So you create/maintain that dependency even after quitting smoking for good. So in this circumstances it is terminology and meaning to debunk this one, as the motive may be there but not the right context. Vaping isn’t safe, it is SAFER than smoking by at least 95% compared to smoking tobacco. However if you have never smoked before, then it is advisable that you do not start vaping as inhaling anything is probably not a good ides if you don’t need to.