Vaping Health Risk: The Honest Guide
The question of vaping and its potential risks is one that some people ask before embarking on their vaping journey. Some smokers who are looking to make the switch to e-cigs are bombarded with false information and stories spun in an anti-vaping way.
This can lead to people not making the life changing switch from smoking cigarettes to vaping. Let’s take a look at the proposed risks from vaping and why the headlines as usually misleading.
Dangers of Vaping
Risk 1 - Vaping is more addictive than smoking
The evidence actually points towards the fact that vaping is LESS addictive than smoking. Jean-Francois Etter conducted a study in 2015, the results leaned towards a very different outcome. That e-cigarettes were less or similarly additive than the Nicotine Replacement Therapy, nicotine gum. Both of these smoking cessation methods are many times less addictive than traditional cigarettes.
Risk 2 - E liquid causes popcorn lung
Diacetyl is a food additive that the average person is exposed to in trace amounts throughout their life. In 2002 Occupational Health Scientists in the USA identified a chronic lung condition suffered by workers in a popcorn factory, dubbed ‘popcorn lung’. The irreversible lung damage is called constrictive bronchiolitis.
They were chronically exposed to a food additive and inhaled it in large amounts over years. The additive was diacetyl.
Diacetyl was also used as an ingredient in some e-liquids, as it gave a buttery or creamy flavour profile to dessert style e-liquids. Because of this, it was reported that e-liquid had the potential to causes popcorn lung. But the levels contained in e-liquids were low, lower than cigarettes. In fact, tobacco cigarette smoke contains 301-433 ppm of diacetyl per cigarette. This level is far higher than any previously reported in e-cigarette aerosols.
There has never been a recorded case of popcorn lung in relation to vaping. Martin Dockrell, Tobacco Control Lead at Public Health England says:
“One of the most commonly held safety concerns is that e-cigarettes might cause ‘popcorn lung’. UK vapers have nothing to fear on that count. The concern came about because some flavourings used in e-liquids contain a chemical called diacetyl, and that a high level of exposure has been associated with ‘popcorn lung’. However, diacetyl is banned from e-cigarettes and e-liquid in the UK”.
Risk 3 - E-cig batteries explode
E-cigs are an electronic device that require a battery to work. Like any other battery they should be handled with care. All batteries, including your mobile phone or console controller, have the ability to react if mishandled.
Most reports of e-cig batteries ‘exploding’ have been because of user error. The wrong charger being used, loose batteries being kept in a pocket or bag with metal objects. Batteries being pushed beyond their limits, or damaged batteries not being discarded.
All batteries, including those for your e-cig need to be handled with care. If they are looked after properly, the potential for risk is gone.
Risk 4 - Vaping is a gateway to smoking for teenagers
The risk of people starting vaping and this becoming a gateway to smoking has been all proven false. Not only from a common sense prospective, vaping tastes good, smoking tastes disgusting. But also, in the figures of smoking and vaping rates amongst teenagers.
Professor Linda Bauld from Cancer Research UK says it best:
“When e-cigarettes began to become popular, around 2010, 13 per cent of 15-year-olds in Scotland were smokers. By 2015, this figure was now down to 7 per cent, and is just 2 per cent in 13-year olds. If e-cigarettes were causing tobacco use in young people, these trends would be reversed. Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of cancer, and kills more people in Scotland than anything else we can prevent. We must do everything we can to help smokers to stop. That includes being clear about the evidence on e-cigarettes. To do otherwise may cost lives”
Risk 5 - Passive vaping is harmful
Passive vaping is a none vaper inhaling the exhaled vapour from another. All studies completed on this topic so far show that there is absolutely no risk from passive vaping. It poses little, if any danger.
A study completed on this subject stated there is: ‘…no apparent risk to human health from e-cigarette emissions based on the compounds analysed.’
How vaping compares to smoking
One thing that is regularly left out when talking about the ‘risk’ from vaping is the actual risks that people are exposed to if they don’t make the move away from smoking tobacco cigarettes.
Cigarettes contain 4000+ harmful chemicals, including many carcinogens. If you smoker we absolutely know that you are at major risk from many diseases including: Lung Cancer, COPD, Heart Disease, Stroke, Aortic Aneurysm and Oropharyngeal Cancer.
There really is no comparison in terms of risk between vaping and smoking.
What does the evidence say?
The studies that have been completed so far, all point to the fact that vaping is much safer than smoking.
As previously mentioned, some of this scientific research has proven that there is no risk from passive vaping, that the gateway theory is false and that there hasn’t been a recorded case of ‘popcorn lung’ attributed to vaping.
Vaping is backed by Cancer Research UK and Public Health England (PHE). With PHE stating that: Vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking.
Summary – Vaping Is Much Safer Than Smoking