3 notorious vaping myths & the scientific research that debunks them
In this post-Trumpian world of fake news, alternative facts, and just plain lies, smokers considering the switch to vaping are often confused by what they read online. Is vaping safe? Or is it just as deadly as smoking?
Depending on the articles that you are reading online, the answers to those questions may be as different as night and day. Here are three of the most notorious vaping myths ever told, along with the scientific evidence that debunks them beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Vaping is a gateway to smoking, especially for teens and young adults.
There are hundreds of so-called “research studies” floating around online that make the preposterous claim that vaping leads to smoking. But to debunk this myth, all we have to do is travel to the website of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In June 2017, the CDC published data which clearly indicates that smoking rates among high school students are on the decline.
Agency officials also tracked teen vaping rates and determined that this, too, is trending downward. Between 2011 and 2015, teen e-cig use rose from 1.5 percent to 16.0 percent before tumbling to 11.3 percent in 2016.
E-cigarette vapor is filled with formaldehyde.
First of all, random samplings of most room-temperature air will register trace levels of formaldehyde. However, in the case of vaping, this abhorrent myth got its start from a bogus research paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in 2015. In fact, a group of forty academics wrote to the NEJM and argued that the “research” was not based in basic scientific protocols and should be retracted immediately.
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The pro-vaping researchers pointed out that the NEJM article used excessively high vaping temperatures to well-above 800 degrees Fahrenheit, temperatures which no vaper would ever endure simply because the e-liquid would taste like cow dung.
Unfortunately, the burning of e-liquids at 800-degrees does indeed produce abnormal levels of formaldehyde. But many experts assume that the NEJM co-authors either intentionally cranked up the heat to manipulate the results, or perhaps they just didn’t know how to vape properly.
Vaping leads to popcorn lung.
Before vaping came along, most people had never heard of the disease called popcorn lung. Now, it’s a standard word in nearly everyone’s vocabulary. Funny how a pitiful piece of propaganda can find its way into the American Subculture of Vaping.
Once again, this story is based in a tweaked version of real-life events posted in an online publication. Back in the day when vaping was just becoming mainstream, a group of factory workers accused their employer of poisoning them with a chemical called diacetyl that was used in the plant. This chemical was once a common ingredient of many e-liquids at the time, and it is known to cause bronchiolitis obliterans, otherwise known as popcorn lung. But you have to ingest huge quantities of the stuff to get the disease.
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Long-story-short, 99 percent of e-liquid manufacturers around the globe no longer use diacetyl in their e-liquids. The industry self-regulated this chemical out of the marketplace almost entirely several years ago.
However, just to drive home the point that this popcorn lung story is completely bogus, refer to the air sampling study conducted by academics of Drexel University. The report entitled Peering through the mist: systematic review of what the chemistry of contaminants in electronic cigarettes tells us about health risks is readily available for review in its entirety on the BMC Public Health website.
Drexel scientists led by Dr. Igor Burstyn monitored the air quality of several California vape shops, and they found no significant evidence of dactyl, formaldehyde, acrolein, hydrocarbons, smoking-related carcinogens, or other contaminates in the secondhand vapor. Yes, the popcorn lung story is also a monumental myth of majestic proportions designed to scare the bejeezus out of smokers who want to quit through vaping.
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