5 Top Vaping Myths Exposed
There are many vaping myths being bantered about and it is true, this could have easily been called the 10 top or 20 top vaping myths but tackling these 5 will help people understand vaping better. Better understanding will help people decide if they are supportive of vape friendly laws or vape restrictive laws. Laws for vaping products and vapers are currently being debated and enacted everywhere vaping is found. Are they laws based on what we think we know or what we truly know? Are the laws creating barriers for adults or simply restricting access for minors, something we all share as a common goal. More importantly, for those investing a few minutes to watch this, do you know how vaping and nicotine truly impact public health?
My name is Gary Wood – I’m an old management engineer, trained in industrial engineering techniques by the Air Force; taught to always find the root cause of problems before working on a fix. Laws are written to fix challenges so it is critically important we know the root cause of the challenge or we end up with bad law. I’ve also been involved in post-secondary education for over 12 years now and we know, as Herbert Spencer taught, “The great aim of education is not knowledge, but action.” Educated action is another key to having successful laws improving public safety as opposed to laws representing over regulation and a barrier to public safety and health. Let’s take a look at the 5 top myths as we strive to get to the root cause of the problem known as vaping…
Ask 20 people on the street or 20 representatives in a state capital and you will likely get the same mix of answers to the simple question, is it good or bad, safe or dangerous. Listen in on committee hearings or just follow discussions online to begin hearing some of the ‘logical’ fallacies that are common among the anti-vaping crowd. Much of their disagreement is based on a claim of lack of evidence, a claim valid back in 2007 when cig-a-likes and the early electronic cigarettes were first starting to capture attention. Claims today about metals, cheap overseas products, bad Chinese e-liquids, and the ideas of ‘we don’t know what’s in these things’ all began when the debate began except today those claims are not valid.
Much of this early misunderstanding and concern has grown into the vaping myths of today. One such myth is that nicotine is the bad apple spoiling the barrel, that it is nicotine which connects e-cigarettes to cigarettes and we know cigarettes and smoking lead to about 443,000 deaths each year in the U.S. Can you imagine living in a city of 128,000 and all living there have lung cancer or ischemic heart diseases. We know cigarettes are bad, so is vaping bad as well? Is nicotine and vaping properly classified with smoking and tobacco? Is nicotine really the reason so many are dying?
Myths surrounding vaping begin rooted in a known connection between nicotine and smoking combined with the name of the new products, e-cigarettes. The logic flows; e-Books are still books, you read them. E-cigarettes are still cigarettes, you smoke them. This creates the same-same connection. To see if this is real or a myth we need to answer whether they are truly the SAME or if vaping and smoking products really are different.
The health risks of smoking are well documented. 50%, 1 out of every 2 long term smokers die from tobacco. Every cigarette cuts 5 minutes of life on average – about the time it takes to smoke. Smoking is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death – preventable. Cigarettes contain more than 4,000 toxic or carcinogenic chemicals. 1 out of 4 heart disease victims and 3 out of 4 chronic bronchitis victims are smokers. Burning tobacco, the process of delivering nicotine when smoking, is dangerous. E-cigarettes, or what is more accurately defined today as vaping products, do not contain the dangerous toxins of cigarettes – quite differently, there is no tobacco, no tar, no carbon monoxide, no second hand smoke, no smelly clothes, no ashtrays, no cigarette butts, no smoker’s cough.
When adults are given a choice between smoking cigarettes or using a vaporizer there is a clear and accurate fact; these products are not the same and vaping products provide a much safer product and superior delivery system, period. Myth 1 is exposed as very inaccurate. Laws should not be crafted using the same-same connection. Since they are so different is the second myth accurate?
Vaping myth 2 focuses on vaping being a gateway TO smoking, with no evidence this happens and all indications pointing to the opposite, it is a gateway FROM smoking. With all the positive strides made toward reducing the level of smokers, anti-smoking enthusiasts convince others these devices will become a gateway back to smoking. Some fear minors will start vaping and soon be firing up the real thing, burning tobacco and releasing all its harm into their lungs and the ambient air around them. Some point to the wide-variety of flavors in e-liquids as proof big tobacco is up to its old tricks to lure children, why else would there be so many fun sounding flavors? With humans, children or adults, it is rare we will try something that tastes very good and then opt to quit eating the tasty items in favor of something that tastes really bad. To understand the difference roots are deep within the ingredients of both.
What’s in e-liquid? Besides the scary connection of nicotine, possibly, what else lurks in the unknown liquid and vapor it produces? Ask any scientist or doctor, or a chef, and you will learn we exhale a derivative of what we inhale. We cannot eat an apple and spit out an orange seed, that’s either a magic trick or a myth. Most of today’s e-liquids are manufactured under strict certifications and guidelines. Even those on the micro level, small e-liquid makers, are following industry standards. Most consumers demand food grade and pharmaceutical grade ingredients in compliance with FDA guidelines, most quality producers cater to their consumer’s demands, producing e-liquids with 4 main ingredients.
Vegetable glycerin, or VG, has been approved for nearly 80 years. The FDA ranks VG as Generally Regarded as Safe or GRAS. E-liquids use the US Pharmacopeia (USP) grade made in accordance with FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). Produced from plant oils, typically palm oil, soy, or coconut oil, it is clear and odorless. We use VG in a wide-variety of items from vitamins, pharmaceuticals, foods, beverages, and more.
Propylene glycol, or PG, is FDA approved, under Title 21, for items injected, applied topically, and inhaled. If you’ve ever been to a concert with a fog machine that’s a 400 watt vaporizer blowing pure PG fog. Look around a typical household and dozens of products will be found with GRAS PG. Current scientific research is being conducted to isolate what properties in PG are helping to protect against influenza strains. Mice exposed to vaporized PG followed by vaporized influenza strains all lived. When mice were exposed just to the influenza all died. Delivering the PG through a vaporizer is efficient and safe, according to growing research dating back to the 1930s.
Once again, all flavors used by quality manufacturing standards meet FDA GRAS standards. Flavors are not the marketing hook to get minors, they are the hook for adults whose taste buds are beginning to return to life after decades of burning tobacco’s abuse. The vaping industry is ahead of current medical research, already stopping the use of artificial butter flavorings while the effects in popcorn production are reviewed for potential hazards. Flavors are considered safer to ingest or inhale as each chemical used has been extensively tested.
This fourth ingredient is an optional ingredient, nicotine. Nicotine is naturally occurring organic compound made up of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and sometimes oxygen. Besides tobacco, nicotine can be extracted from potatoes, certain tomatoes, eggplant, cauliflower, and also created synthetically. When unchained from burning tobacco nicotine is proving very beneficial for many disease sufferers, yes…beneficial. More on nicotine’s benefits in myth 3, what do conventional cigarettes contain? Remember, we exhale what we inhale and what we find mostly in e-liquid is FDA GRAS standard products, besides the optional nicotine.
Nicotine is a common connection, it is in both. In addition, lighting up a conventional cigarette also delivers benzene, formaldehyde, led, tar, methanol, hydrogen cyanide, butane, ammonia, chloroform, carbon monoxide, acetone, nitrosamines, aluminum, carbon dioxide, cadmium, arsenic, ethanol, vinyl chloride, radon, +50 more carcinogens and 3500 more chemicals. Considering all those other chemicals, the tastes and smells they produce, and the levels of harm they offer it is easy to understand what years of vaping is proving…vaping is a gateway FROM smoking. To smoking is, in reality, highly illogical.
Rightfully considering the considerable death and destruction born from conventional cigarettes it is easy to point to a villain. Nicotine’s addiction is logically seen as a problem, but is it the root cause we’re seeking? We hear experts, representatives, and people we trust state nicotine is the bad drug threatening public health. Due to the known dangers regulating vaping like smoking and tobacco products produces fair regulations and restrictions on access to vaping products if we know nicotine is a source of disease.
According to Dr. Paul Newhouse, the director of Vanderbilt University’s Center for Cognitive Medicine, “It seems very safe even in nonsmokers. In our studies we find it actually reduces blood pressure chronically. And there were no addiction or withdrawal problems, and nobody started smoking cigarettes. The risk of addiction to nicotine alone is virtually nil.” Dr. Newhouse believes, “nicotine by itself isn’t very addictive at all… [it] seems to require assistance from other substances found in tobacco to get people hooked.” Improve the delivery system, remove nicotine from tobacco, and scientists are starting to observe health benefits first considered back in the 60s. The notion enough evidence is not available simply is untrue.
As reported recently nicotine is showing signs of real help with the symptoms of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. While we see laws signed restricting vapers back to smoking areas filled with toxins, nicotine is being seen as a potential wonder drug. Dopamine is the main connection to the health benefits being realized in labs and under scientific research methodologies around the world. The positive effects of nicotine are easily reviewable.
Myth 3 is exposed as inaccurate. We do not want to craft regulations based on the false assumption nicotine is bad when quite the 180 degree opposite has gone from possible to very probable. New studies and reports are exposing nicotine’s potential positive impact on public health almost daily. This is no small discovery, this has major implications for improving millions of people’s health.
The amazing connection with vaping is the better delivery system and separation from tobacco proved just the right combination smokers needed to begin the long overdue process of quitting smoking and improving living. Cigarettes and burning tobacco is, unfortunately, a very efficient delivery system, reaching the blood stream in seconds. Electronic delivery systems take longer, up to 30 seconds, but do so without all the tars and carcinogens.
Generations of smokers are finding vaping friendly environments to gather and share their success. These gatherings and connections are the foundation of the vaping community, a community that stretches around the world. Among those ex-smokers are Parkinson’s sufferers finding relieve through a 3 or 6 milligram vape of a delicious tasting e-liquid. Let’s not send vapers to smoking areas, let’s make more vape friendly areas available if the other myths are also exposed as inaccurate.
Coming out of Drexel University’s School of Public Health study results from second hand vapor exposure is once again concluded to be safe. “Exposure of bystanders are likely to be orders of magnitude less, and thus pose no apparent concern.” These are not rare results, easily discovered for even the casually curious. In making laws we should be more than casually interested so it would seem an investment of a few hours to uncover growing findings would be a first step in crafting laws, not a step taken when attempting to repeal bad laws passed without these facts.
The ClearStream AIR project released its findings in 2012 after carefully testing for chemicals potentially released to the environment by electronic cigarettes. Conducted under strict control measures, 5 smokers were followed by 5 vapers in a 5 hour session in a closed room, cleaned and ventilated 65 hours between sessions. Smokers’ cigarettes contained .6 milligrams of nicotine while vapers used an equivalent mixture based on a nicotine level of 11 milligrams per 1 millimeter of e-liquid. The results are amazing evidence second hand vapor poses no danger to others or the environment, being rated no more dangerous than the ambient air we breathe. Carbon monoxide was high among smokers and non-existent among vapers, non-existent.
When measuring for Total Organic Carbon (TOC), a common measurement for clean air research, it is nothing but astounding to realize the magnitude of reduced TOC vaping produces. Yet it is easier to understand when people realize there is zero nicotine, acrolein, toluene, or PAHs detectable among vapers, why would laws be written to ban adults to smoking areas? Being vape friendly begins to truly make sense as myth 4 continues to be overturned by science, again in 2015 new indoor pollution studies further support the conclusion by the ClearStream AIR project’s team of scientists. “Passive vaping is expected from the use of e-CIG. However, the quality and quantity of chemicals released to the environment are by far less harmful for the human health compared to regular tobacco cigarettes. Evaporation, instead of burning, absence of several harmful chemicals from the liquids and absence of sidestream smoking from the use of e-CIG are probable reasons for the difference in results.”
Vaping myth 5 is the most commonly heard yet least convincing argument to ban vaping. They myth is there simply isn’t enough scientific research into the ingredients being used to consider e-liquid safe for adults to use as a choice, whether to stop smoking or simply as a hobby with friends and family in the vaping community. According to those holding to the lack of evidence myth until we know more we know enough to treat vaping like smoking. This myth flies in defiance of real, hard facts being produced at amazing speed with extreme, finite accuracy.
True, we do not have decade’s old comparisons, but we do have mounting reports showing why people are vaping toward improved help after years of smoking toward death, half statistically guaranteed to get there faster from burning tobacco. 98% smoked less tobacco and among nearly 2500 Texas vapers recently polled, nearly 93% quit smoking all together. Think of that…2300 former smokers and another 200 reduced smokers all at no added expense or efforts from the government. People found a healthier alternative that worked in the open market, self-regulated that market to a point of improved safety and quality, and are using it to restore their health and protect their children.
Doctors are learning vapers start healing in many of the same ways someone who cold turkey quits heal. The excess carbon monoxide that builds up in a smoker’s blood is gone in 8 hours. Within a week the all-important sense of taste and smell start returning, many vapers shift from tobacco flavors to dessert or fruit flavors during this period. Lungs improve, heart disease risk declines, dollars are saved, and vaping in friendly environments with part of a growing vaping community actually is fun and relaxing. The last part is not from science but from reality.
With the potential benefits of nicotine and PG in fighting diseases and flus, is it time we make laws and regulations strictly to protect minors and ensure quality and safety?
Today, 8 years removed from 2007, there is rapid changes in production and sourcing. The industry has created a certifying process, led by the American E-liquid Manufacturing Standards Association, for e-liquids without the expense and demand from government, simply from a desire to ensure public safety and health, consumers demand fair prices and safe products. Many Chinese manufacturers are sourcing their metals and organic cotton from the United States or Japan. Smaller micro-e-liquid producers are operating in clean room environments with top quality, FDA approved ingredients thanks to GRAS classifications helping make the common ingredients readily available, quality assured.
Encouraging vaping helps encourage a better environment. Being fearful of or banning vaping makes no sense, laws are hitting the wrong target when built on myth. Beyond possible, it is now highly probable having a society vape friendly will equate to a healthier society. Health comes to communities responsible enough to cause no undo barrier to access nor burden on public funds while allowing the vaping community the opportunity to continue improving.
Age restrictions and ID programs are important, supported by advocacy groups such as SFATA, CASAA, and others…look into them today. Vaping does represent a successful road to quitting smoking for millions and even those you know. Banning their use in hospitals just as research is proving the benefits to Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression, COPD, and more is an unintended consequence that must be considered. Cities should encourage vaping, being vape friendly means allowing vaping in more locations. As CASAA reminds us, thousands of people are enjoying smoking alternatives and those alternatives should be allowed even in public parks and recreational areas where conventional smoking should be banned. Check IDs for all under 27, sure…makes sense. Banish vapers to smoking areas? It’s bad for public health – do your research – be VAPE FRIENDLY~