Introduction to Vaping Stigma
Our society has strong views on most new, unique or uncommon activities. Vaping is no exception. It is similar to the mobile stigma that came about when mobile phones were first launched. The media get sales based on shocking data or reports – and when things are so new to the market. It is easy to fool unsuspecting readers into thinking their stories are fact. Let’s have a look at some of the comments publicised in recent months and compare with the scientific data behind those stories. This post lets you see what the true story should state, without any stigmas associated.
Definition of Vaping Stigma
Firstly, what is a stigma? Stigma is associated with anything in our society which is new, uncommon or different to the norm. Vaping news mostly has a stigma associated with it due to how recent it is to the market. Vaping has grown hugely in popularity compared to smoking, and the press like to add an element of fear to make us pick up their papers. Stigma can act as a barrier to all kinds of health benefits if you have not had the chance to research beneath the surface level press releases.
Ultimately, your opinion is the most important opinion to whether vaping is beneficial. You know best whether electronic cigarettes have improved your health and / or bank balance more than smoking did. We certainly know it has improved ours. The improved health effects of quitting smoking for vaping made us so passionate about helping others to see the real benefit too. It is disheartening for us to hear anybody reciting inaccurate press release information as a reason for continuing smoking. This post hopes to present accurate, science-backed findings to help those unsure of any media, public comments or social media reports they have read.
“You Don’t Know What’s In Them”
How many people have mentioned this to you in passing? Actually, in the UK especially, we do know exactly what is in our vaping tanks, coils and e liquids. The Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) requires each of these products sold in the UK to have passed rigorous testing and meet quality standards to protect our society. This includes all 10ml bottles of juice and every coil available on the market. The only exceptions are short fill e liquids and drippers, which are not yet required to meet the requirements of the UK’s TPD. Even for these products, they are required to meet the UK’s Sale of Goods Act and the Consumer Rights Act, meaning they must be of satisfactory quality.
“E Cigs Cause Popcorn Lung”
Popcorn lung? What is that? Popcorn lung is a result of acute exposure to diacetyl. Diacetyl is found in many plants, and also tobacco. It is one of many carcinogenic ingredients banned from the UK’s TPD, so you can rest assured that any TPD bottles of juice bought in the UK do not contain diacetyl. Therefore you will not get popcorn lung from vaping TPD e liquids. This news report, which occasionally resurfaces, is an exaggerated lie blaming vaping for something which is found in high quantities in cigarettes but not in most UK e liquids, and certainly in none of the TPD e liquids. See further support backing this debunked report in this post.
“E Cigarettes Are More Harmful than Cigarettes”
How can they be? We know the numerous toxins found in tobacco cigarettes and we know that the UK’s regulated e liquids are banned from having harmful ingredients. The UK’s MHRA have confirmed vaping is at least 95% healthier than the tobacco alternative. See our previous post about the MHRA’s findings.
“Passive Vaping Can’t Be Good For Those Around”
Second hand smoking is known to be damaging to health. Unlike tobacco smoke, vapour dissipates quickly and does not remain on surfaces for long. Public Health England 2018 Independent Evidence Review found there are no health risks of passive vaping. See our previous detailed post on the passive vaping debate here.
“E Cigs will Lead Young People into Vaping”
A study shows that young people can experiment with e cigarettes, but regular use is rare (see the full article here). If they are experimenting or feeling peer pressure, they are likely to be better with e cigs than traditional tobacco cigarettes. Also, young people can choose to vape zero nicotine flavours which will significantly reduce their likelihood for becoming addicted compared to smoking addictive tobacco cigarettes.
“E Cigs Can Kill You. Did You See the Pictures of the One That Blew Up?”
There have been genuine injuries from e cigarette batteries exploding (see scientific report here). The majority of these injuries have occurred during charging. Any battery left to charge has a risk of exploding. It is therefore important to follow the user guides regarding charging your batteries. Only leave charging for the time required, do not leave overnight, and ensure you use the correct charging cables and wall plugs. Some vapers are charging their vape batteries with phone plugs, or not paying attention to the output of their plugs. It is important to ensure the batteries are not being overcharged and damaged. The following Aspire wall plug has a 1A output and will suit all electronic cigarette devices. Please refer to your user manuals for the recommended charging outputs.
Vape injuries can also occor when high drain batteries are not stored properly, away from other alloys. High drain batteries are ones which fit in a mod device and can be removed and replaced. If they touch other alloys they can spark and could cause injury. It is important to store them in the device, or in a battery holder such as this one.
“Vaping Is Deadly. I Read Some Americans Died From Using E Cigs”
There has been relatively recent news stories themed around e cigarettes killing people. The deaths in America were as a result of people using illegal THC drugs in vaping equipment. The THC was diluted down with vitamin E acetate to make the drugs vapeable. The deaths were caused because vitamin E acetate is not intended to be inhaled. If vitamin E acetate is inhaled it can interfere with lung functioning. The deaths were not caused by e liquids or by the e cigs, but were caused by the use of illegal drugs. The news unfortunately summarised the deaths as being caused by electronic cigarettes. The reports were not clear that it was actually the contents used inside the devices and not the electronic cigarettes themselves. It was also nothing to do with e liquids. For more information about these drug-related deaths, please read the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conclusions here.
“It Can’t be Good For You. I’ve Seen People Use it Lots More than When they Smoked Cigarettes”
Vaping is delivered into your body in a different way to smoking tobacco cigarettes. Studies have found that you will puff more, and puff for longer, on an electronic cigarette compared to a tobacco cigarette. The quantity of use is purely due to the way the nicotine is delivered and used in the body. See further scientific details on this here. The comparably lower toxins found in e liquid and vape devices can reassure you. Comparing how much you use the e cigarette vs how many you used to smoke is not a means for deciding whether it is healthier for you.
But Why Are There Such Inaccurate Reports Being Made Public?
The main motivator behind the above reports is likely to be the tobacco industry. The industry lost 8% income in 2018 due to vaping alternatives (see further details in this report). It’s increasing popularity will have caused tobacco manufacturers to worry. It is also easy front-line reporting to have deadly and scary stories to make people pick up magazines and newspapers. When something is relatively new, news reporters can more easily convince the public that ‘it could be true’. It makes their reports more likely to be believed, due to unawareness, and therefore more likely to go viral.