The Risks of Vaping – Fact or Fiction?

More people than ever are now vaping in the UK as well as globally, with people opting to start vaping as a way to aid them to quit smoking. However, since vaping & e cigarettes came about, it’s always been met with an angry mob of sceptics who do not believe it is safer or healthier than smoking.  Even though Public Health England have declared vaping 95% safer than cigarette smoking.

And within this plethora of people, misinformation has been created and widespread about the risks of vaping and how it is just as bad for you as smoking is. In this article, I’m going to take a look at these apparent “risks” and break them down to see if there is any truth or relevance behind them being published and widespread.

Risk #1 – Vaping gives you popcorn lung

I had to start to this article with the all-time classic “risk” that’s been spread from here to the edge of the earth and still comes out of people’s mouths in arguments today, and that is that vaping will give you popcorn lung.

Way back in 2016, it was printed in tabloids and on news channels that vaping could cause you to get Bronchilitis Obliterans or more affectionately known as “Popcorn Lung” The name being coined from the fact that a surge of workers within a Popcorn factory started suffering from the condition.

This was down to the fact that some flavourings used in vape juices to create a buttery taste similar to that of buttered popcorn, contained the chemical called Diacetyl. Which if exposed to or ingested at very high levels can cause this lung disease.

However, thanks to the Tobacco Products Directive bought in by the government in 2016, Diacetyl is now banned from being included in vape juice flavourings within the UK.

So, does vaping give you popcorn lung? It may have been the cause to a very very small minority of people who vaped the buttery popcorn flavours, but it certainly won’t be the cause in today’s market.

Risk #2 – Electronic Cigarettes aren’t regulated and they’re unsafe, and so is the vape juice that goes in them.

I’ve had the above said to me multiple times over the years that I’ve been vaping, and probably will continue to have it said to me countless times more until I stop vaping.

People believe that all e cigarette and vaping devices are cheaply produced in China and don’t have to pass any regulations for them to be sold on the UK Market and the same is said about vape juice too.

The “horror stories” that get spread within the media have been printed thick and fast over the years. Examples being people’s e cigarettes blowing up on while they’re on charge, or exploding in their pocket, or burning their lips and mouth when they use it.

There may be truth behind these stories, but the reasoning behind this happening is these vape devices were likely bought from a non reputable vape outlet, like a market stall or an online shop who buys their stock from outside of the UK and it hasn’t had to pass the necessary testing and regulations to be legally sold in the UK.

Ever since TPD was introduced in 2016, the UK has some of the strictest regulations in the world and for good reason to! E-Cigarettes and vape juice must meet the minimum standards of quality and safety to be sold, as well as having the correct packaging displaying all information and health warnings to inform customers wanting to purchase these products.

So if anyone says to you about devices being unregulated and you don’t know what’s in the juice, point them in the direction of the TPD legislations!

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Risk #3 – Passive vapour is just as bad as passive smoke from a cigarette

It’s been proven in various studies across the years that inhaling smoke passively from someone nearby who is smoking is bad for you. This was one of the main reasons for smoking being banned in public places like pubs, clubs and restaurants in the UK.

You may notice that there isn’t any formal ban on vaping in public places, and the rulings of it being allowed are made at the premises owners discretion. This is because passive vaping is not bad for you or people around you!

The vapour produced by an e cigarette is made from the vape juice being heated up and inhaled. All vape juice contains is vegetable glycerine, propylene glycol, flavourings and nicotine. Compare this to the crazy high amount of chemicals and ingredients that go in to a cigarette and the amount of chemicals released in the smoke when a cigarette is burnt, you can see why vapour is not harmful to others around you.

Risk #4 – Both vape juice and cigarettes contain nicotine so they’re as harmful as each other

Another huge misperception from people is that nicotine is the bad thing in cigarettes and is one of the factors that can cause cancer. It’s not been proven that using e cigarettes is completely harmless but they are a whole more better for you than smoking regular cigarettes.

This couldn’t be more wrong if it wanted to. Nicotine is a chemical derived from the tobacco plant, and studies have shown this to carry very minimal to almost no harm to your health. Don’t get me wrong, Nicotine isn’t innocent though as it is a highly addictive substance which is how a lot of people start to become addicted to smoking but it is completely harmless.

As previously mentioned, it’s the hundreds of chemicals and high volume of tar and carbon monoxide that are ingested from smoking regular cigarettes that are proved to be harmful to a persons health and can lead to serious health defects.

Vapour clouds and vape device

Risk #5 – Vaping companies are a front by tobacco companies, so they continue profiting and keep people smoking

Probably the funniest and most preposterous “risk” on this list that I could not resist covering is that all vape companies have been created as a front for tobacco companies to still profit and it will keep people smoking.

One quick glance at the statistics bought out in 2021 that showed that the number of adults vaping in the UK and quitting smoking is at an all time high with a reported 3.7 million adults now using e cigarettes, and half of them reporting they have quit smoking entirely. And a fantastic low figure of only 14.9% of people in the UK are active adult smokers.

So I would argue the case that tobacco companies aren’t really profiting from people vaping wouldn’t you?

Risk #6 – Vaping creates an open path to young people starting to smoke

I’ll finish this article with a risk topic that may carry a little bit of realism to it, and that is that young people who vape may then turn to smoking cigarettes.

Studies were released that showed that vaping could create a “gateway” effect for young adults to enter the world of smoking cigarettes regularly after using an e cigarette. However, these studies can’t be held fully in the light on if a young person may begin smoking. It may be the case that the youth in question was going to try cigarettes anyway, and just obtained a vape first. The likely chance of a nicotine addiction being birthed from using an e cigarette is also very real and the user may turn to cigarettes to get more of a real hit to aid their newly created addiction.

However, separate studies show that the percentage of high school students and young people that now vape has sky rocketed from previous years, but what it does also show is that the amount of young people that smoke cigarettes hasn’t really changed, so can vaping really be called a gateway and cause for young smokers?

I wouldn’t say this is a cause for concern when it comes to the percentage of young people smoking, however the rate at which the numbers are increasing of young people who are using or have used a vaping device is slightly alarming and something that may need addressing in the not so distant future.

Conclusion

The facts and figures that can be found on reputable sites are facts and not fiction, and if in doubt always rely on those rather than anything you may read in the press or on social media.

More people are opting for an e cigarette as a way to quit smoking cigarettes, and the statistics show this, and I believe they will continue to grow and show this for a long time to come.

I hope this article has put your mind to ease on the topics I’ve covered and answered any questions or doubts in your mind about vaping.

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