Are Traditional Tobacco and Electronic Cigarettes the same?

Well, are they?

Absolutely not. Nor should they be treated as such. So, if traditional tobacco and electronic cigarettes are so different, why are so many people conflating the two as one in the same?

The answer is really quite simple— fearmongering. We are influenced by what we fear. The media influences our thought and sometimes redirects it away from the truth.

Not all media is bad. In no way are we trying to portray media as the enemy. However, we do live in an era where people take what they read, see or hear, whether fact or fiction, as scripture. Furthermore, because this information is disseminated with the intent to influence, many people will base their actions and live their lives accordingly.

Humans are busier than ever before. We see this in all aspects of life. The pursuit of happiness (Whatever that may be for you. Wealth perhaps?) requires time and one’s full commitment. Digging for the facts eats up this precious time, which many people choose to allocate elsewhere. It’s a numbers game. And many media outlets understand very well that the bulk of the information they disseminate will be taken at face value by a large majority.

First of all, are e-cigarettes bad?

According to who you talk to or what you read, e-cigarettes are terrible. But that’s just simply not the case.

Earlier today, I did a quick search on google using these three key phrases:

  • * E-cigarette news
  • * Cigarette news
  • * Vaping news

The images below are screen shots of the results from my search.

As you can see, the results consistently circulate information on the “presumed” ills of vaping.

Lucky for you, today we are going to go over three of my favorite myths and/or misconceptions surrounding e-cigarettes.

MYTH or MISCONCEPTION # 1:  E-cigarettes give you ‘popcorn lung’

The ‘popcorn lung’ scare has its’ genesis in some microwave popcorn factories where workers were exposed to an exorbitant amount of a chemical called, diacetyl. Due to this exposure, the workers developed a serious lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans.

It’s true, some e-juice flavorings do contain diacetyl, although not at nearly as high levels as the workers in the popcorn factory or traditional tobacco cigarettes.

Not enough scientific evidence exists in order to answer with absolute certainty whether e-cigarette use can lead to popcorn lung. What is known is cigarette smoking, with significantly higher risk of diacetyl exposure, hasn’t yet been positively associated with popcorn lung. In fact, the only known case of popcorn lung from diacetyl exposure outside of microwave popcorn factories affected a Colorado man who ate two bags a day of diacetyl-containing microwave popcorn over a period of ten years. Read more here.

MYTH or MISCONCEPTION # 2:  E-cigarettes are harmful because they contain nicotine

Ever heard of the nightshade plant? Are you familiar with tomatoes, potatoes and eggplants? During any given week, consumers probably consume at least one of the three. Just like different blends of e-juice, the aforementioned vegetables are but a fraction of several plants which naturally contain nicotine.

According to a Public Health England blog, four out of ten smokers wrongly think nicotine causes tobacco smoking-related cancer. Although nicotine is the reason people become addicted to smoking, evidence shows nicotine actually carries minimal risk of harm to health. It is the thousands of chemicals contained in cigarette smoke that causes almost all of the damage to our health.

MYTH or MISCONCEPTION # 3:  Exposure to secondhand e-cigarette vapor is harmful

A sea of scientific evidence exists detailing the harm associated with second hand smoke.

E-cigarette vapor is not smoke. E-cigarette vapor is created when e-liquid (composed of nicotine, propylene glycol and/or glycerine, and flavorings) is heated by the coil inside the clearomizer or tank. In contrast to traditional cigarettes, no side-stream vapor is emitted by an e-cigarette into the atmosphere. Just the exhaled aerosol.

Public Health England (PHE) has come forth and stated no identified health risks are present during passive vaping to bystanders. Not including individuals with asthma and other respiratory conditions as adjustments should be made where appropriate.

Look, we are not saying that E-cigarettes are completely risk free. Anything outside of oxygen should not be taken into your lungs. Yet, with the toxic levels of air pollution we currently face, even the natural act of breathing could be damaging our lungs.

In short summary, e-cigarettes and traditional tobacco cigarettes are not the same. While smoking continues to claim lives, e-cigarettes carry a fraction of the risk of smoking and are helping thousands of smokers quit and stay smoke free.

Especially relevant: Last Week’s Wednesday blog here.

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Photography Major from Western Washington University .
I joined MBV back in December 2014 and am happy to be working in an industry focused on helping others.

6 thoughts on “Are Traditional Tobacco and Electronic Cigarettes the same?

  1. Hi there, Michael:
    While you are looking up stuff, look at these individuals and their blogs. Chris Price: ecigarette politics. Carl V Phillips antithrlies, Daily Vaper. Clive Bates on twitter of late and “the counterfactual”

  2. Mt. Baker, I like you guys and your juice, but this is akin to a fake news puff piece.

    “Lucky for you, today we are going to go over three of my favorite myths and/or misconceptions surrounding e-cigarettes.”

    Great, too bad none of these had anything to do with your search results. About half of them were concerning heart health which you did not address in this blog.
    “Using the National Health Interview Survey (NIHS), a large national survey done in the US, Nardos Temesgen and colleagues at George Washington University, found that the odds of a heart attack increased by 42% among people who used e-cigarettes. … The work also controlled for a wide range of confounding variables. In addition, the risks associated with other factors (like smoking, diabetes, and high blood pressure) in this study were similar to those established in earlier work. This fact strengthens the conclusions that e-cigarettes represent an independent cause of heart attacks.”

    It’s possible the study is flawed, I didn’t read this one myself but I’m also not a scientist. However, it certainly is something to be concerned about.

    Your search terms also happened to miss the very recent (about 2 week old) study about the toxic metals found in e-cig tanks, bottles, and vapor.
    “While they only found small amounts of toxic metal in the e-liquids alone, they discovered considerable amounts in the e-liquids that had been exposed to the heating coils. This indicates, the researchers say, that the metals almost “leak” from the metallic heating coils. They went on to show that the metals can then end up in the aerosols, i.e. the vapor, from the heated e-liquid.”
    Lead, arsenic, and a variety of other metals that are very unhealthy to be breathing in were found not only in the vapor, but in the liquid BOTTLES. That is highly concerning and I would like to see Mt. Baker test and publish the results of their liquid for the presence of heavy metals. This study I read and I found very enlightening because the scientists factored for coil material, voltage, and frequency of coil change which showed that they were very aware of e-cigarette user habits which has been absent from many previous studies – although I would have preferred they used wattage or temperature in lieu of voltage.

    Please don’t follow the road of the tobacco companies and pretend that everything is fine. I understand your revenue depends on it, but it is also an opportunity for Mt. Baker to potentially be at the forefront of producing tested healthier juice by accounting for factors that should be controllable and giving you a big advantage over the competition.

  3. Michael:
    Dr. Carl V. Phillips, mentioned above, actually addressed the heart attack, and the trace metals issues in a couple of articles on Daily Vaper. Of course, you could argue that he is biased, considering the name of the Blog. Then, there is Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, who also addressed these issues.
    Never mind. Don’t seek diverse perspectives. Stay that way.

  4. Very Insightful post indeed!
    In my opinion, E-cigarettes are less harmful than smoking because they don’t contain tobacco, that does not mean e-cigarettes are harmless. But we can be relatively confident that switching from smoking too vaping will have health benefits.

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