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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