Dangers of Vaping? Separating Fact from Fiction

Yesterday, the California Department of Public Health started a new public relations campaign focused on discouraging the use of electronic cigarettes and vapor products. While we’ve all seen the media frenzy and state legislators proclaiming the so-called dangers of vaping, California is taking a more extreme approach. A government funded five year campaign with an estimated $75 million dollar price tag to the taxpayers.

Myth and Reality

Now, if the information being portrayed was based in scientific evidence with the intent of educating the public on the realities of electronic cigarettes and vaping, we would rejoice and applaud their movement. Unfortunately, the information being portrayed, while not untrue, is skewed in such a way that vaping electronic cigarettes actually appears more harmful than smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes. Let’s take a look at some of the information the state of California is sharing with these tax dollars:

The website, Still Blowing Smoke makes the following claims of the health dangers lurking in e-cigarettes, however no links were provided to studies validating the information they provided. Here we are going to show the statements made by this campaign and our response:

  1. Nicotine is addictive as heroin
    1. According to Jonathan Foulds, professor of public health sciences and psychiatry at Penn State College of Medicine his study E-Cigarettes Less Addictive Cigarettes, found that E-cigarettes appear to be less addictive than tobacco cigarettes.
  2. A list of the dangers of nicotine’s effect on the body is listed
    1. In our blog Studying the Potential Medical Benefits of Nicotine, we found out that nicotine is being used in several medical studies as a possible medicine for a multitude of conditions from Parkinson’s to Depression. Additionally, the FDA released a statement saying the long term or chronic use of Nicotine Replacement Therapy benefits outweigh the risks.
  3. Some studies suggest the ‘magic device’ e-cigarettes hurt quitting efforts.
    1. Aside from the multitude of anecdotal evidence from people just like us who quit smoking using e-cigarettes; Research has found that e-cigarettes are an effective method to help quit smoking as they successfully reduced cravings with minimal side effects.
  4. Toxic and cancer causing chemicals have been found in electronic cigarette vapor including formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, benzene, cadmium, isoprene, lead, nickel and more.
    1. A study conducted by Dr. Igor Burstyn, PhD, school of public health, Drexel university found that there is no evidence of levels of contaminants that may be associated with risk to health, including acrolein, formaldehyde, TSNA’s and metals. Additionally, Dr. Peter Hyak oversaw a study testing the levels of toxins and carbon monoxide from electronic cigarette vapor, and found none.
  5. PG/VG & Diacetyl can all damage your lungs.
    1. In E-Juice – What’s Inside we address the Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerine (VG) questions. Interestingly, while touted as dangerous to inhale, PG has been used in asthma inhalers for years. VG has been used for years in various food processing and pharmaceutical industries for its potential health benefits. The Truth About Diacetyl, while found in a small sampling of electronic cigarettes, were shown to be at a level in those samples 110 times lower than the amount found in traditional cigarettes.
  6. E-cigs Damage Lung Cells. It should be noted, this included this link to a news article, Are E-Cigarettes Safer?  New Study Says vapors trigger Lung Cell Stress.
    1. This study from Science Direct they referenced, indicated that some flavored e-juice created stress and toxicity on lung tissue. Interestingly enough, California had 6 of the top 10 most polluted cities on the State of the Air ranking in 2014. According to Physicians for Social Responsibility “It’s no surprise that air pollution causes serious damage to the lungs and respiratory tract.” However, the real comparison that needs to be made is the effect on the lungs compared to smoking traditional cigarettes.

In addition to these health related claims, the website also makes several claims regarding the intentions of the vaping industry, such as marketing and attempting to addict children to vaping. While big tobacco’s motives can and should be questioned, the grass roots vaping industry is aimed at offering an alternative to big tobacco for adult smokers. We have previously addressed the claims of What About the Children Part 1 Advertising Selling to Minors, What About the Children Part 2 E-Liquid Safety, and What About the Children Part 3 the Allure of Flavors.

It’s more important than ever, with the launch of this campaign, to educate the public and speak out for our right to vape. Educate yourselves, educate your community, and let your legislation know how vaping has affected your life. We can’t overestimate the dangers of vaping.

Written by: Michelle Harnden

You may also like our article about vaping and the economy!

Tim Mechling

Tim is Mt Baker Vapor's resident creative weirdo. He writes, composes music, draws, designs, produces podcasts, investigates, and blows the trumpet for the Common Man.

  • Tialisa says:

    It is so very sad when money is more important than a persons health!! California is so full of BS when it comes to vaping. For this FORMER SMOKER, vaping has saved my life!!! I can breath better, in turn, allows me to have a more active life!!!! I used to take Zyrtec for my allergies, now if you will notice the key word here is “used” to. I stopped the cancer sticks in April 2014 thanks to vaping. Well, in the beginning of March 2015 I ran out of my Zyrtec and haven’t gotten my prescription refilled. Guess what? I haven’t needed my Zyrtec!!!! But, as soon as I get around someone smoking one of those nasty smelling cancer sticks, my allergies go crazy. I get all chugged up and start coughing constantly. Cigarettes are deadly and they stink. Vaping saves lives. If you are going to write about something, put the whole truth out there or don’t write nothing at all. Stop misinforming the public to fit your own agenda!!!

  • Alex Carlson says:

    Great, informative article with awesome links Michelle!

  • Brad VanVleet says:

    These people need to get off their high horse and quit trying to make money off of everything e-cigarettes have saved my life and the life of many people I know who have smoked forever and not been able to quit. I have smoked for 42 years two packs a day and since starting ecigs 6 months ago I have went from 35 milligrams of nicotine down to 12 milligrams of nicotine and am about to go down to 8 milligrams working my way to 0 milligrams. I have not smoked a cigarette since starting vaping. My house clothes and car do not stink anymore. I do not have to hide to get a nicotine fix because the do gooders have to turned us all into second-class citizens for being smokers. These people who are against vaping need to worry about their own business and be happy for us ex smokers that we have found a way to quit smoking that can actually work. and I believe vaping is the perfect way to quit smoking once you have made it to 0 milligrams of nicotine and no longer have a need to vape. You can keep some 0 nicotine of your favorite flavor e-liquid around so if you ever have a bad day and feel like backsliding and lighting a cigarette you can just have a vape of your favorite flavor with no nicotine and you will be satisfied and have not started back on nicotine so the do gooders just need to shut up. Thank you for listening to me vent.

  • BD says:

    It’s about the money, folks…It always is. Follow the money.

    I find it interesting that living in WA State and seeing that the Democratic Governor wants to institute a 95% tax at the wholesale level, along with banning all internet and out of state sales to anyone…that I just saw 2 e-cig ads on my television from RJ Reynolds. The new VUSE(tm). We all know that’s the product we want to vape..lmao. People need to do the research and vote the people OUT that vote against the very tools that save our lives. Enough already!

  • Charlez says:

    Proves that idiot Liberals in a already bankrupt state still don’t mind wasting taxpayer dollars!

  • Leon Dennis says:

    This is so utterly reprehensible on the part of the government of California to spend so much of our tax dollars to put out such a blatantly skewed ad to confuse and in a way lie to the people.

    • Which is why we need to stand up and speak out. Public perception matters and for those who don’t know about vaping, this can effect their views. It’s important to educate the public.

  • Alex says:

    What are your thoughts and opinions on diacetyl and is it used in any of your juices? Seems like the use of diacetyl is avoidable but largely depends on the supplier from whom you obtain your ingredients to make MBV juices. I greatly enjoy your products but will admit that an article in vice got me to pause a bit.

  • BB3 says:

    35 years. Pack to pack and a half a day. Was able to quit with e-cig in two weeks. After trying every other method, multiple times. For three straight years my lung function on my annual physical has improved. Maybe that’s just anecdotal and not scientific proof but I’m convinced vaping saved my life. Were I a Californian, I would be mad as Hell at this use of tax dollars. It’s just so sad the reactionaries refuse to recognise the benefits of tobacco harm reduction.

    • Love hearing success stories like this. I would agree with the frustration, but what’s important to remember is that this isn’t just impacting CA. We all need to educate those around us and speak out with our legislators.

  • James Thompson says:

    It has been a little over two years since I started vaping and have not only not had a cigarette since but having started at the 30 mg level of nicotine to 0 nicotine—Having smoked for over 40 years and tried everything to quit —ecigs have been a blessing to me—-this same people want to make smoking pot legal—-why don’t they do detailed studies on the effects of the lung of that —-

  • Henry says:

    I have not smoked now for 3 years after smoking for 42 years thanks to vaping. I feel so much better and probably have extended my life somewhat. I might add that I smoked the cigarette sized cigars that were about as strong as 3 regular cigs combined and usually 2 packs per day. I use the 6 mg strength smoke juice after starting with 24 mg. I would encourage anyone who smokes to try vaping as a means to quit.

  • Eric Labar says:

    Nicely put together Michelle. Shows the “reaction without investigation” mentality our lawmakers and newsmedia. California taxpayers should be extremely po’ed at such a waste of money on pure propaganda. No wonder the state is in such debt.

    As a reminder, the window to comment on the FDA’s upcoming workshop concerning e-cigs and vaping is going to close soon. So folks, head over to casaa.org and speak up. Include a link to this blog post.

  • Joe Olmstead says:

    I smoked cigarettes for 59 years. I started vaping Nov. 20, 2014 at 12:00 noon (central time). Since vaping is bad for your lungs, why have I hacked up a bunch of tar build up from them, actually felt some areas of my lungs start working again, and breathe so much easier now??? I have gone from 24 mg nicotine to 2 mg so far and see the big 0 headed my way soon. I also tasted a cigarette about a month ago and am asking myself ‘what the heck did I start smoking for in the first place’.

  • Wayne Ferguson says:

    This is great and sad information all wrapped up in one. I’ve smoked for over 40 years, yuck. I tried vaping a couple years ago on cardos but failed. Roughly a month ago I wanted to start vaping again because I was feeling like shit and coughing all the time. I started collecting info and bought a couple of Kangertech tanks, yay!!! I feel so much better now, I don’t cough anymore and can actually breathe good again. I guess I can say vaping is going to make the quality of my life better if not saving my life. Why does the government have to screw with something that has a much higher percentage of success than any other means of quitting smoking with lies? I have tried chantex, the patch, hypnotism, the gum and nothing worked. I enjoy vaping and it IS working. Vape on friends and fight for the freedom of vaping.

  • Jeff D. says:

    It deeply aggravates me that big tobacco cannot just leave the vaping companies that sell e-juices and e-cigarettes alone. I was a heavy smoker for about 15+ years. I smoked an average of 1 to 2 packs a day of cowboy killers. No matter how hard I tried, I could not quit permanently. When I first discovered e-cigarettes I was down to a half pack a day of the real deal, but at the time the e-cigarettes on the marked didn’t last long enough in the day to hold me over. However today’s technology is unbelievable awesome! The mod I use is called a dna 30 and is rechargeable, the e-liquid coast me about 6 dollars for 30 ml and can last me for a full week!!
    So I have been a full time vapor for about 2 years now and I am able to climb stairs without loosing my breath, sing without coughing my brains out, and I can tast my food. I don’t stink like a nasty ashtray and my overall quality as improved immensely!!
    With that being said… These negative and blatantly ridiculousness articles that are being put out about the Health hazards of vaping need to end!!! Oh I am so sorry that you are making less tax money off of the lives of the human beings you are killing with your cigarettes big tobacco, California, New York, and any other state that’s not making enough money off the taxes of sales of cigarettes. I think a persons health and life is more important than taxes!!!
    Anyway I never write to much on facebook because I am usually a man of few words, but this pisses me off. Especially when the people I love come to me and say, ” you shouldn’t smoke those vape thingys I heared they are worst than cigarettes!”
    There are no nice works that can explain the anger I have towards the big tobacco companies and people that support them.
    Just let us people who vape, vape in peace!!
    And stop making the people who love me worry about me!!!

  • Keith Gibbs says:

    Like most of the vapeing community I too have found vapeing to have been beneficial to my health. Here in Australia our politicians seem to be taking their lead from American politicians, in my state, Queensland, liquid nicotine is banned in any form including E-juice. We have continued to purchase our supplies from the U.S.A. As it is still at this time legal to import, go figure . Each state in Australia deals with E-Cigarettes (Don’t you just hate the name given to these life saving devices) differently there is no conformity in national legislation regarding vapeing but one thing that really gets up my nose is that no matter were you go if you wish to vape you are herded together with the “Smokers” and as you are all aware that can be most unpleasant. The mis-information being put out there is atrocious and unfortunately we are not strong enough here to fight it, we lobby the government but without any success. I know I speak for many vapers here in Australia when I say, “Well done America, fight the good fight, we are behind you 100%”.

  • Scott Kennedy says:

    I’ve been smoke-free for close to three years now thanks to electronic cigarettes. Nothing else that I tried got me to permanently quit my nasty twenty year plus habit of smoking tobacco. Now I can’t imagine ever smoking tobacco again. As a matter of fact, I cannot tolerate the smell of a burning cigarette even for a short period of time.

    I’m thankful that Mt Baker Vapor has provided an excellent informative forum to discuss issues concerning vaping. They also have a good product lineup. Just recently I ordered from them an Innokin Itaste MVP 3.0. You couldn’t ask for a better box mod than that; it’s a significant upgrade to the TECC MVP 2.0 that I already had. Baker also offers a good selection of quality e-juices. Two juices they make that I especially like are Coumarin Pipe and Black Clove.

    I didn’t immediately quit smoking when I first encountered e-cigs. The technology wasn’t all that great at that point in time. When the battery capacity improved enough and I got into refilling, I threw the smokes down for good a few weeks after that. I started off with Blue at the tune of $80 for a starter kit. It seemed like every time I turned around I needed a fresh battery and/or another cartridge. Now I use only APVs (advanced personal vaporizer) where I have variable voltage/wattage control (I’d never go without that feature these days), bottom-feeding glass tanks with replaceable coil/wick assemblies, and high battery capacity so I can vape my head off. *LOL* Of course, I also have a large selection of smoke juices on hand; at the present I have somewhere around fifty different fluids from around five different companies at my disposal; I primarily like to vape juices that contain organic tobacco extracts along with natural flavorings.

  • Maria says:

    Great write up, debunking the malarkey on the dangers of vaping! Today I’m 50 days cigarette free, after smoking for 38+ years. I really did quit my life-long habit, the moment I started vaping. In my experience, vaping is an awesomely effective alternative to get off the tobacco for good. I started at 18mg and have already stepped down to 12mg. I enjoy vaping soo much that I will continue doing it, even after I reach my zero-nicotine goal.

  • Cindy Getchell says:

    I too quit a 35 year smoking habit with vapors about 1 1/2 years ago. It took me 7 months to become nicotine free a little at a time. I also have COPD and i am oll my inhalers.( I keep my emergancy inhaler on hand just in case, haven’t used it in 4 months) I really love vaping and the flavors are awsome. I have introduced 5 of my friends to vaping they love it. Thank you for your service, Vape on

  • matt says:

    This is absurd using tax dollars for lies. I quit in Oct ’13 from a pack a day to zero. My breathing is great now. More active don’t smell and just feel better. Not only did I quit, my wife quit, my best friend, his wife, and another couple we hang out with. I wonder how much money the cigarette companies are losing, along with the government for all of the lost tax dollars. Great article, keep spreading the truth. Knowledge is power!!!!

  • Jim Kubitza says:

    I have permanently quit cigarettes the same day I got my Eleaf Istick 50W and Atlantis tank! After 50+ years of smoking and over 20 attempts to quit cigarettes, FINALLY SUCCESS! I had a chronic all-day cough, and every morning had a half hour coughing fit hacking up the nasty crapola from the cigarettes. One week after switching to vaping my cough was 100% GONE. I have been vaping now for two months. The cough is permanently gone, I can breathe noticeably better, sleep better and feel better generally. California’s ad ampaign is 100% BULLSHIT

  • J. says:

    Let me preface the following statement by saying that I am a old man, fought the Kong and Nancy Fonda, smoked for over fifty years, coughed morning, noon and night. Had a hard time walking my dog, got winded walking up two flights of stairs. After a year of vaping, not only can I walk my big chocolate lab, but I run with her. Don’t cough anymore, can breathe better; and hope to be vaping for another twenty years. Love building coils and blowing clouds with my Kayfun V4, Delta II, and big Kanger sub tank.

    Now, that being said. You are telling us something we already know, especially if you did your due diligence before starting vaping, and keep up with vaping news. (That was called preaching to the choir in my day.) As I see it, we must fight fire with fire. The anti vaping zealots are spending money hand over fist in an attempt to shutdown vaping; and if we vapors are to properly respond, we must do so with money of our own. I would propose each e liquid maker, broker, seller, etc. to increase each one of their products, both e liquid and hardware, by $.50 each, and pool this money into a substantial nationwide ad campaign; and hiring lobbyist to attack the uneducated nary-be-wells with scientific evidence and studies that will make them look idiotic as uneducated as they are. Those who want to stop the vaping industry by associating vapors with cigarette smoking, making uninformed statements, laws, and regulations; and wanting to tax e cigarettes as a tobacco products must be stopped. Only an effective advertising campaign and lobbying effort with politicians, showing both the safety and benefits of vaping, can we defeat those who apparently are poorly advised, and usually shoot from the hip, to quote “They can’t stand the truth.” The vaping industry and we vapors must become a united and significant force to those who want to squelch vaping. Its time we put our money where our mouths are.

    Belly up vapors let’s go get them. I’m in, Let’s Roll!

    • That is a very interesting proposal. I know there are advocacy groups like Vaping Malitia and American Vaping Association that are working hard, we are also fighting both locally and nationally for our right to vape. Thank you for adding your voice.

  • Kimberley Brodhead says:

    I had my last cigarette 11/12/2012 after my second day of Vaping. I smoked 1-2 packs of cigarettes for 35 years so for me it’s downright miraculous. My wheeze disappeared after nine mos and I haven’t had bronchitis since I quit and as we exsmokers know chronic bronchitis was our way of life while on cigarettes. My case has made my doctor a huge fan of ecigs and he has encouraged his actively smoking patients to give it a try. Also because of my success three of my siblings have quit. Methinks big tobacco is behind the crusade to discredit ecigs.

  • Vicki Button says:

    What about all of us that just love to vape? I’ve never used e juice with nicotine….only 0% with wonderful flavors in my eleaf 30W, and I got my husband to start vaping so that he can kick his ugly chewing habit. So far. He’s on a low nicotine level e juice and has cut his chewing by 2/3 just since last month. He loves it, feels better, and now we even started going to the gym. Do you have any stats on how many people are non nicotine vapers?

  • Frederic richard says:

    I smoked 20 cig a day for 18 years. Total and i smoked e-cig 3 month wen i decided to stop smoking it as bein 3 weeks i dont smoke no more 🙂

  • Jason says:

    All that money….should have been spent more wisely on anti-cigarette ads. Been smoking for 25 yrs. and dont regret switching over to ecigs.Better heath, better life, better future!

  • Nick Vadasz says:

    Yes, I vape. Yes, it saved my life too after a 42 year addiction. Looking at the bigger picture though…this is another case of “Big Brother” telling you what you can and can’t do. At nearly 62 years old, it’s my decision…may it be about vaping or wearing a seat belt. My life…my choice!! Sooner than you think, all of your civil liberties will be gone.

  • boogaloo says:

    I think if we all brought to light the issue of Cigarette Bonds to the general public it may help our campaign against corrupt local Govt.s.

  • t underwood says:

    I gave up smoking and smokless tobacco…. since i started vaping i joined a gym and started running, now i run 12-15 miles a week and enter alot of 5K runs.

  • Jakob says:

    Just another waste of tax payer money and people trying to misinform the public. That $75 mil should be used to encourage people to get off the cigs and start vaping. I have gone back and forth over time between the tobacco and the vaping and finally found what I needed to successfully enjoy the vape and quit the tobacco. I started out with cheap ego’s and everything cheap for them, they did not satisfy the cravings and I ended up smoking again. A couple months ago I decided to give it a try again but this time buy a decent setup, I got me a zna50 with an atlantis tank and have been doing great since. I could of did a lot cheaper setup im sure but I was happy with this one. About a month ago I decided to get into dripping and also got me a setup for that as well but went with a cheaper setup getting a simple mod and clone darkhorse dripper which has done great as well. I have invested probably over $300 or so but for what I was spending on cigs im about broken even so far and just have the cost of mostly the juice with occasional coils and cotton balls for the dripper and since I have discovered MBV my cost for juice has lowered even more especially since I will be investing in the largest bottles of juice now. I started at 18mg nic and im using 6mg now, soon I will drop it to 3mg and probably remain there. I am not looking to quit nic all together but to be healthier while enjoying it.

  • Elaina says:

    I was a heavy smoker of Marlboro red 100’s (pk and half to 2 pks a day). I had been diagnosed with pleuracy and chronic bronchitis. I was constantly sick. I made the switch 4 years ago. During this last 4 years I have not had one bout with bronchitis or pleuracy. I feel better, I smell better. Lol. I enjoy vaping, but what I love most of all is the fact that I can go entire day and not vape and not crave a cigarette. Vaping has helped me tremendously. My mother in her 60’s used vaping for 2 weeks and quit smoking in that 2 week period. She does not vape or smoke now. She too was a heavy smoker and smoked since age 18. What these money grubbing a holes need to realize is this: health and safety of the American people is more important than the all mighty dollar. They bash vaping which is the most effective and safest way tother quit smoking. My own doctor has told me it is any different than using the patch or gum to try and quit smoking. I tried the patches and discovered I am allergic to the adhesive and the gum is a joke. They still have their hand in the cookie jar and won’t be happy until they have full control of all the cookies.

    That’s my rant for the day. Lol

    • We absolutely love hearing the success stories of our community! Congratulations to you and your mother, and it’s wonderful that your Dr. is supporting you in your vaping journey. It’s important that we all contact our local legislators and let them know our story, and how vaping has effected our lives!

  • k kelly says:

    California is a strange state. I travel through there a lot and I always found the anti smoking and anti gaping campaigns comical since in most cities in CA you can see the air. Its a disgusting brown. I just read the study released by tbr American Heart Association which tho not entirely in the corner of the vapeing industry, did paint a much more positive picture of vaping than the FDA and CDC has. They went so far as to recommend higher taxes on tobacco and LOWER taxes on Vape products to encourage the transition to something healthier, and view vape as a viable stop smoking aid. Personally I have been vaping for almost two years. I stopped smoking 100% within three days of picking up my first vape product. My lung capacity is better, I feel better, and don’t have the need to alwasy have a lite smoke hanging from fingers or lips. I don’t smell like an ashtray anymore. California needs to study this more instead of the typical knee jerk hate they have for anything not apple or Google.

    • We would have to agree that California dances to their own tune! The majority to that brown looking air is due to two factors, smog, and geographical region. That air is locked in their due to the ocean at their front side and the mountain range right behind them. About that article released from the American Heart Association, we would love to read this if you wouldn’t mind linking it below! Thank you for your wonderful support and we will keep fighting strong!

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