Dangers of Vaping? Separating Fact from Fiction

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.

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.