Last updated on April 2nd, 2020
In light of the COVID-19 Epidemic, many have questions about the safety of vaping..and smoking. Here's the latest report from Dr. Farsalinos, the CDC, and CASAA.
According to the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association:
“The spread of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic provides fertile ground for spreading misinformation on vaping. Vapers must be equipped with solid information and data to counterargue.”
- Source: https://www.casaa.org/news/vaping-covid-19/
In Sept. 2019, after an outbreak of lung injuries, reports were issued by the media and the CDC linking the problem to “vaping”. This broad speculation setoff a “vaping lung” panic. Many vapers started smoking cigarettes again. Vape shops all over the country suffered sales declines so severe, they had to close shop.
It wasn’t long before it was confirmed by medical professionals, (and eventually the media) that the injuries were caused by black market THC cartridges. These cartridges used Vitamin E oil as a base, rather than FDA approved ingredients used in traditional e-liquids.
According to a CDC announcement posted on Oct 3rd, 2019:
“The latest findings from the investigation into lung injuries associated with e-cigarette use, or vaping, suggest products containing THC play a role in the outbreak.”
On Sunday, December 22nd, 2019 the newest CDC data confirmed the above statement.
On Oct. 4th, 2019 the FDA issued a statement, warning consumers to “stop using THC vaping products amid ongoing investigation into lung illnesses”.
The U.S press and our health organizations have not been kind to vapers nor the vaping industry. How do you, as a consumer, know that the so called facts you read are really true? Is there any scientific proof to back claims that e-cigs really are safer than tobacco cigarettes? Do the cons outweigh the pros?
If you want to know the truth about vaping safety, (backed by evidence) read on. You have nothing to lose but a skewed perspective on a product that is truly helping to save lives worldwide.
Current FDA Commissioner, Ned Sharpless, M.D., issued a statement in September, 2019 updating the agency's commitment to save vaping. Commissioner Sharpless noted,
“Any product that can diminish the use of combustible cigarettes substantially has to be considered of enormous potential value”…”There are some data, both epidemiological and from direct clinical trials, that some electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS, which includes products known as “e-cigarettes”) can reduce the use of combustible cigarettes and may be less harmful than traditional cigarettes.”
The FDA requirements for all manufacturers of vaping products (including e-liquids and vaping hardware) became applicable in June 2019.
All products on the market must meet these standards and requirements:
– Registering an establishment and submitting a lists of products, including labeling and advertisements.
– Submitting tobacco health documents. (FDA interprets “health, toxicological, behavioral, or physiologic” to include, for example, cell-based, tissue-based, animal, or human studies, computational toxicology models, information on addiction, intentions to use, cognition, emotion, motivation, and other behavioral effects at both the population-level (epidemiology) as well as the individual level (such as abuse liability).
– Submitting ingredient listings – These include: ingredients, components, and additives.
– Including a required warning statement on packages and advertisements for ENDS (including certain ENDS components, such as e-liquids) stating, “WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.”
We do know that England continues to move forward with strong support for ecigs from the medical community and British health agencies. In the U.S., promotion is not as strong. Health agencies are now focusing on the theme of youth smoking rather than public health. The news rarely promotes any positive statements regarding e-cigarettes, but adult smokers can make an educated choice if they can see past the fear-mongering headlines spreading the alleged dangers of vaping.
Here Are Some Common Questions and Concerns About Vaping
1. Why Bother Quitting Smoking? E-Cigarettes May Be Just As Harmful
FACT: The Royal College of Physicians in England issued a groundbreaking report stating e-cigarettes have a “huge potential to prevent death and disability from tobacco use, and to hasten our progress to a tobacco-free society.”
England’s national health agency, Public Health England also supports vaping. PHE’s is dedicated to promoting healthier lifestyles and advising the government to protect the nation from public health hazards.
In 2015, they released a statement that vaping was at least 95% safer than smoking. In 2018, the agency reviewed new reports from leading independent tobacco experts and issued an updated statement reiterating the substantial health benefits of vaping.
All the facts mentioned above made headlines in major British newspapers.
In the U.S. FDA Commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb released this statement in 2017 in an interview with the Washington Post.
That announcement was not reported by major news sources.
2. They’re Saying Vaping Won’t Help You Quit Smoking
FACT: A study on electronic cigarette use in the European Union sampled 27,460 Europeans from 28 countries. 35% of vapers say that they were previously smokers, and used e-cigarettes to quit smoking. 32% reported that they were smoking less thanks to e-cigs. In total, 6.1 million Europeans have quit by using vaping products.
On Jan 31st, 2019 former FDA director, Dr. Scott Gottlieb tweeted this statement.
This tweet was reported in The New York Times.
3. E-Cigarettes Contain Nicotine and Nicotine Causes Cancer
FACT: Nicotine is an addictive substance; however, it is not the ingredient in cigarettes that causes cancer and other diseases, it’s the tar. The most dangerous thing is that it can addict you to cigarettes.
Vapers have a choice when it comes to nicotine. They can order their preferred level of nicotine or zero nicotine.
Even the FDA Commissioner has said, “It's not the nicotine that kills you, it's all the other carcinogens in lighting tobacco on fire.”
There are 4000 toxic chemicals in tobacco cigarettes that can cause cancer, including formaldehyde, cyanide, ammonia, arsenic, and carbon monoxide.
4. E-Cigarettes Contain Unsafe, Harmful Ingredients Which Aren’t Approved by the FDA
FACT: There are actually only 3-4 ingredients in e-liquid, and they are all food grade and FDA approved, even nicotine.
Those ingredients are propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, flavoring and nicotine (if ordered). If you among the 6% of people sensitive or allergic to PG, it can be reduced significantly by ordering the popular high VG e-liquids. Some e-liquids can be purchased without flavoring.
Check out: What’s the Difference Between PG & VG?
5. E-Liquids Contain Antifreeze
FACT: The “antifreeze” scare was spread in 2009 when the FDA tried to explain the properties of propylene glycol which is found in thousands of foods and drugs…from beer to gummy bears to nasal sprays. The FDA blew it when they said PG was also used in antifreeze. The truth is, PG keeps things moist. It’s used in antifreeze to prevent crystallization. The press made the sick connection that there was antifreeze in e-liquids and it went viral. Many still believe it.
6. E-Cigarettes Can Give You Popcorn Lung
FACT: Another FDA approved flavor ingredient is diacetyl, which has been used for decades to create a creamy, buttery taste in food. It has been found in potato chips, corn chips, popcorn, cookies, chocolate, cocoa-flavored products, candy, gelatin desserts, flour mixes, flavored syrups, prepackaged frosting, sauces, soft drinks, chewing gum and ice cream. That’s just the short list. If your food label includes “artificial flavors” it probably contains diacetyl.
The chemical came under scrutiny when eight industrial workers in a microwave popcorn factory developed a serious lung disease. Their work required exposure to massive amounts diacetyl.
Since some e-liquids contained diacetyl, several scientific tests were performed. Although the levels found were, “absolutely minimal”, and “not expected to raise any concerns about human health effects”, sensational news stories emerged linking vaping to Popcorn Lung.
The actual name of the disease is bronchiolitis obliterans but that’s not as catchy.
Vaping advocates, clinical researchers and tobacco analysts were angry with the Harvard University report on diacetyl and acetyl propionyl because it suggested that vaping introduces a new chemical health hazard. The authors of the study failed to mention that levels of diacetyl are as much as 750 times higher in tobacco cigarette smoke.
It’s also a fact that is that there has never been a case of popcorn lung linked to either smoking or vaping.
Highly responsible e-liquid companies were proactive and removed diacetyl from their ingredients.
7. E-Cigarettes Contain Dangerous Formaldehyde
Fact: All vaping hardware products emit minute amounts of formaldehyde per puff, but it is so minute that it cannot be deemed toxic. This image shows that the level of formaldehyde you get from an ecig is about the same level as found in kindergarten rooms. The formaldehyde level is dramatically higher in tobacco cigarettes.
There were anti-ecig funded studies that tested vapor for dangerous emissions. They used “vaporizing” machines set to extreme temperatures – high enough to create an awful burnt taste know as a “dry puff”. Those tests were repeated by world renowned scientist and independent researcher Dr. Konstantin Farsalinos using normal vaping temperatures. The results showed the facts – minuscule amounts of formaldehyde were produced. Here's Farsalinos' statement.
Other researchers have confirmed that the study was scientifically flawed.
8. Why Should I Be Exposed to the Chemicals in Secondhand Vapor?
FACT: In a 2012 study reported by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and in another conducted in 2015 by Farsalinos, it was proven that second-hand vapor contains less volatile compounds than normal exhaled breath! In contrast, second hand cigarette smoke poses a “significant risk of harm to human health”. Some flavors of e-cigarette vapor may give off a slight smell, but both the odor and the vapor dissipate within 2 seconds.
9. Vaporizers Can Explode
Fact: It’s true, every time an e-cigarette battery explodes and causes harm it is reported across the nation. Readers rarely get the details about why the product exploded or what e-cigarette battery was used. While there have been incidents of explosions, the focus has been on the terrible injuries. If any details are released they tell of misuse of the product. Either the user modified the battery or used an improper charger. Rarely is there a manufacturer defect.
As for the likelihood of an ecig exploding, here are some more facts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over 9 million adults vape regularly in the United States. There are over 60 million vapers worldwide. To date, less than 300 e-cigarette batteries have exploded and most have been on a charger.
The chance of an e-cigarette exploding while you're using it is roughly 0.0000001%. Your chance of dying from a smoking related disease is 50%.
If you’re worried about e-cigarette battery explosions, don’t use any portable electronic device. They all use lithium ion batteries. There have been loads of cell phone and laptop explosions reported, even exploding headphones.
10. E-Cigarettes Are a Gateway to Tobacco for Minors
FACT: The evidence shows the exact opposite.
Here’s a 2018 statement from Public Health England.
In the U.S. facts reported by the CDC National Youth Tobacco Survey show that e-cigarette growth coincides with a decline in smoking to record lows. The agency refuses to tell public of these results. They continue to lobby for FDA regulations that would ban 99% of e-cig products, essentially handing the vaping industry to Big Tobacco companies.
A University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center study was done among college students, 1300 students were interviewed. Out of these 1300 students, 43 of them said their first nicotine product was an e-cigarette, and only one of them said that they switched to smoking tobacco after using an e cigarette. The following graph shows you the facts.
Check out: Are More Kids Becoming Attracted to Vaping?
Learn to Recognize the Myths vs the Facts About E-Cigarettes
Vaping is, historically, a relatively new phenomenon so it’s impossible to say e-cigarettes are 100% safe. We only know what the most respected scientists, researchers can tell us today…and they are saying vaping can save billions of lives.
Despite this fact, the well-publicized political ideology that any form of tobacco or nicotine is dangerous, continues to cloud our judgement. Big tobacco and the pharmaceutical lobbies relentlessly fuel the fear by funding “junk science” studies whose objective is to prevent smokers from using e-cigarettes. But the truth is out there if you do the research.
Read More: Vaping and Public Health: Fact vs. Fiction – Physician, tobacco-control expert and public health advocate sets the record straight about vaping and respiratory illness outbreaks.
Cloud Nine has many articles that confirm the facts about vaping safety, so you can start here, and you can subscribe to our news feed. We believe adult smokers have right to know the truth and the right to make a choice.