Not that long ago, I wrote a post outlining 7 myths about e-cigarettes that seem to be incredibly pervasive. It turns out that post was amazing popular, and I got a lot of feedback on the subject. Based on your suggestions, as well as some new myths that have popped up in the short time since I wrote the first article, I decided a sequel was in order.
Read on for 5 more e-cigarette myths that are in need of a debunking.
1. There’s a crisis of e-Cigarette liquid poisonings
The Myth: Little kids are drinking e-liquid because it tastes like yummy candy and being hospitalized by the dozens.
Where’d it Come From: Primarily this article from the New York Times and many local news outlets reporting statistics from their local poison control centers.
The Reality: This one is a very nuanced issue. First of all, e-liquid poisonings are up across the board. This makes sense because the e-cigarette industry has had explosive growth in the last two years.
I also don’t want to trivialize the issue. I think it’s incredibly important to raise awareness so that parents (and pet owners) properly store e-liquid like any other potentially hazardous household chemical. The industry needs to ensure they are properly labeling their bottles and using childproof packaging. This is no longer optional.
That being said, many of the claims are quite outrageous. First of all while e-cigarette vapor tastes yummy and e-liquid might smell good, nicotine e-liquid tastes absolutely horrible. If you’ve ever gotten any on your tongue, you know what I mean. Second, most people who ingest nicotine will begin vomiting before they can really poison themselves. Long term effects from nicotine poisonings are uncommon.
The other big sticking point is that while these incidents are indeed real, and more needs to be done to avoid them, they are a tiny fraction of the overall poisonings that happen in the US. As has been pointed out, very common things like toothpaste are responsible for more poisonings.
2. e-Liquid is available by the barrel in very high strengths
The Myth: e-cigarette poisonings are so common because e-liquid in very high concentrations (100mg/ml) are available in very large quantities.
Where’d it Come From: The same damn article as above
The Reality: Yes, DIYers and actual e-liquid manufacturers can go out and buy concentrated e-liquid for dilution online. Chances are pretty good barrel loads would be prohibitively expensive as they are meant for commercial production. You can get damned near anything on the internet. However, these things aren’t sold as ready-to-use e-liquids for casual users.
The concentrated stuff is not even flavored, it’s just nicotine cut with PG or VG so flavors can be added in the final product.
3. e-Cigarettes do not help people quit smoking
The Myth: A pair of studies that claim to have found the prohibition holy grail: proof of the gateway theory.
Where’d it Come From: A serious misunderstanding of sciencing
The Reality: Both studies were deeply flawed and in both cases, the authors of the studies stated that there was no data to actually prove causality between using e-cigarettes and smoking. Yet, press releases for both claimed that they did, in fact, have proof. The studies were debunked by countless people, including prohibitionist groups like the ALA and Dr. Michael Siegel.
4. e-Cigarettes are just as bad for you as smoking
The Myth: Users of e-cigarettes are exposing themselves and others to the same risks as smoking
Where’d it Come From: Boneheads who really suck at math
The Reality: This particular myth shows up in many different places with different wording. Usually it focuses on one thing for example, a study finding that vapers exhale formaldehyde. Then later, it’s proven that everyone exhales formaldehyde. But by then, the allegations by the media and politicians tend to stick even without anything to back it up.
Common sense naturally dictates that a product with just 4 ingredients can’t possibly be as dangerous as a product with thousands of chemicals, several of which are known carcinogens.
5. We don’t know what’s in them
The Myth: There’s no FDA regulation of e-cigarettes, so we can’t possibly know what’s in e-cigarettes.
Where’d it Come From: Multiple sources, prohibitionists, lawmakers and so on. It’s a backhanded tribute to tobacco companies who sort of have a reputation for putting a crazy amount of crap in their products.
The Reality: I feel like we’ve been down this road before. There are countless studies about a number of things, including the components of e-liquid. The idea that regulation is the only way to find out what’s in something is idiotic. Most e-liquid manufacturers are very transparent about what goes into their products. It’s sort of a point of pride that there’s so few ingredients.
Fox news ran a story that those wacky teens are putting e-liquid in their energy drinks to get high. I’m not even going to bother to write anything else about the subject. This one belongs in the file along with butt chugging.