Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Debunking E-Cigarette Myths: Formaldehyde, Diacetyl & Popcorn Lung

There has been a lot of buzz lately about potential e-cigarette dangers, despite the fact that there is an astounding amount of evidence that vaping is a much healthier alternative to smoking and has successfully helped many kick the smoking habit for good. In 2015, Public Health England compiled the world's first evidence-based report on electronic cigarettes, which not so surprisingly concluded, "E-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than smoking." The agency even recommends that doctors encourage their smoking patients to try e-cigarettes as a harm-reducing alternative to tobacco.

Unfortunately, the report also revealed that public opinion is poorly misguided. Thanks to sensational headlines about dubious e-cig studies, about half of the population still believes that e-cigs are just as dangerous as traditional cigarettes. Below are some common myths surrounding e-cigs along with their questionable sources.

Myth #1: E-Cigs Cause "Popcorn Lung"
Diacetyl is an artificial flavor additive often found in popcorn. Workers in popcorn factories who are exposed to large quantities of the chemical are susceptible to bronchiolitis obliterans, which has led to the term "popcorn lung." A study of e-liquid ingredients found diacetyl in many of the flavored samples but at levels that were far below what is considered dangerous. According to another study, tobacco cigarettes are said to produce 750 times more diacetyl than any e-liquid tested. That said, great tasting e-liquid can still be created without using diacetyl and all of the e-liquid at Vapor Lounge is 100% diacetyl free.

Myth #2: There Is Formaldehyde in E-cigs
A widely criticized study claimed to have found trace amounts of formaldehyde in e-cig emissions. Upon further review, critics noted that the researchers heated e-liquid samples to temperatures that not only no one would vape at because of the unpleasant flavor, but also that most e-cig devices cannot reach. In addition, the device was run completely dry, creating a condition that no one would actually vape under. An appropriate comparison would be baking a cake at 500 degrees for five hours. The chemical composition of the cake would change; it would become charred and unsafe to eat. However, when heated at the correct temperature, both cake and e-cig vapor are safer to consume.

Myth #3: E-cigs Are a Gateway to Smoking
Researchers found a strong correlation between youth who try e-cigs and youth who try traditional cigarettes. Unfortunately, they didn't bother to ask which one the youngsters tried first, nor did they question whether the youth continued using either e-cigs or tobacco on a regular basis. Nonetheless, media outlets ran with the researchers' assumption that vaping leads to smoking. In reality, smoking rates are dropping while vaping is becoming more popular, so the inverse may be true. Teenagers who are likely to experiment with e-cigs are also likely to experiment with tobacco, but that doesn't mean one causes the other. Teenage smoking rates, specifically, are at an all-time low. In 1991, when we first began tracking, 27.5 percent of high school students reported smoking at least one cigarette in the last month; by 2011 that number had dropped to 18.1 percent, and by 2014 it was only 9.2 percent.

Myth #4: You Are in Danger of an E-Cigarette Explosion
While there have been many instances of e-cigarettes exploding lately, it is important to understand that with proper use, this is preventable. The main causes of this are: 1) pairing an unprotected battery with an unprotected unit, or 2) using an incorrect charger for your e-cigarette mod. This is comparable to using diesel fuel in a car that should be run on petrol. It just doesn’t work. Likewise, it is vital to use mods that have overcharge protection to prevent overheating, and this is especially pertinent when using an 18650 li-ion battery, for example. This battery comes with many great benefits for e-cigarette use, but it should be noted that there is a wide range of 18650 batteries and they were not originally created for e-cigarettes. They have been used in everything from flashlights to light strips and lasers. This battery can cause explosions if carried in your pocket with keys or other solid items, so the concern for eruptions with this battery is not isolated to only e-cigarettes. In reality, all batteries can be dangerous if proper protective measures aren’t taken. Always use the proper charger with your battery and the right battery for your e-cig to avoid this potentially life-threatening danger. At Vapor Lounge, we only provide quality brands of e-cigs that have an automatic shutoff to avoid overheating, so rest assured that if you are shopping with us, your device will include this feature.

Fear of the unknown is understandable, but such scare tactics may dissuade smokers from making decisions that could vastly improve their health. There is strong evidence that e-cigs may be more effective than nicotine gums and patches at helping people quit tobacco. Everyone agrees that smoking tobacco is a deadly addiction that kills millions every year, so there is no reason to reject a safer and potentially life-saving alternative.

References:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/e-cigarettes-around-95-less-harmful-than-tobacco-estimates-landmark-review
http://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=148250&CultureCode=en
Myth #1: E-Cigs Cause "Popcorn Lung"
http://ecigarettereviewed.com/new-cdc-data-debunks-gateway-concerns
http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/2015/12/new-study-finds-that-average-diacetyl.html
Myth #2: There Is Formaldehyde in E-cigs
http://www.ecigarette-research.com/web/index.php/2013-04-07-09-50-07/2015/191-form-nejm
Myth #3: E-cigs Are a Gateway to Smoking
http://fortune.com/2015/09/24/e-cigarette-use-vaping-gateway-regular-cigarette-use/
http://ecigarettereviewed.com/new-cdc-data-debunks-gateway-concerns
http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/youth_data/tobacco_use/
http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/tables/trends/cig_smoking/
Myth #4: You Are in Danger of an E-Cigarette Explosion
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?258232-If-unprotected-18650-batteries-are-dangerous-why-are-they-on-sale

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