THE MYTH: Vaping is just as bad for your health as smoking
The harm from smoking comes from inhaling smoke: sticky particles and hot toxic gasses that result from the high temperature combustion of dried tobacco leaves. Vaping products do not produce smoke. There is no burning of organic material involved at all; instead, the user inhales droplets of nicotine-carrying liquid. The scientific community has gathered extensive data on vapour toxicants and measurements of “exposure biomarkers” in users that suggest far lower risks than smoking.
- In Europe, the TPD bans the use of carcinogenic, genotoxic and reprotoxic substances, as well as those known to be respiratory sensitizers. The three ingredients that make up 95% of vaping liquids – glycerol, glycol and nicotine – are of pharmaceutical grade and are used in various inhaled medicines licensed in the EU. Those that remain – flavouring agents and various processing agents – are approved for use in food where no pharmaceutical grades are available. Manufacturers also undertake and submit extensive testing and risk assessment to Member States before putting products on the market.
- Laboratory analysis and clinical trials have been used to measure the substances in the aerosol inhaled by users. An assessment of toxic exposures from vaping products predicts that the vast majority of potential exposures from vaping products are less than 1% of the “total limit values” used to determine acceptable occupational exposure to those substances.
- Government-backed scientific agencies around the world recognize vaping as less harmful than smoking. The US National Academies of Science Engineering and Mathematics said that compared to cigarettes e-cigarettes are “likely to be far less harmful”; the premier British medical organization, the Royal College of Physicians, said that
“the long term risks associated with e-cigarettes…are unlikely to exceed 5% of those associated with smoked tobacco products, and may well be substantially lower than this figure”.
- Directive 2014/40/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products. Link
- Burstyn (2014) Peering through the mist: systematic review of what the chemistry of contaminants in electronic cigarettes tells us about health risks, BMC Public Health Link
- Royal College of Physicians (2016) Nicotine without smoke. Link
More vapers have completely stopped using tobacco products than people who tried to quit using willpower or nicotine replacement therapies.