"Are misconceptions about vaping harming our greatest opportunity to help reduce the leading cause of early death?" – Yorkshire Cancer Research
Despite achieving “household name” recognition globally, vaping has remained one of the most polarising subjects when discussing smoking alternatives. The vast majority of people considering quitting cigarettes still find themselves without easy access to the facts and impartial, scientifically validated information they need to make a truly informed choice.
With a long history of misinformation, international confusion and sensationalist media coverage, vaping is still, for many, shrouded in myths that cause a persistent lack of confidence in those looking for a tobacco-free alternative to smoking.
Through in-depth research and interviews with leading experts in the field, Yorkshire Cancer Research have published a landmark investigative video “Vaping Demystified”, which tackles the biggest misconceptions in vaping and aims to lay bare the vital information needed to empower smokers in making a decision based on fact, not fiction.
Watch below, or for more information, visit: https://yorkshirecancerresearch.org.uk/vaping-demystified
Unsurprisingly, Yorkshire Cancer Research refer to Yorkshire as a case study for the investigation, but their overall findings and messages have far-reaching impact that is relevant for anyone seeking the truth about vaping and whether it is the best alternative for them, as well as highlighting the already understood impact of cigarette smoking by comparison.
- Smoking is Yorkshire’s leading cause of preventable cancer and is responsible for over 4500 new cases each year.
- Cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals, of which 69 are known to cause cancer.
- 1 in 2 long-term smokers will die prematurely if they don’t quit.
- It is never too late to stop smoking. Quitting at any age can lengthen and improve quality of life, even for those with a smoking-related illness.
- The evidence is clear that vaping is far less harmful than smoking. Switching completely can improve the health of smokers substantially, compared to continuing to smoke.
- Vapour does not cause harm to others around you. This is in contrast to second-hand smoke from smoking, which is very harmful to the health of others.
- Vaping products are the most popular stop smoking aid in England. YCR have estimated that there are up to 5000 additional quitters a year in Yorkshire because of them.
- Vaping products are not completely risk-free. Non-smokers should therefore not start vaping.
Vaping Demystified goes to great lengths to seek the truth and debunk the myriad false claims made over the years regarding vaping, in an effort to restore public faith in their benefit as a cessation tool. Challenging public perceptions head-on, highlight the root of common fears and ultimately provide the evidence as to why they are unjustified.
The video itself explains how media sensationalism and unregulated internet journalism have encouraged widespread distrust of vaping and we encourage you to watch it all to form your own opinions – below are 5 of the biggest questions asked by consumers, and their impartial answer, as written by YCR:
I’ve read that vaping is just as dangerous as smoking. Is this true?
Vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking. Switching completely from smoking to vaping is likely to have substantial health benefits over continued smoking.
Yorkshire Cancer Research supports the use of vaping products as a tool to quit smoking and this position is supported by Public Health England (PHE) who, in February 2015, published an independent review which estimated that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking.
Since then, PHE has published a further six independent e-cigarette reports, the last one being last month. All of them have consistently reinforced the finding from previous reports that vaping is significantly less harmful compared to smoking.
The NHS also reflects this position in its guidance for smokers, stating that ‘In recent years, e-cigarettes have become a very popular stop smoking aid in the UK. Also known as vapes or e-cigs, they're far less harmful than cigarettes and can help you quit smoking for good.’
Almost all the harm from smoking comes from the thousands of chemicals (such as tar and carbon monoxide) contained in tobacco smoke. As vaping products do not contain or burn tobacco, these chemicals are either not present or are present at significantly lower levels.
Although smoking rates are declining, the proportion of smokers in Yorkshire (15.4%) is higher than the average for England (13.9%). There are more than 622 000 adult smokers in Yorkshire - half will die of a smoking-related disease if they do not quit. If all these smokers switched to vaping products, thousands of lives could be saved.
By spreading the message that vaping and smoking are not the same, and outlining vaping’s value as a tool to quit, we can reduce the number of people in the region who are needlessly dying through smoking-related cancers.
Vaping products are not available on prescription through the NHS. Does that mean they’re not regulated? How do we know what they contain?
The UK has some of the tightest regulations on vaping products in the world under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016.
These regulations ensure that vaping products are subject to maximum standards of quality and safety, as well as packaging and labelling requirements to provide consumers with the information they need to make informed choices. They cover nicotine strength, health warnings, advertising, childproof packaging, and a ban on certain ingredients.
Vaping product manufacturers must provide the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), with detailed information about their product, including a list of all ingredients.
I’ve heard that vaping products can cause harm to your lungs. Is this true?
There have been stories in the media about an outbreak of lung injury called EVALI in the USA. These cases of EVALI were caused by people using vaping products with homemade or illicit e-liquids that contained cannabis products and a chemical called vitamin E acetate.
The use of cannabis is illegal in the UK under the Misuse of Drugs Act 2010 and vitamin E acetate is a prohibited ingredient under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016. Therefore, the risk of getting EVALI by using a UK-regulated vaping product is low and so far, there has been one case in this country compared to 2600 cases in the US.
There have also been stories that vaping products cause a disease called ‘popcorn lung’. This was caused by a chemical flavouring called diacetyl, which had been used in e-liquids. Again, diacetyl is banned in e-liquids in the UK under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016. Therefore, using a UK-regulated vaping product and e-liquids will not cause ‘popcorn lung’.
It took a long time for the dangers of smoking to be fully realised. How do we really know if vaping products are safe? Shouldn’t there be more research before people are encouraged to use them?
Vaping products have been available in the UK since 2007. They are currently one of the most widely researched scientific topics. There is substantial evidence on the short-term impact of their use, which has shown that they are far less harmful than smoking and an effective and popular stop smoking aid.
What we know for certain is that smoking is Yorkshire’s leading cause of preventable cancer and is responsible for over 4500 new cancer cases each year. 1 in 2 long-term smokers will die prematurely if they do not quit – so action needs to be taken now.
It’s true that there are some things about vaping that need more research, like for example, what might happen to someone’s health if they vaped for many years. However, through extensive evidence reviews, Public Health England has repeatedly found that vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking. We can’t afford to wait for 10 or 20 years for the long-term impact to be reviewed, while in the meantime the health of hundreds of thousands of people across Yorkshire continues to be harmed by tobacco smoke.
I have heard that vaping products can explode and cause fires. Is this true?
Fires caused by vaping products are rare and about as likely as fires caused by mobile phones. Where they do occur, it is likely the battery has malfunctioned, so those who vape should always use the charger supplied with the vaping product and avoid charging it for extended periods of time, such as overnight.
The risk of fire from vaping products is considerably lower than the risk of fire caused by cigarettes, which are the leading cause of death in domestic households, causing around 2000 house fires a year.
See for Yourself!
Yorkshire Cancer Research determined from their survey that only 56% of people are confident in their belief that vaping is safer than smoking, while a whopping 89% of people still feel the facts around the risks of vaping are generally unclear – highlighting the importance of the video in presenting a rare impartial position on the subject, with 2 in 3 people feeling there is not enough information available about quitting methods to make an informed decision.
If you consider yourself one of these people, please explore the links below and see for yourself the impartial research carried out and position Yorkshire Cancer Research have taken on vaping. If you decide to make the switch, we will be proud to support your vaping journey every step of the way!
Vaping Demystified FAQs:
YCR’s official position on vaping:
The Truth About Vaping:
Vaping – What you need to know: