Vaping Myths Debunked

Vaping Myths Debunked Oliver Norman

Vaping Myths Debunked

Since it has risen to popularity vaping has built up more than its fair share of myths! It is to be expected when new technology enters the market, especially tech that delivers nicotine, that people will have questions, fears, and doubts.

Thankfully, over the last ten years many of these myths have been debunked. As people have grown to understand the way vaping products work and healthcare experts have had access to more and more data on their impact and performance, we now have a much better view of the vaping world.

With that said, there are still plenty of people out there with doubts, and so in this blog we will discuss some of the most common vaping myths, so you can vape with confidence!

The information in this blog has been sourced from The UK .gov official website, Cancer research UK, Action on Smoking & Health (ASH), and Yorkshire cancer research which you can explore yourself by clicking the links here or in our source list after the article.

Does Vaping Give You Popcorn Lung?

This is one of the most prevalent myths about vaping, often being touted as a reason for people to avoid vaping altogether. This all came about because of an ingredient used in food flavourings called diacetyl, which provides a rich, buttery flavour to things like pastries, custards, or similar treats.

When inhaled at high levels, diacetyl has been linked to the serious lung condition, Bronchiolitis Obliterans, which was initially observed among workers in a popcorn factory in the USA where it was a part of the flavouring sprayed onto the corn. This meant there was a high level of airborne diacetyl being inhaled by workers. It was this connection that earned it the name ‘popcorn lung’.

The fears about vaping causing this condition came about because diacetyl used to be included in some flavourings used to make e-liquids. The USA was a little slower to react, but in the UK this ingredient was banned for use in vaping products by 2017. This means no legally produced e-liquids in the UK should expose you to even a low level of diacetyl, meaning there is no potential risk of popcorn lung.

Vaping Causes EVALI

EVALI stands for e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury. In 2019 this term hit UK news outlets following fallout in the USA where vaping was being inaccurately linked to a series of lung illness outbreaks. Much like the popcorn lung incident, this caused the fears of many current and potential vapers to spike, preventing many from exploring vaping as an alternative to smoking to this day.

Cancer research UK reminds us that:

“An investigation found the cases of EVALI were linked to contaminated illegal products. It was not linked to regular or long-term vaping. There was no similar outbreak of EVALI in the UK, and the chemicals of concern are banned in e-cigarettes in the UK. There is no good evidence that legal e-cigarettes in the UK cause lung disease.”

The illegal chemicals included THC, the infamous psychoactive compound found in cannabis, and vitamin E acetate. These were being added to ‘cracked’ vapes, which had e-liquid pods opened up by members of the public and these illicit substances added. The subsequent inhaling of these chemicals is what was ultimately found to be the cause of the outbreak, rather than legal e-liquids.

Woman looking puzzled holding a vaping device

E-Cigarettes And E-Liquids Aren’t Regulated

This claim is far from the truth. The UK has some of the strictest regulations for vaping products in the world. In 2016 the UK and EU introduced the Tobacco products Directive, more commonly known as TPD. TPD was later replaced in the UK post-Brexit, by the Tobacco and Related Products Regulation (TRPR), however this was a change primarily in name alone, as the regulations themselves remained nearly identical to those in the TPD.

These rules introduced strict quality and safety standards, as well as extensive packaging and labelling requirements intended to hold manufacturers accountable for producing fully tested, high quality products, and ensure the safety of consumers. Some of these regulations include:

  • Tanks cannot exceed 2ml of e-liquid.
  • E-liquid with nicotine should not exceed 10ml.
  • Nicotine strength should not be higher than 20mg.
  • Bottle caps must have a childproof cap.
  • New products need to be registered with the necessary authorities, including full toxicological and emissions data for all ingredients needing to be provided to the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) typically at least 6 months before sale.
  • E-liquids must be screened and tested for a variety of potential carcinogens and harmful ingredients like the aforementioned diacetyl.

Is Vaping Just As Bad As Smoking?

Since the landmark 2015 e-cigarette review by Public Health England found vaping to be 95% less harmful than smoking cigarettes, the majority of experts agree that vaping poses a far lower risk to health. This does not mean they are risk-free, but every annual report by PHE since, and indeed those carried out by other national bodies have reinforced vaping’s relative safety when compared to smoking tobacco.

Cancer Research UK has stated that there is “no good evidence that vaping causes cancer”, whereas smoking is known to cause a t least 15 different kinds of cancer. The NHS also reinforces this stance by adding “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.”

Yorkshire Cancer Research also states that - “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.”

While more long term, and higher quality studies are needed to determine vaping’s impact on certain conditions, the data we now have suggests that vaping is a much safer alternative to smoking, and in terms of harmful chemicals produced during use, vaping and smoking are night-and-day.

Is Second-Hand Vapour Dangerous?

It is common knowledge that cigarette smoke is dangerous even to those around you, which is why in the UK we have smoking bans in enclosed public spaces. Comparatively vaping is not covered by these laws, and it is up to the organisation in charge of a location to create their own policy on the subject. The NHS states that:

“Smoking e-cigarettes, also known as vaping, doesn't produce tobacco smoke so the risks of passive smoking with conventional cigarettes don't apply to e-cigs. Research into this area is ongoing, but it seems that e-cigs release negligible amounts of nicotine into the atmosphere and the limited evidence available suggests that any risk from passive vaping to bystanders is small relative to tobacco cigarettes.”

The UK Gov site also tells us that PHE’s 2018 e-cigarette evidence review found no identified health risks of passive vapour to bystanders. Of course, those with asthma or similar respiratory conditions can be sensitive to a wide range of environmental irritants like e-cig vapour, but also cold air and pollen. To those with healthy lungs and no pre-existing conditions however, there is little evidence to suggest second-hand vapour carries significant risk.

Can Vaping Help You Quit Smoking?

According to the NHS, many thousands of people have already quit smoking in the UK with the help of vaping products. Indeed, the NHS is even offering vapes to pregnant smokers because of the comparative harm reduction vs tobacco. They state that:

“A 2021 review found people who used e-cigarettes to quit smoking, as well as having expert face-to-face support, can be up to twice as likely to succeed as people who used other nicotine replacement products, such as patches or gum.

Using an e-cigarette can help you manage your nicotine cravings. To get the best out of it, make sure you're using it as much as you need to and with the right strength of nicotine in your e-liquid.”

Yorkshire cancer research also takes this stance, telling us there are up to 50,700 additional quitters each year and rising in England because of e-cigarettes. Touting their similarity to the action of smoking as a major driver of this success. They go on to say:

“Research also suggests that vaping products are more effective at supporting people to stop smoking than other stop smoking aids such as Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). One trial of English stop smoking services found that smokers using vaping products were nearly twice as likely to stop smoking as those using NRT.”

Is Vaping More Expensive That Smoking?

This is certainly not true. Even before tax increases designed to reduce the appeal of cigarettes and top up the NHS which loses billions each year due to caring for those with smoking related illnesses, Vaping has always been a more cost-effective alternative to cigarettes.

ASH gives us these fantastic charts which highlight the cost of smoking vs a range of alternatives over time:

Cigarettes per day

Cost per day

Cost per week

1 year






















Cost per week

1 year

NRT Users



E-cigarette users




As you can see from the above, not only is vaping cheaper than smoking, but it is also the cheapest alternative on the market.

Cancer research UK also provides this handy infographic:

Cancer Research UK Breakdown on the difference in cost between smoking and vaping


Our Sources:

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