New social or behavioral trends often create uncertainty and hand wringing in the part of the general public that is slow to accept new things. At one time, smoking marijuana was viewed as some sort of moral bogeyman (remember Reefer Madness?) but eventually people realized that it was not as dangerous as initially suspected. Vaping – especially with cannabis vaporizers – is now in the spotlight and, while the misgivings over vaping are not as severe as they were for marijuana, there are still doubts and untruths that need to be set straight.
Myth 1 – E-cigarettes contain formaldehyde
A study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that high levels of formaldehyde were produced from the liquid used in e-cigarettes. Formaldehyde is a well-known carcinogen and the report speculated that e-cigarette users had a higher cancer risk than users of traditional tobacco cigarettes.
The study found that e-cigarettes produced formaldehyde hemiacetals, not pure formaldehyde. There is no evidence that hemiacetals are toxic or carcinogenic. Furthermore, the temperature at which the tests were conducted were unrealistically high for any reasonable vaper.
The temperatures would create dry hit or dry puff conditions which any vaper would immediately reject because of the discomfort and lack of flavor. The tests were conducted using a machine and did not account for the human factor. Much like how a person would not drink a cup of polluted water, a vaper would not continue vaping at such high temperatures.
Myth 2 – E-cigarettes cause popcorn lung
Popcorn lung, or Bronchiolitis Obliterans, is a disease that causes obstruction of the bronchioles in the lungs. It has many different causes, one of which is the inhalation of toxic fumes. Studies showed that some e-liquids contain the chemical that can cause popcorn lung.
The chemical responsible for causing popcorn lung is called diacetyl and it is indeed present in some e-liquids. However, it is present in much lower quantities than in traditional cigarettes. E-liquids containing diacetyl should be avoided as much as possible, even if their danger was exaggerated by the study.
Myth 3 – E-liquids contain anti-freeze
Some e-liquids contain propylene glycol, a compound that is used in some kinds of anti-
Propylene glycol is used in some kinds of antifreeze to render it less harmful if accidentally swallowed. The FDA classifies it as safe which means that e-liquids that use propylene glycol are not harmful to the user. Propylene glycol has industrial applications, but it is also commonly used in some drinks as a solvent. The propylene glycol used in e-liquids is food grade, not industrial grade.
Myth 4 – Vaping can cause cancer because of the nicotine present in some e-liquids
Smoking can cause cancer and cigarettes contain nicotine. E-cigarettes also contain nicotine and therefore can also cause cancer.
Nicotine is not the cancer-causing agent in cigarettes. The combustion of the tar and preservatives in cigarettes is what releases harmful carcinogens. E-cigarettes do not use combustion, so no harmful carcinogens are released in the vaping process.
Myth 5 – Vaping creates second-hand smoke
Smoking using paper products creates second-hand smoke, since e-liquids have many similar ingredients to traditional forms of smoking they must create second-hand smoke as well.
Vaping does not produce smoke of any kind. As the name implies, only vapor is produced when vaping. The vapor produced dissipates more quickly than smoke and is harmless to any person in its vicinity.
Myth 6 – Vaping marijuana is the same as smoking marijuana.
Smoking and vaping both consume the same ingredients, therefore the effects must be the same as well.
Vaping marijuana is less harmful than smoking it because the combustion of marijuana creates harmful substances that can irritate the lungs or the throat. Dry herb vaporizers do not burn the marijuana; instead they heat it up so that it produces a vapor. The vapor contains the THC and cannabinoids present in marijuana, but none of the irritants caused by combustion.
Vaping e-liquids that contain cannabinoids is even safer because the extraction process removes the psychoactive and addictive parts of marijuana. Only the medically beneficial ingredients are left behind.