Assertions about e-cigarettes run the gamut from factual, misinformed, overly positive, and just downright stupid. The latter is the easiest to run with because it's so damn sensational…and easily debunked. Here are our favorites…
1. Nicotine Juice is Extremely Dangerous
A recent New York Times article contended that e-liquid is just poison by the barrel, and that title alone sparked E-Fer Madness across the Interwebz. Since then, reams of articles have fretted about hundreds of cases of people poisoned by it, whether from ingesting the e-liquid, puffing like a maniac, or spilling it on themselves in their sleep.
The truth: E-liquid is not for drinking nor is it a topical oil. There's hundreds of chemical products in every American home that if ingested or poured onto the skin would make for a real bummer of a night. Most people poisoned by juice via ingestion are kids. Kids are also known to eat shit and drink Drain-O if left to their own devices.
Poisoning by inhalation is also easily debunked. Puffing on nicotine for three hours straight makes you nauseous? No way! Smoking regular cigarettes for three hours straight will do the same exact thing! That also applies to drinking, marijuana, excessive jogging, oversleeping, playing Grand Theft Auto V , and every other activity if done in excess. Moderation has always been the key, and e-cigs are no different.
One of the few articles to point out this obvious fact quoted someone with little clout these days–a Big Tobacco man. Jason Healy, the president of Lorillard Inc.'s Blu E-cigs Unit, told the Winston-Salem Journal, "The product is for adult smokers, and therefore the responsibility for children's safety falls on the parents, just like bleaches and prescription medications…The focus should be on parenting and education, and not regulation."
2. Exhaled Vapor is Equivalent to Second Hand Smoke
Oh no! Pull the fire alarm! We don't know the affects of second-hand vapor and we're all gonna diiie!
The Huffington Post wrote a laughable piece on the possible dangers of second-hand vapor, and that's not even counting when they wondered if it's safe to "bogart an e-cig" or why people have "got to" smoke in the first place. They examined an admittedly small study by Wolfgang Schober of the Bavarian Health and Food Safety Authority that found exhaled vapor worsened the indoor air quality and increase the concentration of nicotine, PAHs, and aluminum in the room. Well, sure: if you're hanging out in a vape shop with 10 other people puffing away, it might get a little hazy. But for the average person that doesn't vape, it won't affect them since it dissipates almost instantly and the amount of nicotine released after a person has already inhaled is minute. You'll get more nicotine in your system if you eat an eggplant for dinner.
Time Magazine quoted a study from Nicotine and Tobacco Research that "found…e-cigarettes are a source of second-hand exposure to nicotine, but not of other compounds released when tobacco is burned." They also pointed out that the amount of nicotine was 10 times less than tobacco smoke. Pretty sure that when folks worry about real second-hand smoke, it's not the nicotine they're concerned about.
3. E-Cigarettes Don't Actually Help People Quit Smoking
The Journal of the American Medical Association released an unconvincing study that is nonetheless being passed around by e-cig opponents. They surveyed 949 smokers in 2011, 88 of which used e-cigs, to find out how well e-cigs worked as cessation devices. After seven months, the researchers found that 10 percent of vapers quit smoking, and around 13 percent of regular smokers quit. And while vaping doesn't appear wildly successful, 3 percent is hardly a big enough difference to close the case.
Of course, personal experience doesn't count for much in "scientific" studies but any vape shop owner who's not just in it for the money will passionately tell you that they opened up a shop because e-cigs helped them quit smoking and they wanted to share it with others. The personal success stories are immense. This doesn't mean that people are steadfast and don't fall off the train sometimes, but that also happens whether quitting cold turkey or with the patch.
Amanda Sandford, a research manager at Action on Smoking and Health told the Times Live that "the potential of e-cigarettes to reduce tobacco-related damage outweighs the risks," and that their personal research showed two-thirds of people who used e-cigs to quit smoking were successful.
4. E-Liquid is Made to Attract Children
Opponents are wholeheartedly convinced that e-cigarettes are being marketed directly to children. I don't know about you guys, but when I want to sell a drug-product, six-years-olds aren't the first buyers on my list–they can't steal that much money from mommy, you know?
Reuters quoted Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat of Oregon, who said the FDA's slow response to regulating juice was "disgraceful." Merkley is convinced that "tutti-frutti" and strawberry flavors are "an insidious strategy to addict our children to nicotine." The OC Register commented on a similar aspect of juice's tastiness, but it was that the bright vials and sweet flavors make it more likely for children to "think it's candy and want to ingest it," ultimately poisoning themselves. Refer to kids eating shit and Drain-O on that last point.
5. The Vape Community Wants No Regulation
Reuters asserted that "E-cigarette companies believe they should be exempt from the full spectrum of regulations, saying [it] would stifle innovation, damage small business and hurt consumers trying to quit smoking." There is a portion of the e-cig community who feels this way, and to a certain point, they're right. Heavy regulation by the FDA could ruin the vibrant, free-market happening at this point. But most industry folks who've been involved since the beginning have awaited regulation for years now.
Vape shops like E-Cig City, The Vapor Loft, Vapes of Wrath, juice makers like Drake's Vape, Vape Goddess, and Five Pawns and many more agree that regulation is necessary. They pride themselves on running a good business and rather enjoy the idea of kicking out the competition that isn't up to code. From the very beginning, Vapor Loft didn't carry juice from makers that couldn't prove their process was kosher and some juice makers have already moved production into OSHA certified facilities.
The gossip around e-cigs may not go on for much longer though; the FDA recently announced that they're putting e-cigs on the agenda.