The Incredible Way Science Says Vaping Is Safer Than Smoking
Studies indicate vaping doesn’t degrade the quality of household air
It has been over a decade since electronic cigarettes first broke onto the market. It was in 2010 they started to become widespread, gaining massive popularity. Around this time, questions and concerns about vaping trickled into the mainstream media. Since then the supposed issues of vaping have been increasingly exaggerated and sensationalized by lobbyists, governments, and the media.
A lot of the concerns around vaping regard whether or not second-hand vapor is as harmful as second-hand smoke. It is not altogether surprising people would make this assumption, as there are many visual similarities between the two habits. Media sources, jumping on this fear to sell papers have circulated a small and unsubstantiated study that claimed vaping releases harmful substances in the air.
A 2014 study claimed that vaping, even in a thoroughly vented room, increased polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by 20% and doubled the amount of aluminum in the air. This study also claimed vaping was introducing several other harmful substances into the air at significant levels. Looking at the procedures and methodology of this study, however, reveals questionable practices and glaring flaws in their experiment.
The dataset they did detail was made up of only nine test subjects over six sessions. The researchers also failed to specify several critical pieces of their test design, making the experiment unrepeatable and unable to be validated. Some of the details the authors left out were the types of vaporizers used, the levels of nicotine in the e-liquid, and what the vaping procedure was.
So not only can the test not be repeated, but it is entirely possible that what they were intentionally testing a misleading scenario. Tests with that kind of detail missing are often used to deliberately find negative results and shift public opinion. Doing this, however, also wholly discredits the study and their results.
A different study, conducted by a team out of San Diego State University, found very different results when looking at indoor air quality. This study analyzed the indoor air quality at over 300 homes, categorizing them by whether they reported smoking or vaping indoors, or if they were smoke and vape free. Monitoring devices were installed in the homes, continually collecting data.
As expected, in homes that allowed smoking there was an enormous increase in harmful substances. Comparing homes that allowed vaping, however, the team said “We observed no apparent difference in the weekly mean particle distribution between 43 homes reporting any electronic cigarette usage and those reporting none.”
Some may refuse to give up on their belief that second-hand vapor is harmful. Regardless, the scientific community agrees vaping is substantially less dangerous than smoking. This applies to both direct users and people exposed to vapor second hand. More and more credible and well-designed studies are being released supporting this fact. Public Health England, Great Britain’s equivalent of the FDA, famously published a study back in 2015 that found vaping to be at least 95% safer than smoking. That study has since been supported numerous times.
Other studies have directly supported the San Diego team’s findings. One example, a study published out of Drexel University, analyzed 9,000 cases of vaping’s effect on indoor air quality. That team concluded that the “current state of knowledge about chemistry of liquids and aerosols associated with electronic cigarettes indicates that there is no evidence that vaping produces inhalable exposures to contaminants of the aerosol that would warrant health concerns by the standards that are used to ensure safety of workplaces.”
Another claim made by anti-vapers is that VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, prove the danger of e-cigarettes. This claim was proven wrong by Spain’s Council of Scientific Research all the way back in 2015. They looked at vapor, analyzing it for over 150 different VOCs. Ultimately they concluded vaping produces the same amount of VOCs as a typical human breath.
While vaping, in appearance, resembles smoking, it is its own separate entity. Burning cigarettes produces thousands of chemicals that cause immense harm to those who use and are exposed to them. While many fear that vaping will lead to increased smoking rates, or more harm being done to users and bystanders, their fears could not be further from the truth. Vaping has been proven time and again as an immensely useful tool for smoking cessation and harm reduction. It is the key for many to quitting harmful cigarettes once and for all. So if we value ending the global tobacco crisis as quickly as possible, we must begin to support vaping seriously.
Do you worry that second-hand vaping is dangerous? Is it fair to regulate vaping and smoking with the same laws? What do you think is the best way to improve the public understanding of the benefits of vaping? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.