Three Common Misconceptions About Vaping Disproven Three Common Misconceptions About Vaping Disproven

In our current world full of fake news, it can be tough to understand truth from fiction. So here’s proof that these common vaping myths are false

As vaping has grown into a massive industry of its own, there has never been any lack of myths that claim vaping is dangerous. In the earliest days of vaping, it would have been understandable to be cautious with a brand new product claiming to be just like cigarettes but relatively harmless. But after many years of reliable peer-reviewed research, the facts about vaporizers is becoming more apparent. Unfortunately, unless you go looking for studies yourself, it’s likely that the only news coverage you’ve ever seen about e-cigarettes is negative. So with that in mind, we made this short list of common vaping myths and the evidence that debunks them.

Vaping Leads To Smoking

There are countless articles that question whether or not vaping is a gateway to smoking. The argument goes that if vaping is widely supported as a safer alternative to tobacco then more people, especially children, will think of them as harmless and start using. Taken a step further, anti-vapers say that this vaping will eventually give way to fulltime smoking.

So there are two main concerns voiced by this position. The first says that acknowledging vaping as much safer than smoking will lead non-smokers to pick up vaping. The second assumes that using an e-cigarette is eventually going to lead to smoking the real thing.

The good news is that both of these concerns are totally unfounded. A study published last summer by Public Health England asked over 60,000 teens between the ages of 11-16 about their relationship with vaping and smoking. The researchers found that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of the teens who had never smoked, vaped on a regular basis. If these are the numbers of supposedly impressionable kids, it’s safe to assume that non-smoking adults are even less likely to pick up vaping as a daily habit.

As for the second concern, many studies have shown that vaping is an extremely useful smoking cessation tool. In fact, a recent study out of the University of Louisville tested the success of different smoking cessation techniques, from cold turkey to prescription drugs. Of all the methods tested, vaping was the clear most likely to succeed, with nearly 30% of participants staying quit. The next closest approach was prescription drugs coming in at a 21.6% success rate.

Further discrediting this concern is research showing that dual-use decreases the likelihood of a successful quit attempt. So if you were a non-smoker who picked up vaping, the last thing you’d end up doing is switching to cigarettes. Virtually no non-smokers have become chronic cigarette smokers because of vaping; it just doesn’t make any sense.

E-Liquids and Vapor Is Full Of Formaldehyde

This is one of the oldest and most enduring myths about vaping. The first thing to acknowledge is that most rooms contain trace amounts of formaldehyde as it’s a naturally occurring compound. The latest surge in concern over this chemical stems from a very controversial study published in the New England Journal of Medicine back in 2015. The research design and methodology were all so poorly done and full of holes that a group of academics wrote to the NEJM demanding that they retract the study. They claimed that the research did not follow even the most basic scientific research protocols.

The group of academics cited unrealistic testing conditions as the primary reason for such high levels of formaldehyde observed in the study. In this case, the NEJM researchers used temperatures well over 800 degrees Fahrenheit, which is much hotter than you’d ever find in a commercial vaporizer. Regardless of if the researchers intentionally doctored the results or accidentally used excessively high temperatures, the results do not represent the real world danger of vaping.

Vaping Causes Popcorn Lung

Possibly be the most commonly referenced reason against vaping is that vaping leads to popcorn lung. The condition, also known as bronchiolitis, was first discovered in workers from microwave popcorn factories, which is where it got its name. Eventually, it was discovered that a little-known compound called diacetyl was the culprit for the disease, causing the condition when large amounts were inhaled over many years.

In the early days of vaping, diacetyl was a commonly used ingredient in e-liquids, but the industry self-regulated it out of production many years ago. These days almost no manufacturers use this compound, but the stigma persists. Luckily, Drexel University published a study several years ago that found no significant levels of dactyl, formaldehyde, acrolein, hydrocarbons, or even smoking-related carcinogens in e-cigarette vapor. But unfortunately, the idea that vaping can cause popcorn lung is still widely spread to this day.


These myths have each had a significant negative impact on the vaping industry and the smokers who may have given vaping a try without them. Fortunately, we still have time to change the narrative on vaping before it’s too late. Myths like these are always lurking around the corner. Even with peer-reviewed research disproving them, it can be hard to snuff them out for good. That’s why it’s so important to share reliable peer-reviewed research on the topic to as many people as possible. You could prove to be the difference between someone making a life-changing switch or losing years off of their lives.

Have you ever heard these myths before? Did you believe any of them before you started vaping? Do you think it matters if negative myths like these continue to circulate? Let us know in the comments.


Katie Bercham - CocktailNerd Editor

Katie actually had a negative first experience of electronic cigarettes, picking up a cheap and horrible model from my local mall. Thanks to a chance meeting with co-editor David, she hasn’t had a tobacco cigarette in over 5 years. She brings a strong female voice to the e-cig community.