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Are E-Cigarettes Safe?

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Estimated 3 min read

The internet is full of information on vaping. Unfortunately, it’s also full of misinformation about vaping.

Major news outlets continue to spread badly researched, inaccurate or even deliberately misleading propaganda, despite the fact that there is no doubt that vaping is much safer than continuing to smoke traditional cigarettes.

Are e-cigarettes safer than traditional cigarettes?

A press release published on the 19th of August 2015 by Public Health England states that in an expert independent evidence review concluded “e-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than tobacco”.

Despite some claims, e-cigarettes are not completely risk-free, but are much safer than traditional smoking.

A more recent study published in October 2017 concluded that the vapor from an e-cigarette is 57,000 times less dangerous than smoking.

Don’t e-cigarettes explode though?

Another commonly reported safety concern with e-cigarettes is the tendency for the batteries to explode and/or catch fire unexpectedly. These reports seem to either be exaggerated or even completely fabricated with something such as:

“My friend knows a guy who once worked with someone, who heard of someone who read on Facebook about this person having their e-cigarette battery explode and kill everyone they’d ever met or come into contact with…AND I know for a fact they didn’t misuse it or do anything silly with the battery, the factory just makes them so they explode/catch fire normally…”  

The same “expert independent evidence review” by Public Health England also found that the risk of fire appears to be comparable to other similar domestic electrical products i.e. other household devices that commonly use batteries, torches come to mind as many use the same batteries as common e-cigarettes, but strangely don’t take peoples hands off too often.

Misused batteries of any sort can pose a risk of exposure to the acids inside due to leaking, fire, and in extreme cases they can even explode. This seems to be what feeds the fire (pun intended) in these stories, but when used properly and by someone who has basic safety knowledge, they are quite safe and very unlikely to explode.

“The risks from fire or poisoning could be controlled through standard regulations for similar types of products, such as childproof containers (contained within the TPD but which are now emerging as an industry standard) and instructions about the importance of using the correct charger.”

Quote from “E-cigarettes: an evidence update

At the end of the day, vaping is a personal choice, much like smoking.

You should aim to be very well informed about any decision you make about your own health. Vaping is almost certainly a higher risk to your health than not smoking or vaping at all. However, if you currently smoke and you’re holding back because of debunked, badly researched articles spreading around claims that vaping is 10 times more dangerous than smoking, or because of blown-out-of-proportion half truths like articles claiming vaping kills your dog, you can rest easy.

Vaping is NOT more dangerous than smoking, and over-the-counter nicotine concentrations won’t kill your pets any more than the hundreds of other household items you’ve already not been feeding them.

Currently located in Sydney, Australia, I have been vaping since 2009 and became active in the e-cigarette industry in late 2015. Since then I’ve had the pleasure of visiting over 700 shops in 6 countries.

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