Vaping Myths Debunked
The youth vaping crisis continues to impact millions of teens.
In Oklahoma, more than 1 in 4 teens report recent vape use. According to the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey, 19.6% of high schoolers across the country use e-cigarettes. However, it’s not the overall percentage of users that’s most worrying. 38.9% of current high school e-cigarette users report vaping more than 20 days per month, while 22.5% report doing it every day.
One contributing factor? Confusing myth for fact.
There is no debate. Vaping is dangerous, especially to young users. Below are five common myths — debunked with facts.
Myth: Nicotine is like caffeine.
Nicotine and caffeine are not related.
Yet Big Tobacco has likened the two for decades through advertising and PR campaigns. They want to save face — instead of facing the facts.
In reality, caffeine is a stimulant that works by blocking a receptor called adenosine. This neurotransmitter is responsible for making you feel relaxed or sleepy. Consuming caffeine increases adrenaline and blood pressure.
Nicotine, as this article explains, increases the release of multiple neurotransmitters, which activates a waterfall of dopamine signals. In other words, nicotine tricks your brain into feeling good. Once the dopamine kick subsides and withdrawal sets in, users reach for another puff. Read more about the effects of nicotine.
Myth: It’s easy to quit vaping.
Nicotine, the addictive chemical found in vapes and other tobacco products, is highly addictive. Many vapes contain more nicotine than an entire pack of cigarettes. For teen vape users, this spells trouble. Read this article to see how nicotine exposure at a young age permanently alters the brain, paving the way for a lifetime of addiction.
Many young vape users are ready to ditch the devices altogether. In fact, 60% of vape users between ages 15 and 24 reported wanting to quit within a year.
There is hope for those ready to quit. Teens in Oklahoma can get FREE help with My Life, My Quit. To start, simply text “Start My Quit” to 36072.
Myth: Vaping is safe.
It’s not — yet the word “vape” conjures a certain lightness when contrasted with “smoke.” Marketers at vape companies were aiming for this exact perception.
Here’s the truth: Nicotine addiction — especially in youth — is very dangerous. Why? Because underage nicotine use is linked with addiction behaviors later in life and permanently alters the brain.
What are some long-term effects of vaping? In 2019 and 2020, thousands of vape users were hospitalized with E-VALI (e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury).
Myth: Because vapes contain water vapor, my lungs won’t be hurt.
The liquid inside vapes, commonly known as “vape juice,” is NOT water. It’s an aerosol that contains loads of chemicals, some of which are known to cause cancer. Plus, these aerosols contain heavy metals such as tin, lead and nickel.
Among the many chemicals found in vape juice is propylene glycol. According to Frank T. Leone, MD, MS, Physician and Director of Comprehensive Smoking Treatment Programs at Penn Medicine, when this chemical enters the body, it gets metabolized by the liver. In turn, the liver processes it into a chemical related to formaldehyde.
Over time, Dr. Leone explains, “When [this chemical] accumulates in the body, it increases the potential for liver damage.” The risks don’t end there either. “This chemical also accumulates in the retina. There’s potential for retina damage and blindness.”
One thing is for sure: Over time, the true risks of e-cigarette use will come to light — and they won’t be good.
Myth: Flavors are harmless fun.
Big Tobacco has used flavors for nearly a century to hook — and retain — customers. Now, vape companies are using this same template with devastating efficiency. Clearly, flavors are a major pull.
A recent study found that 81.5% of vape users use e-cigarettes because they like the flavor.
Without flavors, it’s hard to imagine a youth vaping crisis at all — yet here we are. Learn more about tobacco flavors.
Tobacco Stops With Me
In the fight against vaping, it’s critical that we get the facts straight. To learn more about vaping, and to stay updated on the latest tobacco legislation and news, sign up for the Tobacco Stops With Me newsletter. Together, we’ll continue to stand up against Big Tobacco.