HEALTH

Another Vaping Myth Debunked

In yet another instance of misinformation promoted by anti-vaping activists and those with a hidden agenda, a particular myth has been floating around suggesting that vaping causes brain damage and narrow arteries. The information can be traced to a blog published on a site selling wheatgrass supplements for “de-toxing,” and has no basis in fact and the claim is not supported by any medical evidence.

The blog, which is rich with misinformation, has been picked up and reposted throughout the Internet. The poorly-written blog is based on a quick and misguided review of research, draws inaccurate conclusions and makes claims that are not supported by scientific evidence.

A review of posts on the same blog reveals additional questionable claims, including claims that celery fights cancer, flu shots cause children to have “wild delusions,” and peanut butter cups cause stomach cancer. None of these wild claims have any scientific basis in fact. The anti-vaping claims the site makes are merely an attempt to peddle snake oil remedies and miraculous superfoods which in reality offer little benefit to health.

The original blog makes the claim with no supporting evidence in an attempt to sell wheatgrass, a substance of dubious benefit and significant hype which tastes mostly like lawnmower clippings. Most researchers and clinicians dispute claims that wheatgrass has any value, and claims that it supports liver health are unfounded.

The blog makes the claim that wheatgrass reduces the risk of lung cancer, although medical researchers will universally dispute that claim. No scientific study supports claims that wheatgrass has any sort of anti-cancer properties.

The blog’s claim that vaping is linked to brain damage is pure falsehood with no scientific evidence whatsoever. The entry claims that the preservative benzoic acid, which is present in some pod systems, is linked to childhood hyperactivity, which the blog inexplicably puts into the same category as brain damage.

The FDA does recognize benzoic acid as safe, and it is a common preservative in food. There may be some evidence of benzoic acid being linked to hyperactivity, but this has nothing to do with vaping and e-cigarettes. No scientific evidence supports the blog’s claim of “brain damage,” and no serious researcher has even suggested it. 

The blog also reiterates a long-debunked myth that vaping causes “popcorn lung,” an unusual disease named because it was first discovered in workers from a microwave popcorn factory. Popcorn lung is a real disease, but there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that it is linked to vaping in any way. The disease, formally known as bronchiolitis obliterans, is linked to diacetyl, a common ingredient in microwave popcorn which has a taste like butter.

The ingredient is also used in things like butterscotch candy. Popcorn lung occurred in the popcorn factories because workers inhaled diacetyl in powdered form in the air over a prolonged period of time at high levels. Some vape liquids do contain diacetyl (although plenty do not), but the incidence of popcorn lung is rare and occurred as a result of diacetyl in the air, in particulate form, at very high levels which far exceed that found in vape liquids.

No cases of popcorn lung have been linked to vaping. It should also be noted that combustible cigarettes contain far more diacetyl than does vaping e-liquids. Vapor Authority, one of the largest online retailers of vape liquids, e-cigarettes and vape equipment, maintains an inventory of several diacetyl-free vapes. 

The original article also mysteriously claims vaping is linked to “narrow arteries,” although again, no research supports the claim that vaping causes vasoconstriction (although smoking combustible cigarettes certainly does). While the presence of nicotine may result in some vasoconstriction, many commercial vape products are available with low nicotine levels, and many others with no nicotine at all. 

Legitimate academic and clinical studies on vaping are widely available, most of which reinforce the fact that vaping is less harmful than cigarettes, does not create the high levels of toxins and carcinogens found in cigarettes, and that vaping is a useful tool for those who wish to quit smoking.

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