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10 Unbelievable Vaping Facts That We Learned in 2015

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A look back at the biggest e-cigarette stories of 2015 and how they were covered in the media

The main trend that dominated the e-cigarette news this year was, unsurprisingly, health. While there was a lot of good news, perhaps most importantly the “e-cigarettes 95% safer than regular cigarettes” statistic from Public Health England, there were also a lot of scare-stories bandied about, and not all of them were limited to the tabloids. The negative press means that a worrying 20% of people now incorrectly believe that e-cigarettes are just as harmful as regular cigarettes, an increase of 14 percentage points since 2013. However, while you can fool some people some time, you can’t fool all the people all the time. The number of people that believe e-cigarettes are safer than regular cigarettes reached a majority (52%) for the first time in 2015.   vuse crema flavor  
  • “E-cigarettes are 95% safer than tobacco”

The biggest story of the year was the revelation by a team of independent scientists that e-cigarettes are estimated to be 95% safer for the user than traditional tobacco products, on the basis of available evidence. It was a massive turning point in public opinion, helping many to realise that if a smoker can’t quit cigarettes, then the next best thing that they can do for their health is transition to a healthier nicotine delivery system. Report from Public Health England, August 2015
  • Fewer young people smoke conventional cigarettes than ever before — they vape instead

Vaping has helped reduce the numbers of young people smoking. Smoking rates amongst 18 - 29 year-olds in the US have plummeted by 12 percentage points from 34% in 2001 to 22% in 2015, the lowest levels ever recorded. If the above estimate by Public Health England is correct, then this represents a massive public health gain. Survey by GALLUP, December 2015
  • E-cigarettes really do help people quit smoking

“Ex-smokers are four times more likely to use e-cigarettes than current smokers, while those who’ve never taken a puff of tobacco are unlikely to ever start vaping” according to a report from Rutgers School of Public Health. In contrast to common fears about re-normalising smoking, research suggests that e-cigarettes are more effective quitting tools than nicotine gums and patches. Study by Rutgers, November 2015
  • E-cigarettes will be made available on the NHS

This new research undoubtedly added to a body of evidence which lead to our next story: the announcement (or lack thereof) that smokers looking to quit in England will be handed e-cigarettes by the National Health Service. An important milestone in the history of e-cigarettes, this development shows that the Health Department believes that e-cigarettes are less harmful than conventional cigarettes and that they could be a useful quitting aid. However, the ‘controversial’ story was not announced by the Health Department and was instead leaked by the national press… Story by the Sunday People, December 2015
  • Vapers and anti-cancer charities can fight back against e-cigarette regulations

Wales, a country of three million people, was all set to ban e-cigarettes everywhere that cigarettes are banned — which is practically everywhere. But a group of vapers and a respected alliance of organisations, including Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation, ASH, the Royal College of Physicians and the UK Centre on Tobacco and Alcohol Research urged the government to change its mind, arguing that there is no evidence to suggest that secondhand e-cigarette smoke poses a risk to the public. Surprisingly enough, the Welsh government actually listened and amended the proposed ban to only include places where children are likely to be found, such as schools and restaurants. Perhaps even more important than the overturned ban is the number of health bodies that came out in favour of vaping. Story by the BBC, December 2015
  • Big tobacco companies are lobbying against e-cigarettes (while simultaneously selling them)

When big companies see their profits threatened, they often turn to the government for support. RJ Reynolds Tobacco and Altria (formerly Philip Morris) are two of the largest tobacco companies in America. They also sell e-cigarettes, but decided just to sell the “cigalike” models which resemble traditional smoking, rather than the premium models like the box-mod. But while premium e-cigarette models and e-liquids have seen their popularity skyrocket (with a market worth of $1.5 billion and growing), the market for cigalikes has stagnated somewhat ($1 billion, flat). To snuff out the competition, Reynolds lobbied for e-cigarettes to be taxed in South Carolina, Michigan, Oklahoma and a handful of other states, while also lobbying for online e-cig stores to be banned. They have also lobbied the FDA to get premium e-cigarette models banned, and have been holding secret, undocumented meetings with the European Commission. Remember, this is a company that actually manufactures e-cigarettes lobbying to change the rules in a way that only benefits their type of product. Sadly, the tactics seem to be working — a new law coming into place in May 2016 will see premium e-cigarette models all but taken off the market, while Reynolds brand e-cigarettes remain in the game. Story by National Review Online, January 2015
  • People can’t stop reading about exploding e-cigarettes…

Perhaps the involvement of big tobacco companies explains the amount of negative press that e-cigarettes have got in the mainstream media this year. E-cigarettes — just like laptops, mobiles and pretty much any other chargeable electronic device — have lithium-ion batteries. Unfortunately, no battery is 100% safe —and with improper use there is a miniscule risk that they will explode. How miniscule? Less than one in 200,000. You can reduce the chances of this happening to you to almost nothing if you take sensible precautions (using only the manufacturer’s intended charger is rule #1). As always, the question to ask is: “are e-cigarettes safer than conventional cigarettes?” and in this case the answer is another yes. This is because more fires are started by cigarettes than explosions are caused by e-cigarettes (according to the UK government, 37% of all fires that caused fatalities were due to smokers’ materials in 2013-2014). Story by E-cigarette Information, September 2015
  • Vuse flavours are absolutely everywhere

The makers of Vuse, RJ Vapor, have been running a ginormous marketing campaign and as a result, the big brand have seen their publicity really take off this year. While the Vuse crema and Vuse chai flavours certainly have their supporters, the hefty 4.8% dose of nicotine might be a bit much for some users. Vuse is currently only on sale in the US, but the shockwaves from its marketing campaign have certainly been felt here on the other side of the pond. Story by Electronic Cigarette Consumer Review, February 2015
  • The ‘popcorn’ lung e-cigarette link has been exaggerated by the media

Another scare story from the media. Despite the headlines, it hasn’t been shown that e-cigarettes can give you popcorn lung, nor has any e-cigarette user gone on to develop popcorn lung so far. Research from Harvard found diacetyl, a chemical that is potentially associated with popcorn lung, in a number of e-cigarettes. Diacetyl is not a necessary e-liquid ingredient, and most reputable e-cigarette manufacturers make diacetyl-free products. Even in the products which contained the most diacetyl, the levels of diacetyl detected were between 10 and 100 times less than the levels of diacetyl you would find in regular cigarette smoke — and no tobacco smoker has ever developed popcorn lung either. Research by Harvard, December 2015
  • E-cigarette users are almost entirely ex-smokers or current smokers

According to Action on Smoking Health, a UK-based charity, “nearly two out of five users are ex-smokers and three out of five are current smokers,” dispelling the myth that e-cigarettes are acting as a ‘gateway’ to conventional smoking. The charity went on to say that use of e-cigarettes among never smokers is “negligible” (less than 0.2%) and that the most common reason for trying e-cigarettes is harm reduction. Survey by ASH, May 2015  

If you learned anything awesome about e-cigarettes in 2015, we’d love to hear it! Leave a comment in the box below to let us know.