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Five Common Myths About Electronic Cigarettes

Posted July 31st, 2013 in News by Steve

Despite the fact that we live in an age of unprecedented knowledge and access to information, many myths and untruths continue to hold sway. Some of these myths are harmless, but others are dangerous and are often purposely propagated by powerful interest groups to achieve an economic or political goal. A number of myths exist about e-cigarettes as well, and the purpose of this article is to dispel them.

Myth #1: Electronic cigarettes can explode

This is a very common myth so it will be addressed first. The battery used in an e-cigarette is identical to the one used in mobile phones. Whilst there is a chance of the battery exploding, it is so small that for practical purposes it is non-existent. There are some 6.8 billion mobile phone subscribers worldwide – about 96 per cent of the world’s population – and they use mobile phones safely. The electronic cigarette is just as safe as a mobile phone.

Myth #2: E-cigarettes contain anti-freeze

This is not true. The main active ingredient in anti-freeze is ethylene glycol, whereas one of the main ingredients in electronic cigarette liquid is propylene glycol. While they might sound similar, they are very different. Ethylene glycol is toxic to humans and animals, but propylene glycol is widely used in many everyday products and is classified by the United States Food and Drug Administration as “generally recognized as safe”.

Myth #3: E-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is poisonous

First of all, not all electronic cigarettes contain nicotine. Some do, and some don’t. More importantly, nicotine is only poisonous in relatively large quantities; far more than you would find in an e-cigarette or a tobacco cigarette for that matter. The risk of nicotine poisoning is very low, as you would have to ingest about 50mg of pure nicotine for it to kill you. The main reason that tobacco cigarettes have nicotine is to make them addictive. This is also the reason that nicotine replacement therapies like e-cigarettes are widely recognised as the best ways to quit smoking.

Myth #4: Electronic cigarettes are dangerous because nobody knows what is in them

This is not true. The ingredients of contained in e-cigarette liquid are well-known and entirely safe. The liquid is made up of propylene glycol (a common food preservative), vegetable glycerin (basically, vegetable oil) and food flavour (yet another food ingredient). Furthermore, it can contain nicotine if the user wants nicotine.

Myth #5: Electronic cigarettes are illegal

The sale, possession and use of e-cigarettes is permitted in all Australian states and territories. Some European countries and states of the United States have passed laws to prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors, and a handful of countries have banned them entirely, but this has not happened in Australia.

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