Are The Same Chemicals In Vapor And Cigarette Smoke?

Joe Sylvester | Contributor

Last month, Lafayette, Indiana Councilman, Ron Campbell made the claim that “There are the same chemicals in electronic smoke as there is in the smoke from a tobacco cigarette or a cigar.” Campbell went on “So, I’m asking so there is a consistency that there is no smoking allowed. Period.”

Campbell has since asked the city attorney to write an amendment that would make e-cigarettes prohibited in indoor places like restaurants, workplaces and other common areas. Effectively an outright ban similar to those seen with smoking.

I decided that I should write Campbell given that he has made claims which are imperially false, in an effort to enlighten him however I won’t be holding my breath. This is what I wrote:

Dear Councilman Ron Campbell:

I wanted to take a moment to write to you today to let you know that some of the comments that you made to WLFI News 19 on November 2nd with regards to vaping were not factual comments, but political ones. You said that “I see them all over,” said Campbell. “If you’re following somebody, you see a huge bloom of smoke.” 

It is important to understand the distinction between vapor and smoke. As a frame of reference, burning wood in a fireplace to heat your home does not produce a vapor; it produces smoke. When people use e-cigarettes, they are vaping which is more closely related to boiling pasta for dinner than it is smoking as there is no combustion.

This is the idea behind the whole “heat-not-burn” concept. Carcinogens and genetic mutations caused by combusting substances are the primary causes of severe health conditions related to smoking. I would strongly urge you to read the science behind this.

You go on to say that “There are the same chemicals in electronic smoke as there is in the smoke from a tobacco cigarette or a cigar.” This is the most inaccurate statement that I have seen on this to date. There are absolutely no similarities between what is being smoked in a cigarette and what is being smoked in a vaping device. For starters, e-liquids are propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin based products. This is what makes up over 90% of the average e-liquid. One product is tobacco, and the other has no qualities of tobacco even down to the molecular level.

The Center for Disease Control released a study earlier this year illustrating the benign effects on indoor air quality which I think you it may be beneficial for you to check out.

It is important for a public official to be correct in their policies. Asking one to thoroughly research an important issue before pushing regulations is wrong-headed and counter-productive. Playing into preconceived notions that people are smoking cigarettes and polluting those around them does nobody any good; it’s just factually wrong and a disservice to those that have used vaping as a means to end their smoking addiction.

Joe Sylvester



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