Vaping Demystified

/ 8 min read

Vaping Demystified

"Are misconceptions about vaping harming our greatest opportunity to help reduce the leading cause of early death?" – Yorkshire Cancer Research 

Despite its ever-increasing public profile, vaping is still dogged by a consistent stream of misinformation and sensationalist reporting that has left many smokers doubting the relevance of vaping as a part of their quitting journey.

For the first time, utilising in-depth research and interviews with leading experts in the field, Yorkshire Cancer Research have published a landmark investigative video, entitled “Vaping Demystified”. This video aims to make clear YCR’s position on vaping by establishing the facts and providing an impartial viewpoint from which smokers can make the right decision about whether vaping is the best alternative for them.

While Yorkshire forms a local case study for the video, it has universal gravitas in lifting the veil on the reality of vaping as a cessation tool for the UK public.

The Facts

  • Smoking is Yorkshire’s leading cause of preventable cancer and is responsible for over 4500 new cases each year.
  • Cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals, of which 69 are known to cause cancer.
  • 1 in 2 long-term smokers will die prematurely if they don’t quit.
  • It is never too late to stop smoking. Quitting at any age can lengthen and improve quality of life, even for those with a smoking-related illness.
  • The evidence is clear that vaping is far less harmful than smoking. Switching completely can improve the health of smokers substantially, compared to continuing to smoke.
  • Vapour does not cause harm to others around you. This is in contrast to second-hand smoke from smoking, which is very harmful to the health of others.
  • Vaping products are the most popular stop smoking aid in England. YCR have estimated that there are up to 5000 additional quitters a year in Yorkshire because of them.
  • Vaping products are not completely risk-free. Non-smokers should therefore not start vaping.


Vaping Demystified takes great effort to present the facts about vaping with impartiality – considering both benefits and risks, while attempting to answer some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding vaping, as presented by experts in their respective health and scientific fields.

In doing so the video debunks a significant number of vaping myths that are driving what Yorkshire Cancer Research demonstrates to be a significant misconception of vaping by the UK public. Something they fear now threatens to impact society’s collective goal of a smoke-free future, by creating undue fear of one of the most effective cessation tools available to modern smokers.

We openly encourage you to watch the whole video and form your own opinions, however, below is our top 5 myths busted by YCR’s landmark investigation:

I’ve read that vaping is just as dangerous as smoking. Is this true?

Vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking. Switching completely from smoking to vaping is likely to have substantial health benefits over continued smoking.

Yorkshire Cancer Research supports the use of vaping products as a tool to quit smoking and this position is supported by Public Health England (PHE) who, in February 2015, published an independent review which estimated that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking.

Since then, PHE has published a further six independent e-cigarette reports, the last one being last month. All of them have consistently reinforced the finding from previous reports that vaping is significantly less harmful compared to smoking.

The NHS also reflects this position in its guidance for smokers, stating that ‘In recent years, e-cigarettes have become a very popular stop smoking aid in the UK. Also known as vapes or e-cigs, they're far less harmful than cigarettes and can help you quit smoking for good.’

Almost all the harm from smoking comes from the thousands of chemicals (such as tar and carbon monoxide) contained in tobacco smoke. As vaping products do not contain or burn tobacco, these chemicals are either not present or are present at significantly lower levels.

Although smoking rates are declining, the proportion of smokers in Yorkshire (15.4%) is higher than the average for England (13.9%). There are more than 622 000 adult smokers in Yorkshire - half will die of a smoking-related disease if they do not quit. If all these smokers switched to vaping products, thousands of lives could be saved.

By spreading the message that vaping and smoking are not the same, and outlining vaping’s value as a tool to quit, we can reduce the number of people in the region who are needlessly dying through smoking-related cancers.

Vaping products are not available on prescription through the NHS. Are they not regulated?

The UK has some of the tightest regulations on vaping products in the world under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016.

These regulations ensure that vaping products are subject to maximum standards of quality and safety, as well as packaging and labelling requirements to provide consumers with the information they need to make informed choices. They cover nicotine strength, health warnings, advertising, childproof packaging, and a ban on certain ingredients.

How do we know what vaping products contain?

Vaping product manufacturers must provide the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), with detailed information about their product, including a list of all ingredients.

Can vaping products cause harm to your lungs?

There have been stories in the media about an outbreak of lung injury called EVALI in the USA. These cases of EVALI were caused by people using vaping products with homemade or illicit e-liquids that contained cannabis products and a chemical called vitamin E acetate.

The use of cannabis is illegal in the UK under the Misuse of Drugs Act 2010 and vitamin E acetate is a prohibited ingredient under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016. Therefore, the risk of getting EVALI by using a UK-regulated vaping product is low and so far, there has been one case in this country compared to 2600 cases in the US.

There have also been stories that vaping products cause a disease called ‘popcorn lung’. This was caused by a chemical flavouring called diacetyl, which had been used in e-liquids. Again, diacetyl is banned in e-liquids in the UK under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016. Therefore, using a UK-regulated vaping product and e-liquids will not cause ‘popcorn lung’.

Are vaping products are safe? 

Vaping products have been available in the UK since 2007. They are currently one of the most widely researched scientific topics. There is substantial evidence on the short-term impact of their use, which has shown that they are far less harmful than smoking and an effective and popular stop smoking aid.

What we know for certain is that smoking is Yorkshire’s leading cause of preventable cancer and is responsible for over 4500 new cancer cases each year. 1 in 2 long-term smokers will die prematurely if they do not quit – so action needs to be taken now.

It’s true that there are some things about vaping that need more research, like for example, what might happen to someone’s health if they vaped for many years. However, through extensive evidence reviews, Public Health England has repeatedly found that vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking.

We can’t afford to wait for 10 or 20 years for the long-term impact to be reviewed, while in the meantime the health of hundreds of thousands of people across Yorkshire continues to be harmed by tobacco smoke.

Can vaping products explode and cause fires?

Fires caused by vaping products are rare and about as likely as fires caused by mobile phones. Where they do occur, it is likely the battery has malfunctioned, so those who vape should always use the charger supplied with the vaping product and avoid charging it for extended periods of time, such as overnight.

The risk of fire from vaping products is considerably lower than the risk of fire caused by cigarettes, which are the leading cause of death in domestic households, causing around 2000 house fires a year.

Want to learn more?

Yorkshire Cancer Research determined from their survey that 89% of people still feel the facts around the risks of vaping are generally unclear – with only 56% of respondents citing confidence in their knowledge that vaping is safer than smoking – highlighting the importance of the video in presenting a rare impartial position on the subject, with 2 in 3 people feeling there is not enough information available about quitting methods to make an informed decision.

If you count yourself among the 89% seeking a clarity and truth about the reality of vaping, please explore the links below and see for yourself the impartial research carried out and position Yorkshire Cancer Research have taken on vaping. If you decide to make the switch, visit our New to Vaping page where we can offer all the tools you need to begin a successful vaping journey.

Vaping Demystified:

Vaping Demystified FAQs:

YCR’s official position on vaping:

The Truth About Vaping:

Vaping – What you need to know: