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Teen Health and Safety

Knowledge Is Power: Debunking 3 Popular Pepper Spray Myths

Photo: Courtesy of Geronimo Giqueaux

With any self-defense tool, there are concerns about what could go wrong. When these worries turn into fear-based myths, they can keep us from protecting ourselves.

Myth 1: Wasp spray is an adequate substitute for human pepper spray

During a recent study, questions were sent to the eight biggest wasp spray companies asking whether or not wasp spray was a viable self-defense option when it came to anything but wasps. The findings were conclusive: wasp spray companies have indicated that their products should not ever be used for self-defense against humans.

Myth 2: Pepper spray is illegal to fly with on airplanes and carry in some states

According to the Transportation Security Administration, as long as pepper spray is 2 oz. or less and in your checked luggage, you can fly with it. It’s also legal to sell and carry in all 50 states, but your state might have specific laws about canister size and chemical makeup. Be sure to carry pepper spray to optimize your safety whether you’re flying somewhere or staying on the ground.

Myth 3: If I use pepper spray, I will inevitably spray myself

It’s actually difficult to spray yourself by accident, especially with sprays that feature various safety mechanisms like the finger grip and safety lock. These help prevent the spray from being accidentally deployed and help you get your bearings to ensure you’re not pointing the pepper spray at yourself. Pepper spray is a great self-defense option because it gives you protection at a safe distance—up to 10 feet with sprays and up to 12 feet with gels—so you don’t have to go hands-on against an attacker. It also doesn’t require special skill to use it.

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