Curious whether vaping is better than smoking? Let’s clear up the facts.

Smoke & Vape Comparison

Vaping Better Than Smoking

As more and more research has come out on the negative health outcomes of smoking, people have been looking towards alternatives that can help them quit the harmful habit. Known for its association with cardiovascular diseases and cancer, smoking can have detrimental long-lasting effects. With smokers increasingly looking to quit the habit in favour of their health, e-cigarettes (or vaping) have come to the forefront as one of the primary alternatives. Contrary to the hysteria that surrounds vaping, Public Health England, a federal agency in the UK, has stood by the 2015 conclusion that vaping is 95% safer than smoking cigarettes. If you go to the NHS’ website, it recommends vaping to smokers as a way to quit smoking cigarettes.

Apart from being useful in quitting smoking, e-cigarettes or vapes are a much better alternative to smoking. These devices allow the user to inhale nicotine vapour. A vape works by heating the e-liquid – a liquid that contains nicotine propylene glycol (PG) or vegetable glycerin (VG) and flavouring – which when heated up by the heating element inside the device produces vapour. Some of the most harmful constituents associated with cigarette smoking can be avoided with e-cigarettes which do not contain tobacco, nor do they produce byproducts like tar or carbon monoxide.

What’s more, with vape you don’t have to worry about exposing yourself to the 7000 chemical components, of which many are toxic, that are associated with regular tobacco cigarettes. This is a point emphasized in the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s report in 2018. It reported that with picking vape over a regular cigarette, it “reduces the user’s exposure to many toxicants and carcinogens present in combustible tobacco cigarettes”. A finding that was backed up by Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center’s investigation carried out by Maciej Goniewicz.

New York University’s public health professor and clinical psychologist David Abrams, quoted this study, explaining that out of the 45 biomarkers that act as indicators of  toxic chemical exposure causing disease, only 12 were detectable among those who vaped. People who solely vaped, showed approximately 98% lower concentrations of exposure biomarkers in comparison to regular smokers. Mainly, the biomarkers indicative of chemicals causing cancers are much lower for vapers than for those using combustible tobacco cigarettes. A conclusion which is consistent with NHS’ findings.

Effects of switching from tobacco cigarettes to vapes

The statistics on smoking cigarettes provide a stark image. In contrast to nonsmokers, smokers are 11 times more likely to develop lung cancer.  Experts recommend switching over to vape as a safer option than smoking. In the UK, respiratory disease is the 3rd leading cause of death, affecting 1 in 5 people. Smoking and even exposure to secondhand smoke is among the leading of most of these respiratory diseases. The use of cigarettes causes 77,000+ premature deaths in England annually and can be attributed to 15.1% of cancer cases in the UK. The Journal of the American College of Cardiology published a study in 2019 which showed significant improvement in cardiovascular health within one month of smokers switching to vaping.

 

Despite the many controversies that surround vaping’s health effects, one thing is clear; vaping is  significantly less harmful than your regular tobacco cigarettes. There’s a reason for public health officials urging people to make the shift away from cigarettes. Tobacco kills nearly half of its users, which is why cigarettes are dubbed one of the deadliest consumer products. Hence that adage, smoking can kill you. With vaping exposing users to fewer toxins and carcinogenic, in addition to showing better cardiovascular health outcomes, it shows better health effects than those experienced by cigarette smokers.

Risks of controversies around vaping

There can be quite harmful effects of people equating vaping to being the same as smoking a tobacco cigarette. Fears that it can be just as harmful or more harmful than smoking can dissuade smokers from using e-cigarettes to quit smoking and may lead them to continue with the harmful habit. It should be clear that with so many harmful health affects from smoking like cancer, cardiovascular diseases and respiratory diseases among other issues like weakened bones, muscular degeneration, diabetes, higher risk for cataract, etc., smoking is a habit that can be highly damaging to a person’s health and hence is not recommended. While it is not to say that vaping is risk free, it is arguably much less harmful than smoking.

Much of the scare around vaping arose when in August 2019 vapers ended up in emergency rooms across the United States suffering from lung injuries. The reports found out that the reason behind the problem was traced back to Vitamin E Acetate added to cannabis products. However, there shouldn’t be reasons for worry as not only are e-cigarettes containing nicotine more tightly regulated in the UK than they are in the US, but chemicals like THC and Vitamin E acetate oil are also not permitted in the country. Much like the UK, there are much broader restrictions on e-cigarettes in Europe. As such, no such cases as those found in the US were reported in the UK.

The public health advice on vaping has remained the same. Smokers are encouraged to switch to vaping while vapers are advised to stop smoking. Using e-liquids with nicotine makes it much more likely for smokers to quit smoking. To be safe, however, it is important to use regulated e-liquids and avoid modifying vaping devices in any way that was not intended by the manufacturer.

Vaping as a means to quit smoking

Many people find vapes helpful in stopping smoking. While these e-cigarettes may not be completely risk free, they carry a small fraction of the risk associated with smoking cigarettes. A 2019 New England Journal of Medicine study even found out that when coupled with face-to-face expert support, vapes can be quite effectives in quitting smoking cigarettes. In fact, vaping can be a much better and much more effective smoking cessation therapy in contrast to use of other alternatives like lozenges, patches etc.

If you are thinking about making the switch from smoking to vaping, you might have come across a range of conflicting information. As discussed above, as long as regulated produced are used and vapers do not intend to use other substances or make unintended modifications to their vape, there shouldn’t be a risk to their health. Whatever studies have been conducted on researching the effects on vaping, what has been conclusive and agreed upon in almost all of these studies is the evidence that vaping is far less harmful than conventional smoking. And whatever chemicals are present in e-cigarettes, they pose limited danger. Afterall, contrary to the widely accepted notion, nicotine alone isn’t the cause behind most of the smoking-related cancers. Though addictive, it is the thousands of other chemicals in cigarette smoke that causes nearly all of the harm.

So, to put it simply, vaping is a better alternate to tobacco smoking. Whether you are looking to use it as a means for limiting harm to your health or use it as a tool for smoking cessation, it is actually better for you to switch to vaping. As far as nicotine addiction is concerned, vaping puts the power back in the hands of the vaper. Vaping is not just about using e-liquids with the wide variety of flavours it offers. With the ability to decide how much control they have over the amount of nicotine they intake when choosing their e-liquids, vapers can be conscious of their exposure to the substance. With all information provided on the label and access to specialists in physical and online shops, vapers can check for information and choose a product among a slew of options that best fits their needs.

The bottom line

This product is not recommended for underage users nor pregnant women. E-cigarettes/vapes have the potential to help adult smokers in their efforts to quit or substitute smoking and other smokes tobacco products. Multiple studies done with the intent to find its efficacy in terms of its harmful effects compared to tobacco cigarettes, as well as its ability to help either substitute or quit smoking, have found encouraging results. With significantly less harmful chemical components and strict regulation, vaping is decidedly more preferable over smoking cigarettes.

Let’s answer some questions that you may have.

Q. How does vaping work?

All e-cigarettes or vapes work the same way A heating element powered by a battery source heats up the e-juice present in a small chamber and produces vapors. You can then inhale the vapor through a small mouthpiece on your device. There are many kinds of vapes available in the market with varying designs, power sources and vapor making ability. But essentially all these types work on the same basic function.

Q. Is vaping safe?

A. Vaping doesn’t carry the same amount of risk as traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes are closely regulated and monitored in the UK for safety and quality. It is important to buy your products from authentic sellers and purchase vaping models and other accessories manufactured by reputable brands.

Q. Are e-cigarettes (or vaping) less harmful than smoking?

A. Vaping devices do not produce the harmful ingredients that smoking tobacco produces like tar or carbon monoxide. As opposed to cigarettes than produce 7000 chemical components – many of them toxic – e-cigarettes have fewer toxic chemicals. And unlike a traditional cigarette, with vaping you can control how much nicotine is in the product, depending upon your choice of e-liquids. You can also reach out to specialists in vape shops and online sellers for more information on how to make the switch. 

Q. What are some good brands for vaping?

A. Some good vape brands that you can look forward to trying are SMOK, VOOPOO, UWELL, Vaporesso, and Sigelei among others. These brands have also been termed the best for 2021 based upon their performance, feature and quality. If you are specifically looking for e-liquids, Nasty Juice, Riot Squad, Element, Charli’s Chalk Dust and Wick Liquor would be good brands to sample.

Q. Can vaping help me quit smoking?

A. The NHS has reported that many people in the UK have quit smoking with the help of e-cigarettes. Vaping can not only help in managing nicotine cravings but also allow you to control the amount you are using. All you have to do is choose your e-liquid, paying attention to the strength of the nicotine. Published in 2019, a major UK clinical trial found that coupled with expert support, people who used vapes were twice as likely to quit smoking in comparison to people who opted for other nicotine replacement products.
If you are looking to switch to vaping to quit smoking the NHS suggests choosing a rechargeable e-cigarette with a refillable tank. As opposed to a disposable model, it will deliver nicotine more effectively, hence giving you a better chance of quitting.

Q. Which e-cigarette should I start with?

A. This is a very personal choice. But most e-cigarette shops offer beginner kits which  contain all the basics that a beginner to vaping might need. These kits come with instructions and can be a good way of introduction to vaping and for transitioning from smoking to vaping. It might also be a good idea to get in touch with specialists at the vape shop to explore your options with regards to the model and choosing e-liquids. It is suggested though that beginners should opt for one with a refillable vape tank instead of opting for a disposable one.