When you begin an internet search on vaping, the chances are that you’ll change your mind to try it. The major headlines suggest health problems, battery explosions, and teenagers proceeding to smoking after trying e-cigarettes. This information will encourage anyone to keep smoking and stay away from suspicious alternatives.
When I decided to conduct deeper research, I understood that the claims about vaping’s disadvantages are a bit overblown. Recently, more evidence that using an electronic cigarette is not that bad has appeared. Here’s what you really need to know about the effect of smoking and vaping on your health.
The Chemicals Found in Smoke and Vapor
The process of smoking includes the combustion of a tobacco leaf. As a result, thousands of unwanted and harmful chemicals are inhaled into the lungs. About 70 of them are cancer-causing, so-called “carcinogens.” Here’re some of the most toxic elements in tobacco smoke:
- Hydrogen Cyanide
- Carbon Monoxide
Smoke also contains tar which consists of several carcinogens. 70% of the tar remains in the smoker’s lungs. Try a simple handkerchief test. Fill the mouth with smoke, don’t inhale, and blow it through the handkerchief. You’ll see a sticky brown stain on the cloth. Then inhale smoke and do the same. A stain on the fabric will be much lighter.
The process of vaping doesn’t involve combustion. That’s why it doesn’t produce a handful of the harmful chemicals.
When someone is vaping, the liquid in a cartridge is heated, and they inhale the vapor (find out more about the technology of e-cig vaporizer here). Studies say that some e-liquids contain carcinogens, but this is only a small part of the toxic chemicals found in tobacco smoke. Here’re a few of the chemicals containing in vapor:
- Propylene Glycol (PG)
- Vegetable Glycerin (VG)
PG and VG are generally recognized as safe by the FDA when they are eaten, but not inhaled. They have been known to irritate eyes and cause respiratory infections. That leads us to a troubling gray area as the long-term effects are still unknown.
What we know for sure is that vapor contains less harmful elements than smoke. And this fact is scientifically proven.
One long-term study has some good news for vapers. The researchers compared toxicant exposure among people who had stopped smoking and used the electronic smoking devices for an average of 16 months and people who continued to smoke. They found significant reductions in toxic elements, including carcinogens, in vapers compared with smokers.
Let’s Talk About Nicotine
Nicotine itself is practically harmless. It affects the body like caffeine. But this substance is addictive.
The advantage of using an e-cigarette is the possibility to regulate the doses of nicotine. And many vapers gradually move to a zero level, even while continuing to vape as a hobby.
Of course, vaping can leave us with a large population of long-term nicotine consumers who deliver nicotine with small premium vaporizers rather than traditional cigarettes.. But for now, this population consists almost entirely of former smokers who made a switch because of the health concerns.
Secondhand Smoke vs. Secondhand Vapor
Since vaping has a better odor than tobacco, I’ve noticed that people feel much more comfortable about using e-cigs indoors or near their children. It may seem that something that smells like sweets or ice-cream can be dangerous.
The World Health Organization warns us from vaping indoors, noting that though e-vapor contains lower levels of toxic chemicals than combusted tobacco, it doesn’t mean that these levels are acceptable to bystanders.
I read a study that claims that the e-vapor contains nearly the same level of potentially harmful substance as the ambient air that we breathe every day when we go outside.
As you see, this question still needs to be researched. But we can be sure that vaping is a healthier option.
Long-Term Consequences of Smoking and Vaping
For years, the medical and scientific communities have linked cigarette smoke with different types of cancer. It can also lead to respiratory and cardiovascular disease. Long-term smoking takes a major toll on the appearance, damaging the skin, teeth, hair, and more.
What happens after prolonged use of e-cigarettes? We can get to know that in a few decades.
A case in point: tobacco cigarettes have been around since the 16th century. The discussion on whether smoking is good or bad started only in the 1950s.
Vaping is a new phenomenon. An e-cigarette was designed in 2003. To prove its harm or harmlessness, scientists need to do epidemiological studies that demonstrate that vapers have more health problems than people who don’t vape. Then they have to figure out what ingredients might cause these problems. And finally, they need to show cause and effect. That’s a long process! And researching long-term vaping is still not possible.
To make a long story short, vaping is not worse than cigarettes, but worse than nothing. For a struggling smoker, it can be a proper choice. It will bring health benefits and will help to quit tobacco. To stay on the safe side, choose the best e-cig and e-liquid of a respectable manufacturer.
Margaret Wilson, a blogger who writes about the healthy way of life (healthy food, sports, motivation etc.). Now she studies vaping as an alternative for people who are struggling with smoking.