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Is Vaping Safer Than Cigarettes

With increasing popularity over the past decade, vaping has taken the nicotine consumption world by storm. Often hailed as a quitting aid and carrying a reputation for being cleaner and healthier than tobacco, many wonder: is vaping safer than cigarettes? 

This article delves into the science behind the question, reviewing the current research regarding vaping’s health risks in comparison to the decades-long link between cigarettes and lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke. 

Vaping vs. cigarettes - What’s the difference?

Vaping and smoking cigarettes both deliver nicotine to their users. However, these two methods of nicotine consumption differ drastically, both in what they’re made of and in how they’re used. 

Cigarettes deliver nicotine to the user through burning tobacco. Dried tobacco is one of the four basic components of cigarettes, including a filter, a paper wrapping, and some chemical additives. 

When cigarettes are burned, they produce smoke understood to contain tar, toxins, and dangerous chemicals such as hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, and ammonia. These chemicals--coupled with tar--are harmful to the lungs and heart and have long been linked to health risks

Vaping removes the tar and smoke from the smoking experience. Vapes utilize an atomizer that heats up your vape juice. This vape juice is a mixture of nicotine, water, and a solvent. When this juice is heated in the atomizer, it produces an inhalable vapor, allowing the user to get a nice fix without the toxins, tar, and smell that comes along with smoking cigarettes. 

Is vaping safer than cigarettes?

Often celebrated as a quitting aid for smokers, e-cigarettes and other nicotine, vapes have a reputation for being healthier than smoking cigarettes. But how accurate is this reputation?

Even in non-smokers, cigarette smoke is linked to lung cancer, heart disease, and respiratory troubles. Vaping nicotine cuts out exposure to the dangerous tar and toxins associated with cigarette smoke. In those regards, vaping may prove safer than smoking cigarettes. 

Nevertheless, the long-term health risks associated with vaping are relatively unknown. Research surrounding these health risks is still ongoing. Though research surrounding the health risks caused by vaping is relatively new, one particular study reviewed its effects on respiratory, cardiovascular, and muscle function. Though exposure to tar and other smoke-specific toxins is limited, this study found that vaping can cause similar adverse effects as smoking on lung function and cardiovascular function. 

Additionally, vape juice often contains chemical additives similar to those found in cigarette smoke. For example, vape juice can include carbonyl compounds such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein, and glyoxal.

As such, though vaping can provide a cleaner alternative to smoking, nicotine vapes can contain harmful components that may harm or impede bodily functions. Because the long-term health risks associated with vapes are still largely unknown, when it comes to vaping, it’s best to proceed with caution. 

Can vaping help you quit smoking?

Vaping is often hailed as a safer alternative to smoking. As a result, many chronic cigarette smokers turn to vaping when attempting to quit smoking.

Research reported by the National Health Service of the United Kingdom indicates that taking up vaping is an effective strategy to stop smoking cigarettes. Nevertheless, other research surrounding this methodology highlights that many users merely replaced cigarette smoking with vaping. 

Smokers used vapes to maintain their habit rather than helping them to cut it out entirely. Nevertheless, this replacement helped users to limit the consumption of tar and exposure to carbon monoxide. 

Moreover, these studies make a call for long-term global clinical trials regarding potential uses and adverse effects of nicotine vapes. 

Pros and cons of vaping versus smoking

Vaping nicotine has become a popular alternative to smoking cigarettes. While this method of nicotine consumption has notable benefits, it also comes with a handful of significant risks. 

Pros 

  • Cleaner alternative: Though research about the health risks of vaping is relatively new, one thing is for certain: vaping rather than smoking cuts out your exposure to the tar and carbon monoxide contained in cigarette smoke. 
  • More pleasant smell: With cigarettes comes a pungent smell and that icky smoky aftertaste. Vaping not only cuts out that ashy aftertaste, it does not leave behind a potent smell. 
  • Control over nicotine intake: Vaping allows you to customize and control your nicotine intake. Vape juice is available in a variety of strengths. This feature lets you determine how much nicotine you’re consuming with each hit, and it helps you to wean to a lower dose of nicotine over time. 
  • Variety of flavors: With the vape market growing in popularity, there are countless options when choosing a flavor. Whether you are buying a disposable vape or refilling your cartridge with vape juice, these products' flavoring comes in anything from menthol or tobacco to any imaginable fruity combo. 
  • Cons

  • Chemical additives: Vape juice contains nicotine, water, and other chemical additives. When you hit your vape, you’re exposing yourself to various chemical substances that are known to be toxic, carcinogenic, and/or to cause respiratory and cardiac disease. That’s why it’s important to get your vape carts from a reputable source. 
  • Unknown long-term risks: Research surrounding the long-term health risks of vaping is in its early stages. Therefore, the long-term adverse effects of vaping are largely unknown. When you vape, you’re stepping into this unknown. 
  • To sum it up 

    Research about vaping’s health risks is ongoing. As such, the long-term effects associated with vaping are largely unknown. Nevertheless, vaping nicotine reduces exposure to tar, carbon monoxide, and other dangerous chemicals contained in cigarette smoke. 

    FAQs

    Which is better for your lungs - vaping or smoking?

    Though vaping is often understood to be a cleaner alternative to smoking, vaping may have long-term adverse effects on respiratory, pulmonary, and cardiovascular function. Nevertheless, vaping nicotine versus smoking cigarettes exposes users to far less tar and carbon monoxide. 

    Why is vaping safer than cigarettes?

    While the long-term effects of vaping are largely unknown, smoking tobacco has a centuries-long reputation for causing lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Vaping delivers nicotine to its user by heating up a nicotine-rich vape juice, bypassing much of the harmful toxins associated with cigarette smoke.