Is vaping bad for your health? This question seems to require a simple answer, doesn’t it? Yet it turns out there is an underlying complexity to it. We will have a look at different aspects and analyze them one by one. Our first stop is – how is vaping different from smoking?
Smoking is a process of firing up a tobacco with chemical premises and breathing in smoke. As a result, dangerous particles invade the body and attach themselves to the living tissues. Vaping is merely vaporizing a liquid with nicotine (or without it) and food additives and it doesn’t involve any burning.
Scientists in the United States haven’t come to an agreement regarding the effects vaping has on human health. However, both opinions are justified by a substantial amount of evidence, which you can study and come to your own conclusions. And the first argument to consider is that if you don’t smoke, you probably don’t need to vape as well.
Vaping is for smokers
It turns out that there are hardly any non-smokers among those who vape. Either active or former smokers constitute overwhelming 99% of people who have tried vaping, says 2014 Health Survey for England. E-cigarettes almost never get in the hands of non-smokers and are mostly advertised as an alternative to regular tobacco cigarettes. One should not be encouraged to try vaping if a smoking habit is not already an issue.
Giving up smoking is a reasonable idea and we would advocate for it without hesitation. Many smokers wonder if vaping can help them quit smoking, but there is no ready-made answer to that question. As of now, scientists in the USA have not come to a consensus and so the question whether this could be an effective method of treating tobacco addiction remains speculative.
There has been however some promising data in the recent years. A study conducted in Europe in 2016 said that about 15 million people claimed to had dropped or significantly cut down smoking due to vaping. A survey conducted in the United States recently showed that 52% of e-cigarette users were able to completely cease smoking. More research is needed, yet this already allows for some optimistic expectations.
Is vaping as bad as smoking?
This is a discussion that is really important. Reality is such that a question like “Is vaping as bad as smoking?” is way more relevant to smokers than just “Is vaping bad?” It’s understandable, considering what we know about smoking. And we know that cigarette smoke contains countless chemicals, some of which are known to be carcinogens – chemicals associated with cancer.
Look how e-cigarettes are different: apart from nicotine, the liquid that is inhaled in a vaporized form usually contains nothing but some food grade ingredients.While official US science hesitates to come to terms with the data and choose sides, scientists in other countries have been more decisive. For example, so are scientists from the United Kingdom, where Public Health England and Royal College of Physicians claim that vaping is at minimum 95% less harmful than smoking. This makes us wonder, what exactly makes researchers in the United States so undetermined?
Turns out, contradictory results have been obtained from independent trials. For example, a 2017 research by San Diego State University have concluded that no poisonous elements are produced by vaping, but some other studies have been able to discover formaldehyde in a vapor. Why is there such a substantial difference between these studies?
It has been the case until just recently that researchers would not pay any serious attention to what type of vaporizer is used in their studies. Yet the answer to the question how bad vaping is, depends on what exact kind of vaping technology is considered. Some researchers were ignorant about the type of device they used and how they used it. Sometimes it would be tested in a manner that is never observed in real life. An example of that is those studies which showed formaldehyde particles in a vapor.
Does vapor really contain formaldehyde?
Some studies have led to misleading results due to inappropriate usage of e-cigarettes. One such case is a 2015 article published in New England Journal of Medicine. They were able to find hazardous formaldehyde substances in a vapor. However, their trials are reproducible only if a liquid is vaporized at high voltage. The simple truth is vapers never set voltage as high as the researchers did because it would result in disgusting taste. At the same time, no formaldehyde was found in smoke produced at 3.3 volts or lower.
There is simply no reason to expect that some smokers will consume burnt vapor with ugly taste and thus expose themselves to a toxic threat.
Researchers have shown that overstressing and overheating the vape can produce poisonous substances.However, when e-cigarettes are used the way they are expected to be used, no traces of formaldehyde or other toxins can be found. Greg Gutfeld, Fox News host, made a sarcastic comment regarding this study, saying “This e-cig study’s assertion is like saying driving a car is deadly if you floor it in reverse on a narrow cliff while doing Jell-O shots in your underwear”.
Here’s what really matters. For any product, there are ways it should not be used. It’s clear that there are certain instructions on how to use e-cigarettes properly to keep it safe, and following them is crucial for our evaluation of this technology. If you are into vaping, just make sure to check the guidelines provided by the manufacturer and do as they say. Before you start vaping, get the grasp of how it works.
Pros and Cons of Vaping
What are the pros and cons of vaping? We know that the FDA is currently investigating if there’s a real benefit in vaping for tobacco smokers who want to quit or reduce smoking. If we get to prove it, it will mean that vaping can actually save lives. Smoking tobacco takes so many people’s lives every year that we should strive for a change and encourage every possible solution of the problem.
– No burning means no dangerous byproducts
– No smoke smell
– Eliminates second-hand smoking
– Treat tobacco without chemicals
– Gives you control of nicotine levels
– Less expensive
– Offers different technologies for different types of smokers
– You can choose from a great variety of tastes
– Contains nicotine (if you choose it to)
– Some e-cigarettes can be difficult to use
– Some people don’t like to stand close to vapor
– Mouth dryness is one of the side effects
Vaping without Nicotine – is it bad?
Nicotine is recognized to be in charge of causing addiction to smoking, as reported by the FDA. One of the regulations that the FDA is concerned about is about reducing nicotine levels in cigarettes and other products for tobacco smokers. So, is vaping bad for you if it’s nicotine free? If we acknowledge that nicotine is the problem, does it mean that nicotine free vaping is absolutely safe? Hang on! It’s not as simple as it seems.
As we know, nicotine is considered to be the most addictive substance associated with smoking tobacco. How terrible is it exactly? It is defined as a stimulant and is not known to contain any carcinogens. It would be incorrect to say that cancer is caused by nicotine. It is the products of burning which make smoking so dangerous. And it is the fact that vaping involves no burning that makes it so popular.
Usually, smokers who want to quit would gradually reduce nicotine levels and eventually start vaping without nicotine. If you’re a non-smoker, don’t start vaping just because you like how it looks and think that it’s no harm without nicotine. You wonder, what is the downside of vaping without nicotine? Well, scientists in the United States have not yet said a final word on it. But we are well aware that your lungs prefer clean air and are much better off without any smoke.
Popcorn lung is a common name for a serious lung disease which is caused by inhaling diacetyl fumes. Diacetyl is also known as a butter flavor and is used with various products one of which is microwave popcorn. Some of the people who work in popcorn factories and happen to inhale diacetyl are diagnosed with this lung condition. This is how this disease, also known as bronchiolitis obliterans, got its name.
Diacetyl is present in some e-liquid flavors. Hence, there has been a concern that vapers could possibly be in danger of popcorn lung. Today diacetyl is rarely used in vaping liquid production by the leading factories. To avoid any potential trouble, make sure to stay away from e-liquids that come with diacetyl or acetoin.
What if you find that your liquid contains diacetyl? Does it mean it’s dangerous? Luckily, there is no evidence to confirm that, yet as a safety measure, vapers tend to prefer products free of diacetyl. What we know is that diacetyl is certainly present in tobacco smoke, and even if your liquid does have some diacetyl, there is still substantially more of it in tobacco smoke. More to that, there have been no reports of popcorn lung or other respiratory diseases caused by vaping as of today.
Is Vaping Addictive?
As long as nicotine is addictive, so is vaping. Most scientists agree that nicotine is definitely addictive. Current scientific research shows that nicotine is less addictive than it was previously believed, but no final consensus on this has been achieved yet. However, we have good reasons to assume that smoking is more addictive than vaping.
A major study that provides evidence in favor of vaping has been done by the Penn State University. The University is in charge of a long-term research known as PATH (Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health) which is observing an overwhelmingly big sample of 30,000 people.
Analysts of the study have found that compared to tobacco smokers, vapers are less prone to strong cravings, and are better able to resist after waking up or in non-smoking areas. Unfortunately, the study doesn’t say that no addiction is caused by vaping but it makes a strong argument in support of vaping being not as addictive as smoking.
AN UPDATE ON SMOKING ADDICTION
An intriguing part of this is that according to recent studies nicotine doesn’t seem to be the sole psychoactive and addictive substance responsible for addiction. Turns out cigarette smoke contains a variety of other chemicals that add up to the problem. It is not yet known what they are exactly, but new technology of neuroimaging has demonstrated that a smoked cigarette leads to decreased MAO, monoamine oxidase, a substance our body needs to break down dopamine. As a result, dopamine levels remain higher and addiction becomes stronger.
Even though scientists haven’t been able to find which chemicals make MAO levels decrease, they are certain that nicotine is not the one. We can only say that it remains a mystery what is the other chemical that makes tobacco smoke so addictive.
We tend to think that at this point science should have answers to all our questions, but look at the facts. Several years ago we said that cigarette smoke contains 4,000 chemicals. Then our technology advanced and the number changed to 5,000 chemicals. And now, scientists are able to identify as many as 7,000 of them. Looks like the image of smoking is getting less and less favorable with every finding we make.
But don’t make a mistake – the discovery of unknown chemical substance in tobacco smoke doesn’t make nicotine any less dangerous. As any stimulant, nicotine is addictive and causes health problems such as increased blood pressure or abnormal heart rate. People with heart issues, children, and pregnant women should stay away from consuming nicotine, regardless if it’s done by smoking or vaping.
Is vaping bad for your health? Conclusions.
Let’s look back at the question we started with. Is vaping harmful? Now you have enough data backed by most recent research to help you make a reasonable conclusion. Here are some of the key recommendations we can give. Don’t choose your vaping device blindly. Always try to opt for a better product. Check contents before buying e-liquids. Make it certain that the products you are getting are good and suit your needs.
Don’t start vaping if you are not a smoker. Choose to vape only if you are already addicted to tobacco. This way you put relatively smaller pressure on your health. Even those who criticize vaping usually admit that it is not as bad as smoking. Keep in mind that e-cigarettes are a relatively new thing, so long-term effects of vaping have not been fully studied yet. Nevertheless, we know enough about the dangers of tobacco smoking and its destructive impact on human health.