Vaping is widely known as an alternative to conventional smoking, and there has already been created serious hearsay around this activity. The ongoing controversies over the ultimate effect of both smoking and vaping could really use some research data and reliable evidence. In this post, we’ll try to provide answers to some of the vaping vs smoking FAQs and will try to figure out this single most important thing: is vaping worse than smoking?
Before we dig further into a direct comparison, let’s talk facts first.
Emergence of Vaping
Vaping is a relatively new thing on the market as it has been introduced not that long ago. Most sources indicate the year 2003 as the time of its marketing birthday. Yet, the global popularity of vaping has become really visible in the last decade. The public attitude towards vaping is not yet formed. It cannot be compared to the tobacco that has been present for centuries thanks to the curiosity of Columbus. Naturally, vape is surrounded by a massive unsolved mystery and loud bickering.
Why Do We Even Juxtapose Vaping vs Smoking?
First and foremost, because many people take up vaping to quit smoking. Some prefer it as a less harmful alternative to cigarettes, while others try to deprive of this habit without gaining weight. Indeed, many scientists have approved the hypothesis that nicotine, which is present in both, can facilitate weight control. Still, despite a lack of clinical research regarding the harm of vaping and an abundance of medical conclusions as to the vast danger of tobacco, the latter seems to have gained fewer foes.
This perplexity is 50% owing to an unexamined effect of vape, and 50% due to the head honchos of the tobacco industry, who kinda foresee and fear the severe competition. The only thing that is known for sure in this vaping vs cigarettes polemic is that these are not the same.
Talking Chemical Composition
Given the significant differences in their chemical composition, the impact of cigarettes and vape is not the same. The health implications are somewhat different because of the chemical composition of each.
The Effects of Cigarettes
The cigarette smoke is known to have had more than 20 dangerous chemical substances which are known to provoke some very serious health conditions, such as heart diseases and cancer in various forms. A single collective term for those chemicals is “cancirogens.” Some of the substances that fall into this category are the following:
– hydrogen cyanide;
– polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons;
– carbon monoxide;
– nitrosamines, and so on.
Interestingly, not a single manufacturer puts them into a cigarette on purpose since they all emerge as a result of tobacco leaf combustion, which launches chemical reactions, during which the aforementioned come into being.
The Effects of Vape
It is virtually impossible to produce all those cancirogens during vaping because vaping does not presume any combustion whatsoever. The whole process does not require to burn anything because the substance that a person inhales is a mere vapor. Thus, a single technical difference removes a handful of harmful agents at once. The available studies on the chemical composition of vapor produced by the device reveal a vast difference compared to regular cigarette smoke. Some of the unfriendly substances to a human body that are coming from vape include:
– vegetable oil;
– vegetable glycerin;
Of course, there’s more to this list, but it should be noted that the other chemicals are due to the flavoring rather than creating vapor. In addition, many components of vape were proven safe to the body. Therefore, it is a much better alternative to smoking in many ways.
Speaking about the Health Implications…
As we have distinguished so far in this vaping vs smoking situation, the health implications of tobacco and vape are different. Let’s explore each a little bit closer.
Potential Damage from Cigarette Smoke
As we have determined, the biggest danger of cigarettes comes from the smoke, and the toxins emerge as a result of a chemical reaction that occurs during the combustion of tobacco. These cancirogens are known to provoke a bunch of health issues, and the most frequent one is cancer, a lung cancer in particular.
We all know how the tumors emerge in the human body. Thus, smoking reinforces this process by multiplying the damage done by toxins. Under such unfavorable conditions, the body cells mutate much faster than usual. However, it is a proven fact that lung cancer is not the only type of this disease that can be caused by cigarettes since not only lungs get in contact with smoke, not to mention the byproducts of smoking that wander around the organs and bloodstream. The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) states that this habit can potentially provoke the emergence of malignant tumor literally in every part of human body.
The cigarette smoke harm is mostly concentrated the so-called tar. It is a byproduct of tobacco combustion that accommodates most of the cancirogens. The greatest danger of tar lays in the fact that this substance actually stays in the body. It settles in lungs, damages sensitive tissues, and hence makes the cells go crazy. Vape doesn’t involve combustion, and thus it doesn’t produce tar. Clearly, there are still some cancirogens in vapor from an e-cigarette, but their concentration is significantly smaller. In fact, the biggest health concerns related to vaping are due to the misuse, i.e., vaping at extremely hot temperature, or using the vape too often.
Whereas the danger of cancirogens is indisputable, the studies had found that the nicotine as a sole substance is not connected with increased cancer risks. The research on the long-term impact of nicotine on the organism and its ability to provoke lung cancer and related diseases hadn’t shown any visible connection between nicotine and cellular malignant formations. In fact, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is known as an effective treatment for cigarette addiction. A comparative study on the impact of combustion smoke and vapor emission has concluded that the cancer risks of vaping are almost equal to those of an NRT.
The cancer is not the only consequence of smoking. The heart diseases are also on the top list of health problems that one might develop with the help of cigarettes. A third of all the heart-related deaths in America are the results of habitual smoking. This includes stroke, heart attack, sudden cardiac arrest, and many other potentially lethal conditions.
Again, the nicotine does not typically appear in the list of factors causing cardiovascular events. However, if the person is already suffering from one of those heart conditions, it would be reasonable to eliminate nicotine intake, as well as to re-evaluate the lifestyle in general.
The opponents of vaping drive the public attention to the fact that vape is not at all harmless. It has been repeated time and again that the vapor from e-cigarettes also contains many harmful ultrafine particles. Whereas this is a 100% true, it is also important to note that they are present in the evaporation in the form of liquid droplets rather than solid particles. Currently, there is no scientific data proving the connection between vaping and cardiovascular diseases.
Another serious health implication for smokers is the risk of developing one of the COPD conditions, which stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. This group includes such issues as asthma, chronic bronchitis, and so on. The connection between the aforementioned problems and smoking is obvious. The lungs do their best to invade the incoming products of combustion, but their capacities are not unlimited. At some point, the lungs give up, and this is when the serious issues begin.
The central cause of COPD conditions in smokers is the harmful substances in the cigarette smoke. At the same time, there is no medical evidence showing the connection between vaping and COPD.
Smoking and Pregnancy
Finally, one of the biggest concerns of medical professionals is the impact of smoking during pregnancy. It has been proven by numerous studies that the cancirogens from cigarette smoke cause harm not only to the body of a woman but also to the organism of her unborn child. Specifically, the carbon monoxide found in cigarette smoke decreases the oxygen level in blood, which leads to the embryo not getting enough of O2, and thus causes a number of related conditions.
The research on the effect of nicotine on the pregnancy flow has proven that the nicotine itself doesn’t affect either a woman or her growing child.
In the direct comparison of a vapor from a vaping device and cigarette smoke, the latter stands to lose. However, if we bring together vapor from a vape and clear air, the harm will become more evident.
Indeed, one may find plenty of medically acknowledged data proving that there is no connection between vaping and dangerous health conditions since the latter are mostly due to the combustion products from cigarettes. However, vaping also has many side effects.
The findings of NRT related studies vividly explain that most of health-related concerns faced by smokers have nothing to do with nicotine, but it does it mean that nicotine is wholly safe and appropriate for frequent consumption? Let’s find out.
Every smoker will confirm that having a cigarette after a long break causes subtle dizziness. This is a sign that the body has received too much nicotine at once. Nicotine is an addictive substance, the intake of which keeps the person wanting to consume more. This is the only common thing between the cigarette and vape, and the sensations it can cause to your body are pretty much the same. Due to the nature of both ways of nicotine consumption, it is clear that vapers are more likely to consume too much of it. The side effects of nicotine overdose include dizziness, headache, racing heart, nausea, anxiety, insomnia, ringing ears, etc.
Apart from that, it is important to note that many side effects are peculiar specifically to vaping. Given that the liquid used in the devices includes humectants, the body of the vaper becomes exposed to dehydration. Some common signs that your organism lacks water are dry skin, mouth, and eyes, scratchy throat, headache and coughing, headache, and sometimes, a nosebleed.
Cost Implications: Vaping vs Cigarettes
Money is one of the factors making people try vaping to quit smoking. At the same time, it is a very common reason to stick to cigarettes instead of purchasing a vaping device. The price of the latter is surrounded by a lot of misconceptions as it is usually regarded as a very expensive choice. Although it is true that an e-cigarette is quite expensive, very few people view this purchase as an investment, because nobody counts the total spendings, say, during a one year period.
In the United States, one pack of cigarettes is equal to $13 on average. With a regular smoker buying around 4-6 packs per week, the annual spendings go beyond $3k. An e-cigarette kit costs around $50 plus a $15 bottle of vape juice, which is normally enough for one week, depending on how much a person smokes. The numbers say that on average, the vaper spends up to $800 per year. Therefore, the cost efficiency of vaping is pretty obvious.
Is Vaping Better than Smoking?
While making a choice and comparing vaping vs cigarettes, you have to understand that the influence of the latter ones is much worse.By all means, vaping seems lesser of two evils, even though more studies on its long-term effect are yet to come.