Vaping vs. Smoking: Which is Less Harmful?
You might be tempted to use electronic cigarettes, which include e-cigarettes, vape pens, and other vaping devices to help you make the transition from traditional cigarettes to quitting smoking altogether. Is it, however, healthier to use vaping rather than tobacco products? Can vaping assist you in quitting smoking for good? Which is less harmful when it comes to vaping vs. smoking?
Let us turn into the research to answer these questions.
Side Effects of Vaping:
1 - Vaping and Links between Lung Injuries and Deaths
There has been an increase in the number of lung injuries and deaths linked to vaping. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 2,807 cases of e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury (EVALI) in February 2020, including 68 deaths223.
2 - Vaping and the Many Chemicals
The Johns Hopkins University conducted a study on vape components in October 2021 that revealed thousands of chemical constituents in vape items, the majority of which have yet to be identified. Several potentially dangerous components were identified by the team, including caffeine, three chemicals never before seen in e-cigarettes, a pesticide, and two flavorings associated to toxic consequences and respiratory irritation224.
3 - Vaping and Other Diseases
Moreover, new evidence reveals linkages to chronic lung illness and asthma225, as well as cardiovascular disease226 and dual use of e-cigarettes and smoking.
In fact, as e-cigarettes have grown in popularity, so have worries regarding certain elements of their use227, which include the following:
Other important data related to vaping:
- Data Concerns
- There seems to be a gap in the literature about the long-term effects of e-cigarettes228. High-quality data is yet to be studied.
- Nicotine Dependence
- Some studies revealed that there is an increased possibility that e-cigarettes may lead to augmented nicotine dependence.229
- In addition, there is a great possibility that former smokers are being reintroduced to nicotine as a result of switching to e-cigarettes after quitting smoking.230
- Combustibles and Vapors
- The fact that some smokers use both combustible and vapor-based nicotine products potentially increases their toxicant exposure.231
- Manufacturing Concerns
- The variable manufacturing quality of some e-cigarettes, which has resulted in reports of devices exploding, is yet to be studied.232
- Moreover, the accuracy of the labeling of some e-liquids is questionable.233
Also you may be interested to read more on the 5 Reasons Why Smoking Hookah/Shisha is Harmful, here.
Vaping vs Smoking: Which is safer?
Despite the fact that we don’t know exactly what chemicals are in e-cigarettes, there’s practically no doubt that vaping exposes you to less hazardous chemicals than smoking regular cigarettes234. According to the evidence, smoking looks to be more dangerous than vaping. Essentially, vaping liquids contain less toxins than cigarettes; nonetheless, they are not completely safe235. Hence, neither smoking nor vaping is good for your health.
In conclusion, and in light of the aforementioned studies, it is greatly advised that vape users and smokers turn to safer ways to stop smoking and to consider FDA-approved smoking cessation options236. Undoubtedly, vaping users are exposing themselves to a variety of compounds that are yet to be comprehended, and while vaping seems to be safer than smoking, it is, nonetheless, addictive and does negatively impact one’s health237.
Also find our detailed article on Are electronic cigarettes/ electronic smoking alternatives harmful, here.
- 223 https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html
- 224 https://hub.jhu.edu/2021/10/07/vaping-unknown-chemicals
- 225 https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/newsroom/news-releases/vaping-increases-odds-of-asthma-and-copd
- 226 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30853474
- 227 McKeganey, N., Barnard, M., & Russell, C. (2018). Vapers and vaping: E-cigarettes users views of vaping and smoking. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 25(1), 13-20.
- 228 Callahan-Lyon, P. (2014). Electronic cigarettes: Human health effects. Tobacco Control, 232(Suppl 2), ii36–ii40. doi: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2013-051470.
- 229 Fillon, M. (2015). Electronic cigarettes may lead to nicotine addiction. JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 107(3).
- 230 Durkin, S. J., Bayly, M., & Wakefield, M. A. (2016). Can e-cigarette ads undermine former smokers? An experimental study. Tobacco Regulatory Science, 2(3), 263-277.
- 231 Adkison, S. E., O'Connor, R. J., Bansal-Travers, M., Hyland, A., Borland, R., Yong, H. H., ... & Fong, G. T. (2013). Electronic nicotine delivery systems: international tobacco control four-country survey. American journal of preventive medicine, 44(3), 207-215.
- 232 Yang, L., Rudy, S. F., Cheng, J. M., & Durmowicz, E. L. (2014). Electronic cigarettes: incorporating human factors engineering into risk assessments. Tobacco control, 23(suppl 2), ii47-ii53.
- 233 Goniewicz, M. L., Hajek, P., & McRobbie, H. (2014). Nicotine content of electronic cigarettes, its release in vapour and its consistency across batches: regulatory implications. Addiction, 109(3), 500-507.
- 234 https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/5-truths-you-need-to-know-about-vaping#:~:text=1%3A%20Vaping%20is%20less%20harmful,many%20of%20which%20are%20toxic
- 235 https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/quit-smoking-tobacco/is-vaping-safer-than-smoking
- 236 https://smokefree.gov/tools-tips/how-to-quit/using-nicotine-replacement-therapy
- 237 https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/5-truths-you-need-to-know-about-vaping