According to the Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction (GSTHR), there were approximately 82 million vape users in 2021 worldwide. This is a significant increase from the 2018 estimate of 41 million vapers released by the World Health Organization (WHO).
As e-cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular at an astounding rate, more research is being conducted about the implications they may have on people’s health, and how vaping vs. smoking traditional cigarettes compares.
Is vaping safer than smoking? Keep reading to find out!
Table of Contents
What Makes Smoking Cigarettes Harmful?
The main reason that cigarette smoke is so damaging to your health is that burning tobacco, even in its most natural form, has negative health effects. The process of burning tobacco releases nicotine and cancer-causing carcinogens, among other chemicals.
Nicotine is highly addictive, which is why smoking can be such a difficult habit to terminate. What’s worse, most commercial cigarettes have additives that increase the carcinogens and chemicals that smokers inhale. It is no wonder that cigarettes are the leading cause of lung cancer, anywhere between 80% and 90% of cases.
Vaping vs. Smoking
E-cigarettes, also known as vapes, are small devices that heat-up a special liquid to produce a smoke-like vapor. This gives the user the illusion of smoking a cigarette, but without burning anything. You can find an excellent introduction here that explains this process in more detail.
Many people have turned to vaping in order to quit smoking cigarettes because e-liquids come with a range of nicotine levels. You can even find e-liquids that are nicotine-free.
In short, a smoker can perform an act that satisfies their craving to smoke something, with control over how much nicotine they intake, and without the harmful effects of burning tobacco.
Is Vaping Safe?
While vaping is a way to enjoy smoking without burning tobacco, it is not inherently safe.
Vapes are still a relatively new and ever-evolving technology, so health professionals still are unsure of the long-term impact of smoking e-cigarettes. What’s more, the image that they are safer has led to a rise in nicotine addiction, especially in youth populations.
As well, there are a number of ailments that have been linked to e-cigarettes. Health professionals have even created the term e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury (EVALI). These cases seem to predominantly be related to modified, black-market, and THC-containing vapes and vape liquids.
Is Vaping Safer Than Smoking?
Neither vaping nor smoking cigarettes is safe or without risk. However, the number of confirmed cases of EVALI in the US up to February 2020 was 2,807 with 68 deaths. This pales in comparison to the number of lung cancer deaths caused by cigarette smoking.
Moreover, lung cancer is not the only deadly health condition that combustible cigarettes can cause. While there are risks to vaping and smoking e-cigarettes, they contain far fewer cancer-causing chemicals. As well, they have resulted in fewer diseases and deaths, so far.
Stay Up to Date
In the end, is vaping safer than smoking? The tentative answer is: as far as we currently know. However, this very much depends on the device and liquids you use, as well as your nicotine levels.
If you decide to take up vaping, make sure to invest time and energy in finding the best and most well-reviewed brands. You should also be careful about your intake levels, as too much of almost anything can be harmful. Lastly, you will need to stay up to date on the latest research about e-cigarettes and vapes.
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