The question is simple – Is vaping good or bad for us? But the answer seems not to be that flat like a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration. A comparison between smoking and vaping may help us sort out the roadblock. Let us then break down:
Smoking involves setting chemically treated tobacco on fire and inhaling smoke. The tiny particles in smoke are very aggressive and dig deep into living tissues.
Vaping, on the other hand, involves vaporizing a liquid solution containing nicotine and food-grade ingredients. There is no combustion with vaping.
Reasons for Vaping
There is no scientific consensus in the United States regarding whether or not vaping is bad. However, there is a lot of information from both sides of the argument that can be presented for concluding and arriving at a decision about the benefits of vaping. But it goes without saying that if you don’t smoke, don’t vape!
There should be no pressure of any kind, nor should there be any influence, but unfortunately, there are many people, particularly teens who start vaping even when they were not already smokers. Though nicotine is much safer when consumed by means that are not from smoking, there is no reason to take up nicotine and build up an addiction when one was not previously a smoker.
Although not a drug, but addiction to any foreign means, even to one as seemingly benign as nicotine, when not taken with cigarette smoke, it is something that is best avoided. Considering quitting nicotine is difficult and can lead to withdrawal symptoms. It is reiterated that vaping should not be taken up as a hobby also.
The good news is that the overwhelming majority of vapers are smokers or former smokers. It was found that only 1% of the people that had tried e-cigarettes were never smokers and for a non-smoker to take up vaping is very rare. E-cigs are an alternative tobacco product for adult tobacco consumers. That is the intent of vaping. It is not recommended to promote vaping to people who have never smoked.
A smoker who is trying to quit is encouraged to explore every option available to help kick cigarettes out of their life. Since there is no official American scientific position to confirm or deny vaping as a viable smoking cessation method, there cannot be an answer to this question that ‘can an adult opt for e-cigs who want to quit smoking?’
A study based on the National Health Review Survey shows that 52% of vapers in the United States have given up smoking. That is promising, and we look forward to more research.
Is Vaping Safer Than Smoking?
“Is Vaping safer than smoking” is the real-world question smokers are asking, but what they are not asking is “Is vaping bad for us?”.
Again there should be a differentiation between the two – smoking and vaping.
While in smoking, tobacco smoke contains thousands of chemicals, and many of them are proven carcinogens, which are chemicals linked to cancer. In contrast to that, although no combustion is involved in e-cigs – a product of vaporizing nicotine e-liquid – a solution made up of nicotine and food-grade substances such as PG and VG, but are equally relevant as far the nicotine dependence and its addiction are concerned which a non-smoker should always avoid.
Although US researchers have not reached an official conclusion, researchers in other countries have been more assertive. In the UK, both Public Health and the Royal College of Physicians, England, agree that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. With such a strong consensus in the UK, it remains quite a mystery as to why are US researchers reluctant to make any such official declaration.
Tests of e-cigarette vapor have produced very different results. Some research has found formaldehyde in vapor, such as this 2017 San Diego State University vapor study, have found that e-cig vapor does not generate toxic particles.
It is only very recently that electronic cigarette researchers have realized that the type of vapor device used is an important consideration. No one can answer “is vaping bad” without considering the technology being tested.
Many of the early studies never stipulated what type of e-cigarette was used for vaping, nor what style of vaping was tested. Researchers would test the devices in ways that no one would use when vaping. The best example of this is the claims of formaldehyde in e-cig vapor.
The formaldehyde was generated when the vapor product was vaped at high voltage. But a closer look at the same study also showed that no formaldehyde indicators were detected when the same vapor device was used at 3.3 volts. Here lies the problem. Vapers do not enjoy inhaling burnt vapor since it tastes terrible! It is not reasonable to assume that vapers will be vaping at extreme power settings unsuitable for the device and atomizer.
Greg Gutfeld from Fox News humorously weighed in on the New England Journal of Medicine report with a comparison. He said that “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.”
The bottom line is that any product can be misused if its safe use is compromised. There is no doubt that the type of device being used and how it is used play a major role in e-cigarette safety and should be used within the manufacturer’s recommended guidelines.
One has to learn how to vape and how the devices work. Good quality products should be chosen always. For dripping or using a sub-ohm mod, one should be sure and aware of the relationship between wattage or voltage and the resistance of the atomizer that’s being used.
An Update On Smoking Addiction
The interesting twist to all of this has been the recent discoveries that there are more chemicals in cigarette smoke that may be psychoactive and addictive. Not just nicotine. But, scientists are still not sure what it is. Today’s neuroimaging technology has shown that when someone smokes a cigarette, there is a decrease in MAO (monoamine oxidase) which the body uses to break down dopamine. With lower MAO, the dopamine level remains higher contributing to addiction.
Scientists do not know what it is in tobacco smoke that suppresses MAO but they do know that it is not nicotine. The conclusion, therefore, is that there is an unknown chemical in tobacco smoke causing this phenomenon.
A few years before, 4,000 chemicals were detected in cigarette smoke. As technology improved, it is found that there are 5,000 detectable chemicals. With further technological improvement, scientists have detected 7,000 chemicals! The more we learn about cigarettes and the effects of smoking, the more ominous the picture gets.
Of course, this unknown addictive element in cigarette smoke does not give nicotine a clean chit. Nicotine is a stimulant. Any stimulant can have addictive properties and increase heart rate and blood pressure. Children, pregnant women, and people with heart conditions should avoid nicotine and vape.
Nicotine is the most well-known addictive chemical associated with tobacco use. How bad is nicotine? Nicotine in and of itself is a stimulant and not a known carcinogen. It is not the nicotine that causes cancer from smoking. The more dangerous chemicals from smoking are the byproducts of combustion. Avoiding combustion is the driving force behind the popularity of vaping.
Vaping without nicotine is typically a result of a progression of reducing nicotine over time. Is vaping without nicotine bad or good? American researchers do not have an official position yet. But what’s known is that lungs perform best with clean, oxygen-rich air.
Psychological dependence also has negative side effects. Although a vaper might not be addicted to vaping since the juices used are 0 mg nicotine, there could be feelings of anxiety when vaping is not permitted or unavailable. Stress from not having enough money to buy juices, or other vape gear, are also problems that might arise when taking up a vaping hobby and not as a smoking cessation aid.
Diacetyl is used in some e-liquid flavors. As a result, concerns have been raised about vapers potentially being at risk for popcorn lung (is the name for a condition called bronchiolitis obliterans, a serious lung disease. Diacetyl is a butter flavoring often used as the butter flavor for products like microwave popcorn. Workers in microwave popcorn production facilities exposed to inhaled diacetyl fumes are reported to have contracted bronchiolitis obliterans. Hence the name popcorn lung). It is recommended that vapers avoid e-liquids with diacetyl or acetoin. Many of the leading vape juice company’s never use diacetyl in any of their products. Nicotine e-liquids from the United States and the United Kingdom do not contain diacetyl.
However, even with e-liquids containing diacetyl, there is much less diacetyl in vapor than in tobacco smoke. To date, there are no known cases of any vaper contracting the respiratory disease from vaping nicotine products.
Is Vaping Addictive?
Well, if nicotine is addictive, then vaping is? Researchers assume that nicotine is addictive. There are, however, studies that might indicate that vaping is less addictive than smoking.
A 2017 PATH study analysis at Penn State University found that vaping does not appear to be as addictive as smoking cigarettes. PATH (Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health) is a long-term study that is tracking a massive sample size of 30,000 people.
Researchers have also discovered that vapers are less likely to have strong cravings, to need nicotine after waking up, and more able to resist in restricted areas. The PATH study has found that vaping is addictive, but appears to be less addictive than smoking.
Another interesting side note is that PATH data once again shows that non-smokers are not taking up vaping and 93% of respondents that have tried e-cigarettes are smokers or former smokers.
Are There Any Benefits Of Vaping?
Here we are back to our original question – ‘is vaping good or bad?’
Now, this is where we come in to weigh what we have determined so far based on the information available. We have established that the device used for vaping may make a world of difference. One should avoid low-quality vapor and e-liquid products. We should make sure to choose the specific electronic cigarettes which suit us best.
It is advisable for the non-smoker not to vape. Vaping is an option for an adult tobacco consumer. Vaping’s harshest critics admit that vaping is likely less harmful than smoking, but, ultimately, it boils down to relative risk. Long-term health risks associated with vaping are yet not determined because there is no evidence either way at this point. Vapes are still a new phenomenon. We are certain and know the dangers of smoking and its terrible health consequences.
As always, purchase authentic nicotine products and devices from reputable shops.