Considering picking up a vape but concerned about the potential health implications? With so much misinformation floating around and the media seemingly intent on discrediting e-cigarettes at every opportunity, it’s no surprise some people are worried about vaping.
The good news is that the vast majority of this information is either exaggerated or completely made up! Stories about the harmful effects of tobacco are no longer interesting, but as vaping is a relatively new phenomenon, journalists know that printing wild scare stories will attract clicks.
Thankfully, we’re on hand to separate the truth from fiction and provide some useful facts about how vaping does and doesn’t affect our health. While we’re at it, we’ll also be debunking some of those persistent myths that just won’t seem to go away!
Here are five facts about vaping that you may not have known before:
Vaping Is Healthier Than Smoking
Let’s start with the most important fact of them all: compared to smoking, vaping is by far the healthier of the two. In fact, according to the large-scale study carried out by Public Health England a few years ago, using a vape is at least 95% safer than smoking.
In all honesty, most people probably know this by now. However, there’s still a minority that believes vaping is worse than smoking, which is misinformation that needs addressing as it could deter smokers from using a vape to ditch cigarettes.
Vapes Contain No Tar
If you’ve ever wondered why vaping is quite damaging to our health, the answer lies in the tar and carbon monoxide created when the tobacco is burned. This sticky, toxic substance that’s responsible for staining smokers’ teeth, gums, and fingers contains cancer-causing particles.
Likewise, carbon monoxide also causes much of the disease associated with smoking, but you’ll be glad to know neither this or tar are present in vapes.
Vaping Doesn’t Harm Those Around You
As well as your own health, you’ll naturally want to know whether your vaping is potentially harming others around you. This is especially true if you have children or live with someone who has a respiratory illness.
Although secondhand smoke is an indisputable killer, thankfully, there’s no evidence that vaping causes harm to others around you.
Having said that, we still wouldn’t advise using your vape around small children or those who may be vulnerable to vape aerosol, so in this situation, it’s probably best to use your e-cig outside or in a different room.
Nicotine Isn’t A Killer Chemical
The word nicotine is synonymous with smoking, so it’s easy to see why so many people believe it’s bad for your health. However, while nicotine can raise blood pressure, it’s a relatively benign chemical that has little to do with smoking-related illnesses.
So if you’re worried about vaping due to the fact that e-liquid contains nicotine, this shouldn’t be a cause for too much concern. The real risks come from tobacco.
Vaping Isn’t As Bad For Your Heart As Smoking
A controversial study released in 2020 reported that vapers had the same risk of heart disease as smokers. However, this study was recently withdrawn by the journal it was published in, as the researchers failed to take into account the fact that almost all the vapers involved were current or former smokers.
As vaping is still relatively new, we’re still learning about how it affects the heart. A randomised control trial that looked at the vascular effects of smokers switching to vaping was published in December, and the results were promising.
It found that those who switched to e-cigarettes completely experienced the largest improvement in their vascular health, getting close to healthy markers.
Here are five commonly-believed myths that definitely need addressing:
Vaping Causes Popcorn Lung
This is one myth that never seems to die! Bronchiolitis obliterans, better known as popcorn lung, is a disease that affects the smallest airways in the lungs, known as the bronchioles.
This disease can be caused by inhaling diacetyl, a chemical used to flavour popcorn, which gets its name after a bunch of workers in a microwave food factory contracted the condition.
The problem with the idea that vaping causes popcorn lung is that e-liquids in the UK don’t contain diacetyl. This substance is banned in this country, so the risks of vaping an e-cig and contracting popcorn lung are pretty much nil, provided you purchase your e-liquid and vape products from a reputable seller.
We actually have an entire article about popcorn lung. Check it out.
Vaping Is A Gateway To Smoking
Another narrative the media tends to push is that vaping is acting as a gateway for people to get hooked on nicotine, which eventually leads to smoking.
But while this may be the case for a small minority of vapers, with millions of people quitting smoking with a vape, there’s little doubt that overall, e-cigs discourage smoking.
Vaping Is As Addictive As Smoking
Another myth that many believe is that vaping is just as addictive as nicotine. Although vapes contain nicotine, with an e-cig the user has much more control over their nicotine than they would with cigarettes.
By gradually reducing the strength of your e-liquid, you can slowly taper off. Some vapers do this until they get all the way down to zero when they’re ready to quit altogether.
Replicating this strategy with cigarettes is practically impossible, so the next time you hear that vaping is just as addictive as smoking, remember that this is another myth.
Disposable Vapes Equal 40 Cigarettes
Arguably one of the silliest myths around, but still one of the most difficult to fully debunk. When disposable vapes arrived on the scene, the media positioned its crosshairs on these single-use devices and published all sorts of outlandish stories.
One of those is the idea that disposables are just as harmful as dozens of cigarettes, but this ridiculous claim is wrong on so many levels.
Firstly, there is no tar or carbon monoxide in vapes, so these devices are in no way equal to even one cigarette. Moreover, the average packet of cigarettes contains around 200-330 mg of nicotine while disposables have around 40 mg, so how anyone can draw comparisons between the two is anyone’s guess!
Vaping Doesn’t Help People Quit Smoking
The fifth and final myth on our list is one that says vaping doesn’t really help people quit smoking, rather it encourages them to form a dual addiction.
Thankfully, we have countless studies we can look at that disprove this one, such as the research carried out by Harvard University, which found that up to 14 people out of every 100 who tried to quit with a vape device did so successfully.
Although this might not seem that high, vaping is actually by far the most successful smoking cessation tool. So to say it doesn’t help anyone quit smoking couldn’t be further from the truth.
Check out our detailed article about quitting smoking with vapes.
Benefits Of Switching From Smoking to Vaping
By now, it should be clear that switching from smoking to vaping is a great move for your health. So let’s double down on exactly how swapping your cigarettes for an electronic alternative can work wonders for your health.
We all know that smoking is bad for the respiratory system. As well as damaging the heart, smoking is responsible for lung disease, as inhaling tobacco smoke destroys the tiny air sacs, known as alveoli.
Although vaping isn’t completely harmless, it’s much less damaging to the respiratory system than smoking. So by making the switch, you can vastly improve your respiratory health.
Reduced Risk Of Cancer
Cancer is perhaps the most feared smoking-related illness – and for good reason. Research suggests that if you smoke just one to five cigarettes per day, your risk of developing cancer increases by around 7.7%. For those who smoke more than 35 cigarettes per day, there’s a whopping 26.4% increase in the risk of developing lung cancer by age 80.
Much of the risks associated with cancer are caused by the tar and carbon monoxide. But thankfully, vapes contain neither of these, so although vaping may not be risk-free, the chances of developing cancer are minuscule in comparison.
No Second-Hand Smoke
One of the biggest worries people have about smoking is harming others around them through second-hand smoke. According to some studies, inhaling the fumes from other people’s cigarettes can be as damaging as smoking them yourself!
This is a real cause for concern, especially if there are children or vulnerable adults around, as they’re even more susceptible to the harm caused by cigarette smoke.
This is another area where vaping completely outperforms smoking. As mentioned above, when you vape, the risks to those around you are negligible, and although it’s probably not advisable to use your e-cigarette around young children, the risks of second-hand vapour aren’t nearly as high as second-hand smoke.
Taste And Smell
If you’re a full-time smoker, then you’ll know that it’s one habit that can wreak havoc on your sense of taste and smell. The reason for this is that cigarette smoke damages the sensory systems, killing taste buds by cutting off their blood supply. Once this occurs, your sense of taste and smell can be significantly dulled.
Thankfully, vaping doesn’t affect your olfactory system in the same way smoking does. So when you stop smoking with the use of vape, over time your sense of taste and smell should gradually start to return to normal.
Although this may be less of a concern than cancer, heart/lung disease and second-hand smoke, nevertheless if you enjoy your food and drink, then it can make a huge difference in your life!
Vaping Side Effects
So we’ve established that in the battle between vaping and smoking, vape devices come out on top when it comes to health. In all honesty, it was never much of a contest!
Having said that, there are some minor side-effects that come with vaping, so to provide a fair and balanced perspective, here they are:
Without a doubt, the most common side-effect that comes with vaping is coughing. This usually occurs when an individual has never vaped before, and it can create a bad first impression. However, persistence is key, and once your throat and lungs are used to the vapour, it should subside.
There are a few reasons why you may be coughing more than expected. If the e-liquid is too high or you’re using the wrong type of vape, this could cause you to cough.
Make sure you’re using a vape that’s suitable for beginners, such as a starter kit or pod device. Likewise, you must use the right type of e-liquid and coil as this can make all the difference to your enjoyment, especially for those new to vaping.
Some people experience dizziness when they vape due to the sudden rush of adrenaline caused by the nicotine inhalation. This should pass after a few seconds and should only occur after the first few puffs.
Some people report feeling nauseous after using their vape. This is mainly due to the nicotine in the e-liquid, which can cause some people to feel sick. Again, this should resolve once your body’s acclimatised to this new sensation.
When you first start vaping, you may notice your mouth feels drier than usual. This can be down to a few factors, including a temporary reduction in saliva and the presence of propylene glycol (PG) in the e-liquid, which can dry the throat and mouth.
You can easily get around this by drinking plenty of fluids, which should stave off the dry mouth and throat.
Some individuals may experience headaches when vaping which can be attributed to a few different factors. Some might experience sensitivity or reactions to certain ingredients in e-liquid, while others may experience mild dehydration which can trigger headaches.
Inexperienced users or those inhaling more deeply than they should may inhale excessive amounts of vapour or nicotine, which could potentially lead to headaches.
Ensuring you’re drinking enough water and taking regular, sensible puffs should mitigate these risks.
If you’re persistently experiencing any of these side-effects, you may be vaping an e-liquid that’s too high in nicotine.
Stronger juices can cause dizziness and nausea in those who aren’t accustomed to such high doses of nicotine, so keep this in mind when choosing your e-liquid, and if you’re feeling a bit woozy whenever you vape then it might be time to lower the strength of your vape liquid.
Does Nicotine Cause Cancer
Nicotine, which is found primarily in tobacco, has long been associated with smoking, which is the leading cause of many cancers. This is why many believe that nicotine itself is carcinogenic (cancer-causing).
However, while nicotine is an addictive alkaloid, it isn’t classified as a carcinogen. So, on its own, removed from the other toxic chemicals found in cigarette smoke, nicotine won’t cause cancer.
Hopefully, after reading through our guide on vaping and health, you’ve now got a better understanding of how using an e-cig affects your body.
Ever since e-cigarettes arrived on the scene, tobacco lobbyists and the mainstream media have attempted to cast doubt on vaping. This has resulted in a constant stream of negative publicity, with scare stories about popcorn lung, children vaping, and exploding devices a constant ever since vape devices arrived on the scene.
Hopefully, we’ve provided a different perspective in this post. While vapes are by no means completely risk-free, they are much safer than the habit they were designed to replace—smoking.
So if you’re struggling to quit smoking and you’re in search of something to help you finally stub out those cigarettes, vaping offers a healthier, not to mention cheaper, alternative.