‘Is Vaping Better Than Smoking?’ – Here is the Truth
The vaping industry is one of the fastest-growing markets in the world. Boosted by a demand for the next-generation of smoking alternatives and the need for an effective nicotine replacement method, the total revenue of vape products is estimated to reach $57 billion by 2025.
With a flourishing fan-base, the vaping industry is increasingly starting to replace the traditional habits of tobacco smokers across the globe. But the question remains – 'Is vaping better than smoking?'.
Continued studies are being conducted to determine the value of vaping’s ability to reduce the harm caused by tobacco cigarettes. In this article, we compile all the available data on the benefits and pitfalls of e-cigarettes in an effort to find the truth.
Are Nicotine E-Cigarettes Dangerous?
Many people subscribe to the belief that the nicotine in e-cigarettes and vapes can cause a variety of smoking-related conditions. However, this is simply not the case.
Of the three main contributors to smoking fatalities - lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cardiovascular disease - none are directly caused by nicotine. Instead, lung cancer arises from high exposure to the 7000 dangerous carcinogens found in tobacco smoke, COPD is the result of smoke-induced irritation, and cardiovascular disease is directly impacted by tobacco smoke disturbing blood vessel walls.
With vape devices and e-cigarettes containing 450 times fewer carcinogens than traditional cigarettes, there is a significant reduction in mortality rates found in smokeless tobacco (SLT) and 'heat-not-burn' vape users than in tobacco cigarette smokers.
Despite being categorised as a toxic compound, the nicotine found in e-liquids, nicotine replacement therapies (gums, patches, and sprays), and even traditional tobacco is used by countless people every day.
Even with millions of daily consumers, official cases of nicotine poisoning are exceptionally rare. According to a recent study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), it is highly unlikely that lung disease can be directly linked to vape devices and e-cigarettes that meet the legal trading standards. This has instead been attributed to the now heavily restricted vitamin E acetate.
There is a common misconception that e-cigarette users have the potential to overdose on nicotine. However, nicotine has a short half-life of 2 hours and vapers can also moderate their doses when using e-cigarettes. This gives users ultimate control of their nicotine consumption habits and addresses any risk of over consumption.
Do E-cigarettes Produce Harmful Chemicals?
While passive smoking triggered by traditional tobacco cigarettes results in approximately 600,000 annual global deaths, studies indicate that vape devices and e-cigarettes do not pose 'passive smoking' risks to bystanders and non-vapers.
When vapers use high-quality hardware and e-liquids from authorized and reputable brands, there is a significant reduction in the number of harmful chemicals released. Even in the event that e-liquid is overheating, users are made aware by a sharp, unpleasant taste that follows.
Additionally, users have the ability to adjust their chemical production, with an ideal blend of e-liquids, vaping habits, and device settings leading to a drop in e-cigarette emissions and potency.
Do Vape Devices Have the Potential to Explode?
While you may have heard that e-cigarettes and vape devices can explode and cause severe injury to users, it's typically external factors that trigger a malfunction. The fact of the matter is that your smartphone is more likely to explode than your vape device. Even so, the actions of the user are what ultimately the biggest factor in the fate of an e-cigarette.
Although the idea of your healthier nicotine delivery system going up in flames is terrifying, it's also incredibly unlikely. Of the estimated 41 million+ vape devices to be manufactured, a mere 316 have allegedly exploded.
The exact causes of these incidents are not confirmed, but the reported incidents unfolded as follows:
- 82 of the reported e-cigarette explosions occurred during use.
- 92 of the reported e-cigarette explosions happened during charging.
- 67 of the reported e-cigarette explosions were caused by spare batteries for mods.
- 75 of the reported e-cigarette explosions were the result of improper transportation, storage or mysterious circumstances.
Even something that’s seemingly as small as using the wrong charger can have serious consequences for e-cigarettes or any electrical device for that matter. That is why many issues are often put down to basic human error.
Is Vaping Cheaper Than Smoking?
Although the initial costs when making the switch to vaping may be more expensive than your weekly smoking expenditure, this is only due to the need to purchase a new e-cigarette kit, e-liquid, and/or any vaping accessories.
There are some ongoing costs associated with vaping. For instance, buying new e-liquid. However, these costs pale in comparison to the price of a consistent smoking habit.
There are several factors to consider when estimating the cost of vaping. Some of these are featured below.
E-cigarette Starter Kits
A typical e-cigarette starter kit can cost as little as $19.99. It typically features everything users need to get started including pre filled e-liquid pods, a new device, and the charger. The MYLE STARTER KIT (insert link) is a good example. Not only does it boast an affordable price tag, but it also uses prefilled e-liquid pods that make changing your flavour a straightforward process.
When it comes to e-liquid, the most convenient way to store and vape it is through factory pre-filled nicotine pods. The cost depends entirely on your own vaping habits and nicotine dependence. Pre-filled nicotine pods are available in a selection of flavours and strengths. If a vaper uses e-liquid with a higher nicotine concentration, they will typically vape less and ultimately reduce spending.
Vape Coils - The Pod Vaping Advantage
When vaping with pre-filled nicotine e-liquid pods, you never need to worry about changing or replacing coils. Once all the e-liquid in the pod has been consumed, the pod can be disposed of responsibly.
Rechargeable batteries have a charging cycle and can also be subject to replacement as a result. In essence, this refers to the number of times it can be recharged and depleted before it should be replaced.
Charging cycles dictate that e-cigarette batteries should be replaced every 12 – 18 months.
The Cost of Vaping vs The Cost of Smoking
With Australia's cigarette prices being some of the highest in the world and the country's tobacco tax set to rise at a rate of 12.5% every year, a pack-a-day smoker is facing a $10,580 cigarette bill every year.
The cost of vaping depends on hardware and daily vaping behaviour. Some of the average costs for the purchase of devices and nicotine e-liquid are listed below.
- Vaping devices: Most vapers use a basic tank system or simple pod device. This can cost anywhere from $35-$50.
- Nicotine e-liquid: E-liquid can be purchased as replaceable pods or refillable bottles, which comes with different price tags. Refillable bottles can cost upwards of $20 per 30ml and replaceable pods cost $5-$10 for 200-300 puffs per pod.
Overall, the total cost of vaping can cost approximately $1,150 per year. This means that smokers who switch to vape devices can save as much as $9,500 annually.
Are E-cigarettes an Effective Cessation Method?
Countless people around the world are using vape devices as a means of kicking their smoking habit.
Vaping can help smokers satisfy their cravings by providing access to their much-needed nicotine in a safer format. To achieve the best results, vapers should ensure they're using the ideal nicotine strength for their needs and only use their device as much as they have to.
During a groundbreaking 2019 clinical trial funded by the NIHR (National Institute for Health Research), it was revealed that e-cigarettes were twice as effective as a smoking cessation method when paired with face-to-face support when compared to patches, gums or sprays.
Additionally, it was noted that vape devices and e-cigarettes superseded other NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy) products as the ultimate recovery method for ex-smokers.
Furthermore, people who consistently vape will see greater benefits because long-term use reportedly leads to a higher quitting rate. This is cemented by the fact that daily e-cigarette users are up to 8 times more likely to quit than non-vape users.
Can You Use E-cigarettes in Public?
Much like cigarettes, the use of vape devices is largely restricted when it comes to Australia's public spaces. Anywhere that has been listed as a 'smoke-free' zone should also be considered a non-vaping area. Some of the areas where vaping is prohibited are highlighted below.
- All indoor public spaces
- Within a 10 metre radius of children's play areas
- Public indoor and outdoor swimming pools
- Spectator areas at sports grounds or other recreational areas
- Public transport stops and platforms, including taxi-ranks
- Within 4 metres of a pedestrian access point to a public building
- Outdoor dining areas
While cigarettes are restricted in public spaces due to the dangerous fumes they expel, vape devices don’t release the same carcinogens. Instead, the use of e-cigarettes has been limited for social reasons, the most prevalent of which is to stop young people from being around vapers and inadvertently picking up the habit.
The Health Benefits of Vaping
Vaping also comes with a catalogue of health benefits in addition to its many other advantages. With the public closely watching to see what the verdict is on the effects of e-cigarettes, numerous government-funded studies have been focused on carefully analysing the subject.
According to a systematic review of electronic cigarettes and tobacco cigarette substitutes, vape devices offer a revolutionary opportunity to save countless lives and dramatically limit the impact of smoking-related diseases.
The most prevalent health benefit of switching to e-cigarettes was uncovered by Public Health England, who discovered that vaping is 95% safer than smoking. The study was conducted by several recognised academics, including Professor Anne McNeil and Professor Peter Hajek. It led to a big shift in the scientific community’s outlook on the act of vaping.
Additionally, e-cigarettes have been observed helping ex-smokers with asthma reduce or eliminate their cigarette consumption, which ultimately minimised their asthma-related symptoms.
What’s more, the Annual Review of Public Health maintains that the replacement of cigarettes with vape devices over the course of 10 years can result in up to 6.6 million fewer deaths (86.7 million fewer collective years lost).
The Impact of Vaping and Cigarettes on the Environment
The benefits of vaping in terms of health and financial savings are fairly well documented. A lesser known fact relates to the environmental benefits that vaping also delivers.
Unsurprisingly, traditional cigarettes are the most littered item worldwide, with an estimated 4.5 trillion cigarette butts being dropped by smokers each year. Such waste is extremely harmful to the environment, and the growth of vaping plays a role in lessening that.
The fact that most of the components that make up a vape device can also be recycled or, at the very least, safely discarded helps. For example, e-cigarette batteries can be disposed of in a regular battery recycling bin.
Additionally, international tobacco farming has wiped out a large portion of the rainforest, and also boosted dangerous emissions. The same can’t be said for the manufacturing process of vape devices.
So, is Vaping Better Than Smoking?
Vaping undoubtedly delivers a range of benefits to users. Not only is it more economical, it provides a greener nicotine delivery system, protects non-vapers from second-hand smoke, brings numerous health-related benefits and offers the most effective cessation method for smokers who want to quit tobacco cigarettes for good.
When you factor in the scientific findings from credible bodies such Public Health of England and the growing acceptance of e-cigarettes within medical communities, it’s easy to see why vaping is now widely considered to be a far better choice than smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes.