Benefits of Vaping

By Dr. Annie Macpherson
Updated: 2019-09-19

What are the Differences Between Vaping and Smoking?

Vaping and smoking have very different effects on your health. Asides from delivering the all-important nicotine fix, and looking similar when exhaled, vaping and smoking are very different habits.

When you smoke tobacco, the combustion reaction causes you to inhale smoke composed of a resin-like substance known as tar, containing carcinogenic substances that stick to the inside of your lungs. Tobacco smoke also contains carbon monoxide, a toxic gas that binds to your red blood cells and prevents them from effectively carrying oxygen.

Simply put, we know that smoking has terrible effects on your health. Over twenty components found in tobacco smoke have been associated with cancer, heart disease and lung diseases such as COPD [3]. Smoking will cause 15% of all cancers in the UK [4], and studies have shown that 20-30% of smokers will develop COPD symptoms [5].

There is a lot of research published on the damaging effects of smoking. Time has demonstrated a clear correlation between increased global uptake of smoking in the early 20th century, and lung cancer incidence skyrocketing roughly twenty years later. It’s estimated that around 67% of smokers will die early, from a smoking-related disease [6].

The primary addictive substance found in tobacco, nicotine, is not itself associated with these diseases – this means that you will most likely experience considerable health benefits if you vape with nicotine to stop smoking. When you vape, there is no smoke, no combustion, only vapour from your chosen e-liquid.

What are the Advantages of Vaping?

Different types of e-cigarette

Different types of e-cigarette. Vaping is far less harmful to your health than smoking.

Let’s take a look at the advantages of vaping. As we mentioned before, this is quite a context specific subject, so we’ll look at the different circumstances that might affect the advantages you experience if you choose to vape.

– Smokers
Smokers that are looking to quit tobacco are one of the groups that will experience the most advantages of vaping.

The biggest advantage of vaping, if you are a smoker, is the effect that it will have on your health. Debatably, the most important health benefit you will gain from vaping is simply allowing your body to thrive in the absence of tobacco smoke. Vaping gently reduces the symptoms of your nicotine withdrawal, helping you along the way to successfully making one of the biggest positive changes to your life possible – quitting tobacco. If you vape instead of smoking, your risk of cancer, heart disease and lung disease decreases immediately, and then will slowly return to a level equivalent to a non-smoker.

Health benefits aside, vaping is also cheaper than smoking (if you keep things simple), and there is no nasty smell to linger and stick to your clothes like tobacco smoke. There’s also a huge amount of flavours and devices available, meaning you can truly tailor your vaping experience to your needs and preferences, whilst reducing your tobacco and nicotine dependence at the same time.

With the exception of nicotine salt-based e-liquids, standard e-cigarettes also appear to be less addictive than smoking. This is due to the way our body processes nicotine from vaping differently to how it breaks down the nicotine in tobacco. You can expect vaping to be satisfying enough to help you stop smoking, but you should also find it easier to taper off nicotine when you vape.

– Smokers with Current Health Issues
Smokers and non-smokers alike will experience issues with their health at certain times in their lives. Whether it’s the common cold or flu, a tooth extraction, or something more serious like cancer, lung or heart diseases, studies show that smoking will extend your recovery time, and often make your sickness worse [1, 7, 8, 9, 10].

Because of this, smokers that have existing health issues generally experience dramatic improvement in their general symptoms when they quit smoking with the help of an e-cigarette.

– Non-Smokers
Non-smokers can also experience some benefits of vaping. Vaping can be stress relieving, and most of all, fun! There are so many flavours and combinations to experience and choose from, and a huge active social scene exists around vape culture online and within communities worldwide.

Just remember, as a non-smoker, it’s always best to choose nicotine-free e-liquids. Most reputable e-cigarette brands will sell nicotine-free versions of all of their standard and premium e-liquid flavours. If you vape with nicotine as a non-smoker, you may find yourself developing a highly addictive habit.

Conclusion

The advantages of vaping are huge, particularly if you vape to quit smoking. You can expect health issues caused by smoking to slowly disappear, and at the same time, you can regain control of your addiction to nicotine in a more healthy way.

Although the long-term effects of vaping are still uncertain, experts believe vaping is far less harmful than smoking, with only limited and short term effects on your health [11]. With so many choices, and so much advice available within vaping community forums, there’s never been a better time to switch.

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Sources

1. Polosa R, Morjaria JB, Caponnetto P, et al. Evidence for harm reduction in COPD smokers who switch to electronic cigarettes. Respir Res. 2016;17(1):166.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27986085

2. Brian A. Primack, Ariel Shensa, Jaime E. Sidani, Beth L. Hoffman, Samir Soneji, James D. Sargent, Robert Hoffman, Michael J. Fine. Initiation of Traditional Cigarette Smoking after Electronic Cigarette Use among Tobacco-Naïve U.S. Young Adults. The American Journal of Medicine, 2017
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171211090733.htm

3. Cancer.org – health risks associated with smoking tobacco. [accessed 18/10/2018]
https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/tobacco-and-cancer/health-risks-of-smoking-tobacco.html?_ga=2.185122477.545438922.1539856979-53956969.1539856979

4. Brown KF, Rumgay H, Dunlop C, et al. The fraction of cancer attributable to known risk factors in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the UK overall in 2015. British Journal of Cancer 2018. [accessed 18/10/2018]

5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Among Adults—United States, 2011. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2012;61(46):938–43 [accessed 2018 October 18]
https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6146a2.html

6. Banks, Emily, et al. “Tobacco smoking and all-cause mortality in a large Australian cohort study: findings from a mature epidemic with current low smoking prevalence.” BMC medicine 13.1 (2015): 38.
https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12916-015-0281-z

7. Kang, Min-Jong, et al. “Cigarette smoke selectively enhances viral PAMP–and virus-induced pulmonary innate immune and remodeling responses in mice.” The Journal of clinical investigation 118.8 (2008): 2771-2784.
https://www.jci.org/articles/view/32709

8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Among Adults—United States, 2011. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2012;61(46):938–43 [accessed 2018 October 18]
https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6146a2.html

9. The American Journal of Medicine. Volume 93, Issue 1, Supplement 1, 15 July 1992, Pages S22-S24. Smoking and wound healing. Paul Silverstein M.D.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1323208

10. Smoking and Your Heart – national heart, lung and blood institute 2018 Statistics [accessed 2018 October 18]
https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/smoking-and-your-heart

11. Public Health England E-cigarettes: an evidence update. A report commissioned by Public Health England [accessed 2018 October 18]
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/733022/Ecigarettes_an_evidence_update_A_report_commissioned_by_Public_Health_England_FINAL.pdf

Dr. Annie Macpherson
Dr. Annie Macpherson

Annie has a PhD in Genome Stability from the University of Sussex. She has first-hand experience in cancer and human disease research. This allows her to provide us with new and unbiased insights into the ongoing research of the public and health effects of vaping. She loves an adventure, and has travelled through South East Asia and Australia working for Vaping Insider.