Like it or not, millions of people around the world use nicotine. Although numbers are dropping, cigarette smoking is one of the most clear and present threats to health all over the world. But more and more smokers are choosing to switch over to electronic cigarettes for their nicotine fix.
Scientists are investigating whether this is a good thing, a bad thing, or something which won’t have an effect, but early indications show that vaping may well be better than smoking.
There are arguments on both sides. But what we want is facts.
So here they are. Vaping vs Smoking. The facts.
Vaping vs Smoking – The Chemistry
While we can’t claim to be experts in chemistry, a quick look at the ingredients which make up a cigarette and those contained in the eliquid which is vapourised and inhaled in an eliquid shows a very stark contrast.
Let’s start with a tobacco cigarette. You’d expect this to be nothing more than dried tobacco leaves wrapped in paper made from wood pulp. You’d be wrong.
Tobacco is treated and processed in a way that means burning it releases 5,000 different chemicals. 70 of these are known to cause cancer. They include carbon monoxide that starves the brain of oxygen, hydrogen cyanide which is a banned chemical weapon, and tar which is better suited to the roads than your lungs.
In comparison, eliquid vapor contains propylene glycol – a non-toxic ingredient which you also find in ice cream, vegetable glycerin – a non-toxic plant byproduct, the sort of flavourings you’d see in many foodstuffs, and of course nicotine.
When it comes to chemistry, vaping wins.
Vaping vs Smoking – The Health Impacts
Let’s be clear. The health impacts of smoking have been documented over centuries. It’s been a hundred years since the link between tobacco use and cancer was first discovered.
Vaping just hasn’t been around long enough to have that kind of in-depth research done. There aren’t any people who’ve vaped since the 60s to study, because vaping is new. So there just isn’t any long-term research.
But there is short term research, and it’s led to comments like this:
“Switching to e-cigarettes can significantly reduce harm to smokers, with greatly reduced exposure to carcinogens and toxins.” – Public Health England
It might be decades before we know for sure, but as it stands, experts believe that vaping has a far lower impact on health than smoking does.
Vaping vs Smoking – The Cost Implications
OK. The first two points here were literally life and death. This one is more of a quality of life issue.
Smoking is expensive. Vaping can be expensive, but it can be very affordable indeed. We did the maths, based on the price of a packet of one of the UK’s most popular cigarettes, and on an eliquid manufacturer who sells products in UK high street stores.
Here’s what we found.
Vaping can save you serious amounts of money.
If you smoke 10 cigarettes per day, that amounts to around £40 per week.
A week’s supply of eliquid can cost as little as £2-3. Even if you buy a new egicarette for £20 every single week, which you won’t, you’d save a lot of money.
And that’s the hat-trick.
When it comes to chemistry, when it comes to the health impacts, when it comes to costs – vaping vs smoking isn’t even up for debate.
The facts are that vaping wins. Hands down.