Is Vaping Safe?
That's a hard question to answer given the infancy of vaping, but there have been a decent amount of studies done and we'll go over the health risks of vaping and give our input as well.
Public Health England did some research regarding the safety of vaping and electronic cigarettes to see if vaping is safer than smoking.
There have also been other studies funded which say that vaping is not safer and we'll discuss their research as well.
Simple pros & cons of vaping will be discussed as well.
Public Health England Study on Vapes and E Cigs
The study that was published by Public Health England (will be referred to as PHE from hereon) found vaping and e cigs 95% less harmful than smoking. The study by PHE was The key findings of their research were the following:
- Switching from smoking to vaping showed substantial health benefits.
- E-Cigarettes and vapes are contributing to over 20,000 successful people quitting cigarettes every year.
- E-Cigarettes and vaping show improved success rates of people quitting their habits of smoking cigarettes.
- Thousands of people think that vaping is as harmful as smoking; with about 40% of smokers having never tried a cigarette.
- Evidence doesn't support the claims that e-cigarettes and vapes are a gateway to smoking for young people.
Professor John Newton, who is the Director for Health Improvement at PHE was quoted saying
"Our new review reinforces the finding that vaping is a fraction of the risk of smoking, at least 95% less harmful, and of negligible risk to bystanders. Yet over half of smokers either falsely believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking or just don’t know."
Professor Ann McNeil, who is a lead author and professor of Tobacco Addiction at King's College London said the following
"People smoke for the nicotine, but contrary to what the vast majority believe, nicotine causes little if any of the harm. The toxic smoke is the culprit and is the overwhelming cause of all the tobacco-related disease and death. There are now a greater variety of alternative ways of getting nicotine than ever before, including nicotine gum, nasal spray, lozenges and e-cigarettes."
For more information on the PHE Study, you can view the full study on vaping safety conducted by Public Health England.
British Medical Journal Study on Vaping
E-Cigarette Vapor Disables Immune cells in the lungs and boosts Inflammation.
The study showed that vapor impairs the activity of the immune system that is involved in removing dust particles, bacteria and allergens that have evaded the other defenses of the respiratory system.
The researchers concluded that vaping can cause damage to vital immune system cells under laboratory conditions.
This study was conducted in a laboratory and not on human subjects.
The researchers said the following:
“Importantly, exposure of macrophages to [e-cigarette vapour condensate] induced many of the same cellular and functional changes in [alveolar macrophage] function seen in cigarette smokers and patients with COPD,”
macrophages: A type of white blood cell, of the immune system, that engulfs and digests cellular debris, foreign substances, microbes, cancer cells, and anything else that does not have the type of proteins specific to healthy body cells on its surface
Professor David Thickett mentioned:
“In terms of cancer causing molecules in cigarette smoke, as opposed to cigarette vapour, there are certainly reduced numbers of carcinogens. They are safer in terms of cancer risk, but if you vape for 20 or 30 years and this can cause COPD, then that’s something we need to know about." “
I don’t believe e-cigarettes are more harmful than ordinary cigarettes,”
“But we should have a cautious skepticism that they are as safe as we are being led to believe.”
Pros & Cons of Vaping
We'll go over some of the basic pros & cons of vaping.
Pros of Vaping
Comparing vaping to smoking, you won't have the nasty lingering smell with cigarettes. With e-cigs and vapes the smell of the vape juice doesn't linger like it does in cigarettes and frankly doesn't smell bad or offensive to others as cigarette smoke does. Depending on the flavor of vape liquid you have, that's what you will smell like. We've found that the smell doesn't really linger in the clothes so much, but more-so can linger if the liquid leaks in your pants or pockets. Definitely less offensive and potentially pleasant depending on who you are.
Also when vaping indoors, the smell doesn't linger on furniture or drapes like it does with cigarettes. We've found that the smell generally disappears with a cracked window and doesn't stick to the walls or discolor them.
When you're vaping you have plenty of choices! There is a long list of vape juices with many different flavor profiles that will give you the possibility of finding something that works for you. Whether it's a fruity vape juice, a dessert flavored vape juice, menthol or a tobacco vape liquid, you'll have plenty of options to hopefully find something you will like.
When it comes to vape devices, again a plethora of options are available. If you prefer a tight draw with minimal amounts of vapor,or an airy draw with a lot of vapor, you can find something that works great for you.
Cons of Vaping
Dehydration from vaping
If you're vaping often, you will find yourself feeling thirsty. Vaping can cause you to feel dehydrated unless you're drinking enough water and getting enough electrolytes. Make sure that when you're vaping you drink enough water and also have electrolytes to keep your body hydrated. Salt & potassium help when you feel like water is not doing enough for your hydration. For ready made drinks, a sports drink, electrolyte powder, coconut water and the like can help with electrolytes. This usually isn't a problem when vaping unless you're vaping very often throughout the day.
Convenience of vaping
This can be considered a pro or a con, but in terms of health we're going to consider it a con. When most people smoke, they go outside and smoke one or two cigarettes and go back to work or whatever they were doing. When people start vaping, they might be able to vape in their work place or at home and they'll find themselves vaping more frequently than they were smoking. This depends on each person and their habits, but we've found this to be pretty common.
At the end of the day, the research is all over the place and one study might be done in a way which shows that it's safe and another study will come out and say it's not safe. What we can assume is that it's not completely safe and you have to make an educated decision for yourself and decide what is best for you. Many things we go about in our day are not "completely" safe and yet we indulge in them, like the high amounts of sugar in our daily diets. That's a topic for a different blog though!
We don't know the long term(10-20 years) effects of vaping yet conclusively. With the information we've provided and other information available to you, you can make a better decision on the risks/rewards for yourself and your body and decide on what your plans and goals with vaping are.