Is Vaping Bad for You?
Let’s be honest. With the recent negative press, damaging lungs, and the ‘vaping deaths’ in the US, one would be forgiven for being concerned with the health risks related to vaping. But before we all start to throw our vape kits and e liquids in the bin. Let’s look carefully and see what really is the truth.
Cigarettes vs Vaping
It’s no secret, smoking cigarettes is bad. In fact, it harms every organ in your body. “Regular tobacco cigarettes contain 7,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic. While we don’t know exactly what chemicals are in e-cigarettes, there’s almost no doubt that they expose you to fewer toxic chemicals than traditional cigarettes” (source: Centre for the Prevention of Heart Disease, John Hopkins University). The 5 main ingredients used to make e-liquid on the other hand are propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, water, nicotine, and flavorings. The number clearly is far less compared to the 7,000 used in making tobacco cigarettes.
Official Point of View
If you look at the advice from ’Public Health England’. They are clear that they wouldn’t encourage someone who has never smoked to start vaping. However, in one of their recent reports, they confirmed that vaping is 95% less harmful compared to smoking cigarettes. In addition, the financial costs for a cigarette smoker can be astronomical, see the post ‘How Much Does Vaping Cost?’ to get an idea of how much money a smoker spends each year compared to a vapor.
In an ideal scenario, I guess those looking to give up smoking cigarettes would just completely stop the habit altogether. However, for some this may not be possible as they still enjoy the experience of inhaling smoke! Here, we’re not taking the moral high ground; each individual can make up their own mind. However, what is important is to be clear that vaping is not the same as smoking. In fact, part of the NHS’ Quit Smoking’ program suggests switching to e-cigarettes as one of the alternatives to smoking. E-cigarettes do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful elements that are present in tobacco smoke.
In trying to give a balanced view, it would be misleading to say vaping is 100% safe. A lot more independent scientific research is needed to assess the long-term effects. However, there is unanimity that vaping is a lot safer than cigarettes. In relation to some of the ‘apparent’ vaping deaths; it has already been confirmed that many of them were off the street products that contained THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). They also failed to comply with FDA guidelines and the ingredients were compromised. That’s why it is always important to buy from reputable companies. At least in the UK e-cig products have a much tighter regulation as government bodies such as the MHRA set out stringent guidelines. The same cannot be said even in other European countries.
For argument sake, even if we concede vaping is harmful and the recent deaths are caused due to that. Still, this is no comparison as the numbers are minuscule compared to the 80,000 deaths per year in the UK from smoking (NHS, England 2019). One in two smokers will die from a smoking-related disease.