Smoking tobacco affects every organ of the body and results in serious health, economic and social consequences not only for the smoker but also for his family, friends and the entire community.
Around £2 billion annually is expended by the National Health Service of UK for treating diseases caused due to smoking.
The Government of United States expects a fearful 8 billion deaths per annum in 2030, that will be caused due to smoking.
Vaping or e-cigarettes have gained momentum over the last few decades, with the industry witnessing a consistent growth and is projected to scale up to $ 5 billion in 2017.
The smoking community has finally found a safer and healthier way to quit smoking, than never before.
What is Vaping?
Vaping is the process of inhaling and exhaling of e-liquids made of vegetable glycerine or propylene glycol and other additives like water and food grade flavours, heated by means of a battery-powered atomizer.
The resulting vapour is inhaled by the user, that provides a sensation akin to traditional smoking, with obviously lesser hazards and side effects.
For the die-hard addicts to smoking, vaping is a boon that can stem the harmful hazards of smoking.
Nothing comes without a catch and there are shortcomings involved with vaping as well.
But the potential advantages outweigh the shortfalls and vaping is gaining recognition as a safer and more welcome diversion from smoking of traditional tobacco-stuffed cigarettes.
Vaping is less hazardous than smoking
When compared and contrasted, vaping certainly scores high over smoking. More and more smokaholics are switching over to vaping, which is creating conspicuous results in terms of reduced smoking-related deaths and number of smokers. An overview of health advantages of vaping over smoking will include:
- On the lungs, vaping is less disastrous than the smoke that is inhaled when smoking. The release of carcinogens and other harmful particles caused due to smoking can take their toll on these vital respiratory organs, even leading to fatal ailments such as cancer. With vaping, the lungs are insulated from the deadly tobacco vapours that are combusted.
- The potential health advantage held by vaping over smoking is that of quality and types of ingredients used. Vaping uses e-liquids that are mostly formed from chemicals like propylene glycol, glycerine that is naturally vegetable-based and nicotine, whereas innumerable harmful chemicals including Cadmium, Formaldehyde and DDT go into the making of cigarettes.
- The fact that the most e-liquids used in vaping are produced in quality-enhanced sterile environments, a proportion which is far better than in the traditional cigarette industry.
- Vaping helps in reducing the high levels of blood pressure caused due to smoking, thereby leading to enhanced cardio-vascular health.
- The harmful effects of tobacco smoke inflicted on breathing and blood circulation are avoided, when one vapes.
- While smoking threatens to nullify the sensory faculties of taste and smell, vaping pulls these negative effects to a stop.
- Smokers who have decided to call it quits, are encountered with health issues like weight gain. Vaping is the ideal alternative which halts such indiscriminate weight gains resulting from cessation of smoking.
- When it comes to oral health, smoking casts its network of side effects such as plaque deposits, bad breath besides staining and discolouration of teeth, while those who opt to vape are saved from these evils.
E-cigarettes are more aesthetic and eco-friendly
When compared to traditional cigarettes, e-cigs are visually appealing and do not pollute the bio-system.
- Sleek and trendy designs are being evolved that improve the image of the user than that of the sorry picture of the traditional smoker. In public places, it is more amenable to stand vaping when compared to smoking which causes its tobacco filled vapours invade restaurants, office meetings or while commuting on public transport.
- The odour emanating from smoking lingers even hours after use. Everything smells of tobacco, including your hands, hair, clothes, furniture and car. This can lead to disapproval in social circles and might increase chances of passive smoking. All these evils are ruled out when one switches to vaping.
- Vaping has put an end to the era of ash trays that display deplorable cigarette stubs, remnants and ash that can pollute the environment. Results have been proven by using tobacco smoke and vapours from e-cigs on white surfaces. With the former turning the white surfaces yellow, the latter does not create such ill-effects.
- The risk of fire from open flame used to light cigarettes and from cigarette stubs carelessly strewn in open can lead to major fire accidents, vaping is safe.
- In the case of smoking, people need to finish a full cigarette even if they wish to satisfy a small amount of nicotine craving. Whereas in case of vaping, it is possible to take minimum number of puffs as per need. This paves way for both personal and environmental health.
Vaping is more enjoyable than smoking
There is more variety in vaping in terms of flavours offered. Interesting flavours such as berries, fruits, ice-creams, milkshakes, cakes, cookies, to mention a few, wield the following advantages over normal cigarettes:
- The technique of introducing variety in flavours arouses healthy interest in users. Usage over time distances them from the taste and smell of tobacco, aiding in the process of abstinence from smoking.
- Flavours make vaping a pleasurable and enjoyable experience.
- Flavours are eye-openers to addicts who have so far believed that nothing tastes better than tobacco.
- There are mild tobacco flavours that are also available so that for those who crave for tobacco can inhale vapours, where the mix and proportion of tobacco is kept at a healthy low.
Nicotine adjustment is possible in Vaping
Critics of e-cigarettes argue that vaping is no better when compared to cigarettes since it contains nicotine. The welcome fact is that nicotine content is adjustable in vaping as under:
- It is possible to choose a flavour with lesser amount of nicotine, according to the needs of user.
- By choosing a low to zero nicotine strength e-liquid in comparison with high strengths, nicotine addiction can be toned down gradually.
- Many users have started off at high nicotine levels (12 mgs and above per day) and have found that prolonged use of exclusive vaping have motivated them to cut down on their craving for nicotine.
- Most often, those who wish to quit smoking are engulfed with the fear of withdrawal symptoms and the impacts they may have on physical and mental health. Vaping with adjustable nicotine strengths comes as a panacea for this.
This is why vaping is considered a very effective form of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT).
Cost benefit analysis of vaping and smoking
Vaping, from the perspective of cost-effectiveness, is a far better option when compared to smoking.
Even the technologically advanced high end e-cigarette will prove cheaper than a month’s supply of cigarettes (in the case of moderate to heavy smokers).
Clearly, the cost advantage is in favour of vaping.
- Good e-cigarettes last up to 300 cycles and more. The costs involved include costs of accessories, coils, battery replacement etc.
- Tank batteries come with enhanced battery life that can last 900-1000 puffs.
- The cost of quality cigarettes, even within the United States varies widely from state to state. While cigarettes cost high in states like Illinois and Massachusetts, they cost comparatively less in states like Virginia and Wyoming.
- The amount invested in e-liquids and other vaping accessories represent tangible savings. This can be a motivational point for those who are on the verge of quitting smoking.
- The amount so saved can be used productively so that managing expenses of self and family becomes lots easier. Strained relationships get mended and parents get to spend more of their children, resulting in happy family life.
The downside of vaping
As with any other transition phenomenon, the shift from smoking to vaping is not without misgivings.
First and foremost, vaping is relatively new and hence the long-term pros and cons cannot be ascertained on a concrete basis.
Following are some of the possible negative effects vaping opponents put forth:
- Since e-liquids contain nicotine, vaping has the risk of people of getting addicted. But this is not entirely true, since zero-nicotine vaping is possible.
- The array of flavours used in vaping are meant to tingle the interests of youth and this leads to teenagers and pre-teens getting enticed to vaping. This accusation has been staunchly refuted by research where experts have established that there is no objective connect linking teenagers and flavours used. Adults take an equal liking to various flavours and they are not meant to target youngsters alone.
- Formaldehyde is the dreaded chemicals that is supposed to form when e-liquids are heated at high temperatures. Formaldehyde has devastating effects on human health. Nevertheless, the arguments in favour of vaping state that this formation occurs only at very high temperatures which is not normally carried out in vaping.
- Similar to chain smoking, chain vaping is dangerous, especially in the surroundings of vape shops . Once again, the mistake here lies not with vaping in itself, but with the ability to give into high-level nicotine cravings. By simply stepping out of the nicotine-coated environment, one can escape the health hazards.
- There are cases where people have allegedly reported blackening of lips and tongues due to prolonged exposure to vaping. But this is all about sensible using of e-cigarettes. If proper instructions are followed, and most importantly, if the mouth pieces are maintained hygienically, none of these side effects will surface.
- The side effects of allergy, nausea and discomfort associated with vaping, are more to do with the flavours and additives which may cause such problems even if used in any other product. By choosing the right flavour, one can vape safe.
- There are issues of dryness and itchiness of skin and mouth that have been found when vaping. These are the visible symptoms of reduced water content in the body and can be warded off by consuming adequate amount of fluids.
There is a lot of pre-planned negative publicity doing their rounds on digital and print media with regards to vaping.
Vaping is accused of forcing people to resort to unhealthy practises. But none of these tall claims have been scientifically proved.
Can Vaping Substitute Abstinence from Smoking?
The answer is no. Nothing can be better than calling it quits to smoking. Vaping is unhealthy too. There is no denial about it.
However, it has comparatively lesser disadvantages when compared to smoking. An evaluation of vaping and smoking will reveal the following ground realities:
- Vaping is not good, but certainly is not as bad as smoking.
- Hard core smokers find it easier to switch to vaping instead of stopping tobacco abruptly. While the former can be a pleasurable experience, the latter can be very difficult for seasoned smokers who run the risks of developing withdrawal symptoms such as depression, weight gain and much more, should they attempt to stop smoking overnight.
- Over time, people have been able to reduce their nicotine cravings successfully and have never felt the desire to get back to smoking.
- Giving up on vaping has been found to be easier than giving up smoking. This is because, smoking is a strong addiction, while vaping is an indulgence that can be stopped at will. In many cases, it has been found that people vape without losing self-control and can very well stop if they want to.
- Vaping re-introduces the dead taste buds to something new and different from the burnt taste and odour of cigarettes. People who have taken up vaping will realize how unpleasant it is to have smoked tobacco and will never resort to smoking again. This way, vaping helps people to quit smoking, for life.
The vaping industry is flourishing and holds the key to creating a smoke-free environment.
Being an emerging industry, criticism and myths are unavoidable, for which only time and scientific research hold the solution.
It can be concluded that people are right when they choose vaping over smoking, since vaping is obviously the lesser evil.