Not all smokers who completely switched to vaping did so because they wanted to quit their nicotine habit completely. Many of these ex-smokers believed that vaping is a less harmful alternative means of inhaling nicotine when compared to smoking. That belief was strongly supported by the following key findings of the Public Health England study, which was published on August 2015:
the current best estimate is that e-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than smoking
nearly half the population (44.8%) don’t realise e-cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking
there is no evidence so far that e-cigarettes are acting as a route into smoking for children or non-smokers
Despite a host of research studies that identified the physical and psychological benefits of using e-cigarettes and vaping, almost 50% of the general population in the U.K. still thinks that vaping or using an e-cigarette is more dangerous to one’s health than smoking.
Anti-vaping groups perpetuate this kind of ignorance through fear-mongering and by spreading false information about electronic cigarettes and vaping. Nearly half of the U.K. population were totally convinced of the lies that these people have been peddling through mainstream media. One of those lies preposterously equates vapor with smoke, and by association, considers vaping either as dangerous as or probably more harmful than smoking.
Steam or Vapor vs. Smoke
The vapors of flavored e-juices are nothing more than steam, which is the end-result of vaporization. Steam is just water, and so is vapor, which is mostly composed of moisture and generally safe to inhale. Moisture-rich vapor or steam inhalation also maintains the slippery warmth and moistness of the inner linings of the nose, throat and lungs.
Flavorings and other e-juice ingredients are common causes of skin irritation, allergies, teary eyes, dry and sore throat, and a runny nose, among others. Some people are sensitive to propylene glycol, which is a common ingredient in fog machines and medical inhalation devices. Vaping an e-juice that has more vegetable glycerin (VG) than propylene glycol (PG) in the solution minimizes the allergen’s histamine activity. What’s more, PG and VG are volatile carrier-solvents that react quickly to heat and evaporate as soon as the e-juice turns to vapor.
Steam and smoke may seem similar at first glance because they look the same. However, steam is always produced from water being heated, while smoke is a by-product of combustion. Steam will automatically condense if the temperature were to drop, while smoke will not condense but rather dissipate into the air. Steam is not dangerous to inhale, while smoke is dangerous to inhale and can cause damage to lungs.
On one hand, smoke is the gaseous by-product of combustion, which releases carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and various carbon particles into the air and leaves behind incompletely burned materials as ashes. Inhaling the smoke created by burning tobacco delivers nicotine as well as thousands of unwanted toxins to the lungs of a cigarette user. Tobacco smoke leaves behind black tar in the lungs and causes emphysema and congestion in the chest. Basically, smokers are slowly killing themselves by exposing their bodies to cancer-causing toxins and allowing the accumulation of tar, hardened mucus, and foreign objects in their lungs.
Vaporization vs. Combustion
Both vaporization and combustion requires a source of intense heat. The latter, however, gets that heat from fire while the former gets it from a strong electrical current coursing through conductive coils of wire. When fire burns something, it produces ash, carbon-based gases, and lots of carbon compounds, which are unhealthy for humans to inhale. In contrast, when e-juice is vaporized it produces only moisture and some residue of flavorings used in making the liquid.
Vaping vs. Smoking
Smoking makes use of combustion to synthesize the nicotine and other related chemicals from the burning bits of dried tobacco, and allow them to be carried over by smoke. Vaping, on one hand, makes use of vaporization to convert tobacco-derived nicotine in flavored e-liquids into inhalable steam or vapor that retains all the nicotine and combined flavors of the juice.
Between burning bits of dried tobacco and vaporizing a small amount of e-juice, the latter choice wins hands down in the health and safety department. Save for an insignificant presence of certain tobacco-specific compounds that are chemical by-products of nicotine being synthesized during vaporization, the rising steam of flavored e-liquid from a vaping device has none of the harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke.
Secondhand Smoke vs. Secondhand Vapor
Did you know that the smoke blowing from your wood stove or your charcoal grill where you’re cooking several pieces of red meat is as harmful as secondhand tobacco smoke? Years of research have shown that people who had long-term secondary and tertiary exposures to cigarette smoke were also vulnerable to developing respiratory problems and related cancers.
While the threats to public health of secondhand smoke inhalation are present and real, the health risks from constant exposure to secondhand vapor remain hypothetical for now.
In 2011, Utah Vapers collaborated with FlavourArt from Milan, Italy on the Clearstream Air Project, a comparative evaluation between tobacco and electronic cigarettes. Their study focused on the release of airborne contaminants in a closed room environment to determine if there are any contaminants from the exhaled smoke and vapor, and if so, at what levels.
Essentially, the study proved that second hand vapor contains no harmful chemicals and no nicotine. Here were the key findings of the study:
1) This means that the human lung absorbs most if not all of the nicotine which has long been questioned within the global electronic cigarette community; and
2) This also means no nicotine was detected in the ‘second-hand vapor.’
All other substances measured for electronic cigarettes were FAR below allowable levels for human inhalation according to the FDA. In fact, the levels were so low that it proves it is more hazardous to your health to breath the air in any major downtown metropolitan city during heightened times of driving.
Reuters also reported that, according to a new study, people standing or sitting nearby a person who’s vaping would be exposed to nicotine, but not to thousands of toxic compounds found in tobacco smoke. The article quoted one of the study’s co-authors, Maciej Goniewicz:
“The exposure to nicotine is lower when compared to exposure from tobacco smoke. And we also know that nicotine is relatively safer when compared to other dangerous toxicants in tobacco smoke,” Goniewicz said.
E-cigarettes also produced some particulate matter, but regular cigarettes produced about seven times more. E-cigarettes didn’t change the amount of carbon monoxide or other gases in the air.
Exhaled vapor, however, isn’t as dangerous and disgusting as secondhand cigarette smoke. Because it’s mostly moisture, it dissipates into the air quickly and leaves only the pleasant aroma of the e-juice flavor, which may be coffee, fruits or dessert.
Read More Articles About Vaping vs. Smoking:
What are the differences between vaping an e-juice and smoking a tobacco cigarette? by Impressions Group via Boulder Vapor House
What Recent Studies Are Uncovering About Vaping vs. Smoking by Vapefuse via Vape Fuse Blog
Breaking Down Smoking vs. Vaping by Jerry Whitehead III via Vapor-News.com
Vape Vs Smoke – Does It Make A Difference? by Matt McConnell via Electronic Cigarette Consumer Reviews