Vaping vs. Cigarettes: Which is the Lesser of Two Evils?

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How many times have you tried to quit smoking but failed? Well, you’re not alone. Approximately 7 of 10 smokers say they want to stop. Smoking cessation is one of the best things you can do for your health and immune system. Does vaping cause the same harm though? Spoiler alert: they are both bad. However, the advent of vaping devices has put us in the middle of a debate – vaping vs. cigarettes: which one is the lesser of the two evils?

 

Vaping vs. Cigarettes

In recent years, there has been an increase in vaping, particularly among cigarette smokers who want to transition away from smoking. However, another vulnerable group has been targeted by tobacco companies and is now caught up in vape culture – teens and young adults. According to  Michael Blaha, M.D., M.P.H., clinical research director at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease, vaping products are more popular than regular cigarettes product among youth.

 

 

What is Vaping?

Vaping refers to electronic cigarettes that deliver calculated nicotine doses through vapor instead of combustion, like traditional cigarettes. The battery-operated devices come in many forms and can be made to look like conventional cigarettes, USB devices, or even sleek tech gadgets. Users inhale and exhale a vapor-like aerosol created by heating nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals.

The advent of these vaping devices has also put us in the debate of vaping vs. cigarettes; which one is the lesser of two evils? In 2015 the United States surgeon general reported that vaping among high school students had increased by 900%, and 40% of young e-cigarette users had never smoked regular tobacco before.

 

Vaping vs. Cigarettes: What is Less Harmful?

Both smoking and vaping have side effects and health risks, such as lung injuries and increased cancer risk. However, based on the available evidence, vaping appears to be less harmful than smoking. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine,  vaping may be less harmful than smoking cigarettes. A person who smokes inhales about 7,000 chemicals, whereas vaping seems to involve a lower number of chemicals. 

Vaping has been enticing to young people because many teens believe vaping is less harmful than smoking. Second, lower vaping vs. smoking cigarettes cost. Finally, vape cartridges are often formulated with flavorings, such as apple pie and mango, appealing to younger users.

 

Vaping vs. Smoking Cigarettes: Cost

Vaping is considerably cheaper than smoking tobacco cigarettes. The average cost of smoking has been going up for years, and it continues to grow.  Vaping turns out to be around 93% cheaper than smoking 20 cigarettes a day, 88% cheaper than smoking ten cigarettes a day, and 76% cheaper than smoking five cigarettes a day. A pack of cigarettes can cost up to approximately $16 in some states; the cost of vape is generally affordable for a lot of people.

 

What are the Benefits of Vaping vs. Smoking Cigarettes?

Vaping produces enough short-term effects to make it, at best, slightly better than smoking cigarettes. Here are some benefits of vaping vs. smoking cigarettes:

 

1. Is vaping a healthy alternative to smoking cigarettes?

While vaping is still not healthy, or good for you, it is estimated to be ~95% less damaging to your health than smoking cigarettes. E-liquids contain far lesser chemicals than cigarette smoke and don’t stay in the body like tar in the lungs does when you smoke. You can see significant health benefits, including lower blood pressure, easier breathing, improved immune function, and improved lung function when you start using a vape. 

 

2. Is vaping an effective way to help you quit smoking?

Vaping has been found to be effective to help smokers cut down or quit smoking for good. In partnership with the N.H.S. stop smoking service, one study found that among a group of smokers trying to quit smoking, 18% of vape users had stopped smoking tobacco after only one year, compared to only 9.9% of traditional nicotine replacement therapy (N.R.T.) users. The smoking addiction usually just turns into a vaping addiction. 

 

3. Does vaping contain less toxic chemicals?

As there are considerably fewer main ingredients in a vape than a tobacco cigarette, there are also fewer compounds in the inhaled vapor. Most e-liquids only contain four main components, all of which are deemed to be relatively safe to consume.

  • P.G. (propylene glycol) 
  • V.G. (vegetable glycerin) 
  • Nicotine
  • Artificial Flavorings

 

More About Artificial Flavorings

There are very few flavored tobacco products, while there is pretty much no limit to the flavors of e-liquid available. This makes the smoking experience better for both vapers and those around them.

That being said, there is an argument to be made about vape flavorings being a ploy for nicotine companies to target the impressionable minds of the youth, including children. Some nicotine flavors that are allegedly targeting children are:

  • Fruit-Loops
  • Unicorn Tears
  • Gummy Bears
  • Banana Split
  • Smurf Juice

The number of annual deaths from vaping vs. cigarettes is far less. Latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that cigarette smoking kills more than 480,000 per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. 

 

The Verdict

In the debate of Vaping vs. Cigarettes, which is the lesser of the two evils it’s apparent that vaping is less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes. Used the right way, vaping can even be helpful for a person to quit smoking. 

However, the truth is that vaping is also bad for you and still addicting. In the same way that vaping can help people to quit smoking, studies also show that youths who start vaping are more likely to start smoking cigarettes eventually. Nicotine, in all forms, should be avoided. 

If you would like to know more about vaping and other alternatives to quit smoking cigarettes or want to help a loved one quit this addiction, contact Opus Health. At Opus Health, we support adults overcome drug and alcohol addiction. Opus’ staff of therapists, psychologists, nurses, and other professionals are always available to guide you through the process of quitting an addiction. Give us a call at 949-617-1211 and talk to one of our care coordinators now.

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