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Is Vaping Better For You Than Smoking?

7th Dec 2023

XRAY lungs of a man smoking a cigaretteThousands of people search for the answer each month because it’s such an important question. Both e-cigarettes that you vape and cigarettes that you smoke contain nicotine and a bunch of other ingredients that create highly addictive products.

Smoking cigarettes has been around for far longer than vaping (first created in 2003), and from decades of research, it’s clear the risks posed to anyone who lights up a cigarette.

And yet, more than six million still smoke in the UK. Vaping in contrast is something new, at least in terms of research and clear evidential studies to date.

It’s a different kind of addiction, with fruity flavours, varying nicotine levels and much more cloud. With all the different devices and types, including disposable vapes, which face a lot of backlash.

Known as a smoking cessation tool, like other nicotine replacement therapies (nicotine gum, patches and sprays), is vaping better than smoking? Is vaping more of a risk, or can it help adults quit cigarettes for good?

Health Concerns From Both – But Far Less From E-Cigarettes

The UK is one of the few countries worldwide that has taken a positive stance towards vaping. With initiatives like ‘ Swap to Stop’, which is a funded campaign to get people off of smoking by offering one million free vape kits – expected in 2024 – the UK is leading the way.

They see this as one of the key messages the nation can send to adults who want to quit smoking that vaping can help. And why would they do that unless they see it as better than smoking?

At V2 Cigs, we are not medical professionals or claim to be. We can highlight some of the evidence and studies to date from medical experts that compare smoking to vaping.

If you look at stop smoking pages created by the NHS, coverage from Cancer Research UK about the potentially harmful nature of vapes compared to smoking, and a video from the UK Asthma and Lung Foundation highlighting the difference between cigarettes and vaping on the lungs, vaping is advised as an alternative.

Not because it’s great for adults or the youth of today. Simply because smoking is so dangerous for human health, with many potentially harmful substances including carbon monoxide and tar. People need an alternative to wean off of nicotine, which is highly addictive. Vaping can provide that, with less dangerous toxins and no tobacco smoke. 

Misinformation About Vaping vs Smoking

There are tons of myths, media speculation and sensationalist headlines about the negative impact of vaping. This is with the main purpose of keeping cigarettes on the shelf, selling for high profit.

Because electrical devices that heat nicotine e-liquids, turning them into vapour, have only been around for 20 years, naturally there is a curiosity.

Granted, it’s not good to inhale anything into your lungs. But the whole reason vaping was created in the first place was to help smokers quit by having a similar habit available that provides nicotine. In addition, it contains only ingredients such as PG and VG, nicotine (of which you choose the strength), and flavourings. Therefore, the smoker has greater control and knowledge about what they are buying and inhaling.

Does it act as a gateway into smoking for someone who has never touched cigarettes before? Vaping does not cause more people to start smoking.

Before e-cigarettes existed, there was only one gateway to cigarettes. And that was the laws in place that allowed cigarettes to be smoked in public, stocked on supermarket shelves and bought in bulk at airport customs.

vaping could help you quit smoking

Recent changes to the law in the UK are putting a stop to that, such as increasing the buying age for cigarettes each year.

Evidence shows that vaping can pose a minor health risk, with side effects from the nicotine. But substantially less than smoking.

It’s proven that cigarettes have far more harmful chemicals, that can cause up to 70 different types of cancer. E-cigarette ingredients are far clearer and contain much less toxic chemicals.

However, until we know the full picture of what vaping does to the body, people will continue to question whether vaping is better than smoking.

The best option is to do neither, but if you are an adult who already smokes, e-cigarettes can help you quit by removing combustible tobacco and the thousands of other dangerous toxins provided by cigarettes. 

Despite misinformation about e-cigarettes, what we know is:

  • There is very little or no harm from passive vapour.
  • There is no link between vaping and the outbreak of lung injuries, known as EVALI or the full term of ‘e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury’.
  • Vapes are regulated by the MHRA and must follow TPD regulations.
  • Even if you puff more times with a vape than a cigarette, it does not lead to worse health.
  • It’s not the nicotine that kills 8 million worldwide per year from smoking but the thousands of other substances. Therefore, vaping with nicotine is addictive and poses side effects (throat irritation, coughing) but not life-threatening illnesses according to the latest findings.

Conclusion: Is Vaping Better Than Smoking?

The definition of better is describing something that is ‘more desirable, satisfactory, or effective.’ What we can see from vaping is that it is proving to be an effective tool to help people quit smoking.

As an industry, it’s not 100% certified that vaping can prolong life, cure cancer or reverse the effects of adults who have smoked for years.

But it’s important to recognise, as the NHS and countless other organisations, as well as the UK government encourage, that as many people should stop smoking as soon as possible. It’s good for human health, the economy, the NHS, those around you and so many other reasons.

In the past, it was up to nicotine replacement therapies such as gum, patches and sprays to help people quit. Stop smoking services provided by the NHS and counselling also assisted, but never 100% effectively worked for all smokers, as the nature of smoking is highly addictive.

While vaping is not better than smoking, or worse, it is close in habit, providing nicotine through hand-to-mouth action. Some vape devices even look the same.

And most importantly, it contains far less dangerous substances that can impact health. Years of research highlight the dangers of smoking for public health, which is why smoking is banned in public places, and why the government wants the UK to be smoke-free by 2030.