Vaping continues to rise in demand as a way to replicate nicotine inhalation for those looking to give up smoking. Despite medical professionals stating vaping is much less harmful than cigarettes, they still divide opinions. In fact, some believe e-cigarettes without nicotine can be just as dangerous. If you decide to vape without nicotine, would that be safe?
Regardless of whether you include nicotine, which derives from a tobacco plant, or vape nicotine-free, both need to be approached with caution. Even though medical research has shown to date that vaping does not have the thousands of dangerous toxins found in cigarettes, the risk remains with e-cigarettes too. This is because we’re yet to see any long-term studies which highlight the impact of e-liquid ingredients when heated and then inhaled as vapour.
Are Non-Nicotine Vapes Addictive?
The simple answer would be no because nicotine is the familiar addictive substance in the list of e-liquid ingredients that causes addiction. However, based on what we see from vapers (and even some who vape and did not smoke previously) is how vaping has become a cultural trend, particularly among teenagers who get access to vapes illegally.
All of the different fruit flavours with sweeteners added are another side of addiction. Lots of people gain weight through eating addictive junk food such as chocolate, cakes or sweets. With thousands of flavours to pick from you’re spoiled for choice, which leads to another type of addiction. This is not a bad thing for vapers who are fed up with the tasteless experience they get from tobacco cigarettes. It’s just something else to consider. You are less likely to be addicted to vaping e-cigarettes without nicotine, and you’ll certainly be less addicted to vaping than smoking (which still contains roughly one spoonful of sugar per cigarette).
Nicotine is a highly addictive substance. If you stop using it suddenly, this can lead to withdrawal symptoms and even increased food cravings. Because a cigarette has roughly one spoonful of sugar per stick, it’s going to be difficult to replace them instantly. As vaping contains substances used for food production like vegetable glycerine, which is naturally sweet, you can satisfy cravings while not feeling as addicted by gradually removing nicotine.
What Does a Nicotine-Free Vape Consist of?
Without nicotine, an e-liquid from a respectable manufacturer should only contain a few key ingredients which are listed on the bottle label. Predominantly, vape juice without nicotine consists of Vegetable Glycerine, Propylene Glycol (both used in common food and chemical products), water, sweeteners and flavourings. An e-liquid without nicotine will not give you the rush or throat hit associated with the chemical compound which is found in traditional e-liquids and cigarettes. The sensation will be different and may not feel like it does anything familiar to a former smoker.
Is There a Need to Vape Without Nicotine?
Despite over four million vaping in the UK, there is only one purpose for e-cigarettes that makes sense (
and it’s not to lose weight). You should not be inhaling with or without nicotine unless you’re using the method to combat your smoking habit. Is it risk-free? Definitely not - anytime you inhale something into your lungs it carries a danger, especially when there are very limited conclusive studies that say vaping poses no risk whatsoever. The likes of the NHS, Cancer Research and the British Heart Foundation back up this claim by saying vaping is not completely risk-free but still advised as an alternative to smoking.
If you have the urge to do one or the other, there are much fewer dangerous toxins in an e-liquid than in a cigarette. Because cigarettes have been around for decades and there have been multiple studies on the risks associated with the nicotine habit, there is more research out there to back up the threat smoking poses to your health. However, because vaping is a relatively new cessation tool which was created as an alternative to smoking and other nicotine replacement therapies such as nicotine gum or nicotine patches, long-term research is lacking.
Partial studies indicate vaping without nicotine could cause minor inflammation to your immune system. Other potential side effects for nicotine-free vaping include:
- Mouth irritation
- Toxic damage to cells
- Increased blood pressure (more so with nicotine)
Meanwhile, studies highlight vaping with nicotine potentially creates reproduction issues or respiratory issues with the lungs. Factor in psychologically how nicotine
affects the brain and vaping could become a concern. However, with limited research on the subject, the question remains how valid these claims are currently. Bear in mind most clinical research relates to nicotine consumption alongside tobacco, which is only in cigarettes.
For cigarette users, whether casual or chain smokers, there is nothing better you can do for your short-term and long-term health than to stop. Within 30 days, the results are clear, making you wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. The heart is just one organ that improves very quickly. Studies from the British Heart Foundation suggest ‘vaping may be less harmful to your blood vessels than smoking cigarettes’.
Ready to Cut Out Nicotine?
It's a great move to become nicotine free when the time is right. However, the first thing to check is what strength of nicotine you are using at the moment. The best e-cigarette websites have a range of e-liquids with bold flavours and different levels of nicotine. How many cigarettes you consume daily will be an indicator of the nicotine level you require. If the desired end goal is to cut the nicotine out of your life, whether with vaping, cigarettes or a combination of both, you must do so gradually, because:
- Quitting smoking by going cold turkey is a bad choice. With such a desire for cigarettes, mainly due to the addiction from inhaling nicotine regularly, it’s advised not to give it up without a plan in place.
- If you manage to curb your nicotine addiction and wean off the process, you have more control regarding how much you vape and when. Chances are if it’s not, you’ll be tempted to switch back to smoking. Doing so slowly ensures you don't associate nicotine with a feeling of pleasure.
- You wouldn't want to increase the chances of symptoms such as anxiety or stress related to removing nicotine too suddenly.
For a more detailed explanation and advice on how to successfully reduce your nicotine levels to become nicotine free, read our helpful guide.
A logical approach is key. If you have never vaped before and also never picked up and used a cigarette, don’t try either now or ever. Both carry risks for different reasons. With cigarettes, we know that they contain over 5000 different dangerous toxins and chemicals per stick when burned. Thousands die each year globally from the lasting effects of smoking cigarettes. Vaping carries a risk because you’re inhaling the unknown. What we are not aware of yet is the long-term effects of vaping over a sustained period. That will take another 20 to 40 years before we have more concrete evidence with or without nicotine.
Yes, respected organisations like the NHS and Cancer Research suggest if you smoke already, vaping is a better alternative, but they also advise you not to because of the unknown long-term damage if you have never smoked before. It’s only worthwhile if you smoke already and other nicotine replacement therapies are not working. Even if you vape without nicotine, it could potentially damage your health because of the ingredients you are heating and then vaping into your lungs, so be mindful before trying.
Disclaimer: We do not claim to be medical professionals at V2 Cigs. If you want to quit smoking, before vaping we always recommend speaking with your doctor for advice. The medical journals and resources from recognised health organisations below will explain in more detail the risks of smoking and why millions now turn to vape as an alternative.
Medical Sources Used and Available for Further Information: