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Smoking vs Vaping Comparison: Which is Healthier, Better or even Worse?

05/14/2024
LOOKAH

cigarettes and vapes

The prevalence of vaping (using e-cigarettes) has risen rapidly since its introduction in 2007, mostly among youth.

With that rise comes several questions: what is the difference between them? Is vaping better than smoking, or worse? which is healthier? can vaping help you quit smoking? And the list goes on.

If you are trying to quite smoking cigarettes, and you’re considering vaping as a “safer” alternative, there are things you should know.

In this article, we discuss the risks of vaping versus smoking and consider the long-term effects and risks of both.

What is Smoking?

what is smoking

In a traditional cigarette, dried tobacco is lit on fire, which allows the smoker to inhale nicotine, the active—and addictive—chemical in tobacco.

It’s an ancient and efficient method of experiencing the mild, mood-altering effects of nicotine.

Commercially produced cigarettes are made up of:

1. A rolling paper wrapper: Rolling papers are small, thin sheets used for rolling tobacco or other substances, such as cannabis, into a self-made cigarette or joint.

2. Plant material: In tobacco cigarettes, this is dried and processed tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) leaf stems.

3. Filter (cigarette butt): The filter traps larger bits of the partially burned tobacco while smoke travels through it into your mouth.

What is Vaping?

what is vaping

Vaping is a new and high-tech method that uses a battery-operated atomizer to heat an e-liquid or “e-juice,” creating a vapor that is consumed.

Vape liquid contains of nicotine, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, flavourings and other chemicals, although some vaping liquids may be free of nicotine.

E-cigarettes are known by many different names. They are sometimes called “e-cigs,” “e-hookahs,” “mods,” “vape pens,” “vapes,” “tank systems,” and “electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).”

Some e-cigarettes look like traditional cigarettes, while others look like high-tech USB devices.

However, Most vape pens are composed of four key components: An atomizer act as heating element, a battery for power, and either cartridges or a tank for storing cannabis oil or concentrate.

Smoking vs Vaping: What's the Difference?

a cigarette and a vape pen

The fundamental difference between smoking traditional cigarettes and vaping is smoke versus vapor.

Smoking delivers nicotine to your lungs by burning tobacco—the smoke is then inhaled.

Vaping uses a battery-operated heater to warm an e-liquid or “e-juice,” creating a vapor that is consumed.

Is vaping cheaper than smoking?

Vaping is significantly cheaper than smoking. Aside from the initial $40-$100 approximate set-up cost, vaping costs approximately 10% of what smoking.

If you smoke a pack a day it will cost you approximately $9,000 a year, and vaping in a way to stop smoking would cost approximately $900.

Smoking vs Vaping: Which is Better or Healthier?

health risks of vaping and smoking

Both Traditional cigarettes and vapes contain nicotine, a highly addictive chemical designed to keep you hooked.

This chemical compound also can interfere with brain development in those under age 25, affecting the parts of the brain that control learning, mood control, attention, and impulse control.

Additionally, since nicotine is a stimulant, it can also cause side effects like increased heart rate and anxiety.

Cigarettes release thousands of different chemicals when they burn. Many are poisonous and up to 70 cause cancer. They also cause other serious illnesses, including lung disease, heart disease and stroke.

Unlike smoking cigarettes, vaping doesn’t include carbon monoxide, tar, particulate matter, or the other byproducts of burning tobacco. So Vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking.

However, there’s still a lot to learn about its long-term effects. Vaping still poses many of the same risks that smoking does. For example, E-cigarette aerosol can contain chemicals that are harmful to the lungs.

Is vaping harmful? Side effects of Vaping

Is Vaping harmful for you

Lung injury is becoming more and more common in users of vaping products.

Vapes come in a range of flavors, designed in part to attract younger users. Flavorings include harmful chemicals like diacetyl, which gives a buttery taste to popcorn, candy and other products and has been linked to severe lung disease.

In addition to chemicals, some vaping fluids and devices contain heavy metals like lead, tin and nickel, which can be toxic when inhaled.

Like cigarettes, e-cigs can also contain small pieces of debris that, when inhaled, can irritate your sensitive lung tissue. The deeper you inhale, the more damage these tiny particles can do.

Some e-cigarettes also contain Vitamin E Acetate, a thickening agent associated with lung damage.

Non-smokers and young people under 18 should not take up vaping.

Can vaping help you quit smoking?

a broken cigarette and a vape pen

Smoking causes at least 15 different types of cancer so stopping smoking completely is the best thing you can do for your health.

Nicotine vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking. It's also one of the most effective tools for quitting smoking.

Using an e-cigarette can help you manage your nicotine cravings. To get the best out of it, make sure you're using it as much as you need to and with the right strength of nicotine in your e-liquid.

Of course, for people who have not started smoking or vaping, the best path is to avoid nicotine products completely.

How to quit smoking and vaping?

nicotine patches and gums

The nicotine in tobacco or vape juice leads to actual physical dependence. This can cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when a person tries to quit.

While nicotine is the addictive substance in cigarettes and vapes, most of the diseases from smoking and vaping are not caused by nicotine, which is relatively harmless to health.

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) gives you nicotine – in the form of gum, patches, sprays, inhalers, or lozenges – but not the other harmful chemicals in tobacco or vape juice.

NRT has been widely used for many years to help people stop smoking and is a safe treatment.

It can help relieve some of the physical withdrawal symptoms so that you can focus on the psychological (emotional) aspects of quitting.

Is vaping weed worse than smoking a joint?

smoking joint vs vaping weed

Besides nicotine e-liquids, Vapes can also be used to deliver cannabis oil, and dry herbs.

When you smoking a joint, smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals. Hundreds of these chemicals are toxic, and around 70 cause cancer.

Switching to vaping significantly reduces your exposure to these harmful toxins. so it's better than smoking with a joint.

Conclusion

Because vaping is far less harmful than smoking, your health could benefit from switching from smoking to vaping. And you will reduce your risk of getting lung cancer.

Additionally, Switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes could also save you a lot of money. Some people spend more than others, but in general, smoking costs over three times as much as vaping.

However, vaping is not risk-free. Vaping and smoking share similar negative effects on the body, such as damage to the lungs and increased cancer risk.

The best way to improve your health is to quit both smoking and vaping.