Whether you’re a smoker or not, chances exist you’ve heard about the short and long-term effects of smoking, especially with more campaigns targeted at the smoking populace. It’s also not surprising to see that the health organizations across regions embarking on these campaigns often offer tangible reasons for people to quit smoking. Some of these reasons include:
- Better health
- Longer life
- Less stress
- More savings
You’d wonder, why people still smoke if they know about these dangers. The answer is simple: it’s addictive. Every day we see smokers struggle to quit cigarettes and other tobacco products. Unsurprisingly, vaping is the favored option for individuals seeking effective alternatives to quit smoking. But is vaping better for you than smoking cigarettes? Here’s an article that reviews everything you should know about the smoking vs vaping debate.
Vaping vs Smoking: Health Considerations
Is vaping worse than smoking cigarettes? Here’s one question you’ll probably ponder if you want to quit smoking. The direct answer is no! But that doesn’t make vaping an excellent alternative. Yes, vapes are not as toxic as cigarettes, but studies still show that smokers may experience sicknesses like cancer and cardiovascular diseases when they engage in continuous usage.
Advocates of vaping often cite its content as far less toxins when comparing it to cigarette smoking. Besides, they don’t produce as much smoke as cigarettes and other tobacco products, so it’s easy to see why people think it is safer. But is it as safe as people insinuate?
Unfortunately, vaping is not as safe as you probably think. In fact, the FDA has not approved E-cigarettes as an alternative for people looking to quit smoking. So if you’re looking at this alternative, note that the relevant medical bodies are still researching it.
It also makes sense to mention that the CDC documented 2,807 hospitalized patients in 2020 due to vaping and E-cigarettes associated lung issues in the United States. That’s besides the 68 deaths confirmed across 28 states in 2020. These and many more long-term side effects of vaping are reasons enough to reconsider turning to vaping as a way to quit smoking.
Yes, there’s something known as safe vaping practices. If you follow vaping adverts, you’ll hear them talk about it a lot. But it still doesn’t eliminate the risk associated with vaping. One of these risks is the possibility of picking up the habit of smoking from it. Remember, it’s one thing to convert from cigarette smoking to vaping, but another thing to start nicotine use with vaping.
If you ask yourself “Can vaping cause lung cancer and other related diseases?”– Yes, we’ve consistently seen articles from experts warning against the dangers associated with vaping. There are also available studies linking asthma and chronic lung diseases with vaping. Besides, you already know how dangerous an addiction can be. E-cigarettes contain significant doses of nicotine which can trigger the addiction you were running from.
Effectiveness of Vaping as a Smoking Cessation Tool
Let’s face the fact – vaping products are becoming increasingly popular. This popularity means more research into their effects. If you must use an electronic cigarette as an alternative to quitting smoking, you should also know about its safety. Unfortunately, it’s not as safe as many people say. Yes, it’s safer than cigarettes, but it’s not totally safe. It has also not received FDA approval, as an alternative, so be careful with it.
If you want to quit smoking, there are other remedies that can help. I’ll review some of these remedies in the later part of this article. Find one that suits your body system and stick to it.
Rising Concerns among Youths
Despite warnings about the serious health risks of vaping, we’ve seen more teenagers and young adults fall into vape addiction. Available statistics show that over 37% of students in their 8th, 10th, and 12th grades vaped in 2022. That’s a sharp rise from the 28% that vaped in 2021. Unfortunately, this popularity means more teenagers picking up habits that involve vaping different substances like nicotine vapes, marijuana, hash oil, and flavored liquids.
With some e-cigarette adverts targeting young non-smokers, we expect these figures to rise. We suggest that e-cigarette marketers focus more on reaching an audience that’s looking to quit smoking to avoid increasing the number of smoking addictions among young people. Remember, there are already many reasons why young people will want to try vaping both as first-timers and as repeat smokers. Some of the reasons include:
- The belief that e-cigarette is less harmful than other forms of tobacco
- The marketing efforts of electronic cigarette manufacturers and distributors
- Packaging and availability of flavors, such as candy, mint, chocolate, or fruit
The list of dangers of vaping is almost inexhaustible, yet we see more people jumping on it. But among these dangers, we’re most concerned about the gateway effect of vaping. This means that many people will probably use e-cigarettes as their first nicotine product. Available studies even show that there’s more risk of becoming addicted to nicotine products from vaping than we know. Take a look around- young people are migrating from vaping to using illicit drugs and other tobacco products. Unless something significant is done about this rising figure, we may have a smoking epidemic soon caused by switching to actual smoking from vapes.
What Are The Long-term Health Effects of Smoking and Vaping?
As someone who’s done both before, I can tell how difficult it can be to stop smoking and vaping. However, I had to make the decision, especially since I understood the health conditions that can arise from both habits. If you’re like me, you’ll probably be wondering how to stop smoking. One of the best motivations that can spur you towards quitting smoking is to understand the long-term side effects of smoking. This section focuses on some of these effects as highlighted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Causes considerable damage to vital organs: Every organ in the body is as important as the other. If you don’t quit smoking, you stand a chance of losing some of these organs. Unfortunately, even the most vital organs can be affected by the nicotine that cigarettes contain and that’s why you should work hard to quit, especially since it can hurt your heart health.
- Smoking can cause lung cancer and other health conditions: When we breathe, the lungs provide oxygen for the body and helps to eliminate the carbon dioxide produced by the body. Unfortunately, cigarettes produce smoke that can irritate the lungs. When it happens repeatedly, this irritation can begin to damage the lungs. So if you love your lungs working well, it’s time to consider quitting smoking.
- Immune system damage: It’s common knowledge that our immune system helps us fight against germs and toxins. Our immune system must be in the best condition to be able to fight diseases. A bulk of the work lies in our ability to take care of ourselves. Cigarettes and other tobacco products have a direct effect on the immune system and that’s why it makes sense to avoid smoking.
So, what are the long-term effects of vaping?
Unfortunately, vaping is not safe. It has some long-term effects you should know. Let’s review some:
- It can cause many respiratory diseases: Most of the chemicals contained in vaping products are not just toxic – they’re also harmful to vital systems like the respiratory system. Since the lung is a primary organ responsible for respiration, whatever affects the lung will affect your respiratory pattern.
- Can easily lead to addiction: As you probably already know, nicotine is addictive. It affects your brain by causing it to desire more and more nicotine. So for most vapers, wanting to stop is the problem. It’s one thing to start, but another thing entirely to stop when you want to.
- Cigarette smoking: Unfortunately, many vapers move to cigarettes and other smokes with higher levels of harmful chemicals.
Vaping vs Smoking Comparison Chart
|The process of inhaling vapor through a vaporizer or an electronic cigarette.
|The process of inhaling the smoke produced from a burned substance.
|Electronic cigarettes, personal vaporizers, and electronic nicotine delivery systems
|Solvent, flavors, heating elements, cartridge, a battery-powered device
|Paper and tobacco
|Typically more expensive
|Less harmful, but still harmful
|Very harmful to smokers’ health, exposing them to toxicants like lead, ammonia, carbon monoxide, benzene, and hydrogen cyanide.
|A less intrusive scent, which can be pleasant depending on the flavor
|Strong, non-pleasing smell.
Quitting Smoking and Vaping
One of the biggest challenges you may face when you try to quit cigarettes or vaping is the cravings that come from nicotine withdrawal. Each year, hundreds of millions of people set out to stop smoking. But most of them fail because of the addictive power of the nicotine present in smoke. Guess what? It’s not even a function of how much nicotine is in a cigarette because even the smallest nicotine quantity can cause addiction. But the good news is that you can stop if you set your heart to it. Here are some healthy tips that can help you, regardless of age or addiction level.
Exercise and physical activity remain a reliable way to crush cravings. By focusing on physical activities like bike riding, running, playing football, etc., you can reduce the urge to smoke. Beyond the distraction that comes with these physical activities, you’ll also get tired from it to think of smoking.
Cravings may feel like you’ll die if you don’t have them, but still, they don’t kill you. If you have a favorite activity that can distract you from smoking, engage in it often. This way, you can take your mind off the craving and focus on the distraction until the craving disappears.
Get a support system
There’s probably no better way to stop smoking than getting the right support. Whether it’s a doctor or a trusted friend, you can be encouraged by sharing your cessation stories with your supporting people and telling them when the urge comes. They can also act as reliable partners, helping you go through the process until you become clean enough.
Celebrate your achievements
Not giving in to negative cravings can feel like an achievement, especially when it affects your health. Celebrating the days you don’t smoke can be the energy that spurs you to beat new milestones. So take yourself out, buy yourself a gift, or give yourself a pat on the back when you go days without smoking.
What happens when you quit smoking and start vaping
Different people have different opinions on whether e-cigarettes work as a nicotine replacement product. Thus, the question “Do vapes have more nicotine than cigarettes?” Unfortunately, there’s more to this argument than the mind can think. For instance, e-cigarettes also contain nicotine. So, we don’t consider it a perfect alternative. Instead, it makes sense to turn to other healthy cessation methods mentioned in this article to avoid the negative effects of cigarettes and vapes.
There you have it, a detailed look at the vaping vs smoking comparison. So far, we’ve reviewed all the effects of smoking and vaping. From available studies, we can categorically tell you that vaping is not the best way to quit smoking. One question that also pops up during similar debates is, “Can you get secondhand smoke from a vape?” Unfortunately, the answer is yes, although the effect may not be as severe as secondhand cigarette smoke.
Finally, Tobacco Free Allegheny recommends discussing your desire to stop smoking tobacco with a health professional. Based on your personal story, they can offer customized solutions to help you.