Let’s face it. Smokers don’t have many places that they can go to in public these days. Anywhere from restaurants and bars to cinemas and casinos will no longer allow any form of smoking in their establishments. Those who are addicted to cigarettes have to find alternatives, like ordering in food or using an online casino rather than attending in person. It is either that or having to stand outside in the freezing cold like a pariah, forever to be cast out from the rest of society. Of course, there is another option – vaping. In fact, e-cigarettes have become a popular alternative to smoking even though that was not their design purpose, strictly speaking. E-cigarettes were originally championed by public health campaigners to help people give up tobacco consumption. In many cases, however, one habit has simply replaced another. How does smoking versus vaping stack up?
What Is an E-cigarette?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an e-cigarette is a device which produces an aerosol by heating a liquid that is subsequently breathed into the lungs by the user. The liquid will commonly contain nicotine, the same addictive agent that you find in normal cigarettes. Some also contain flavourings and other chemicals but they should not contain the tar that is found in cigarettes and cigars. Secondary smoking, also known as passive smoking, is eliminated by this method so people nearby to the user are not impacted when they exhale the material – unlike those close to smokers, of course. E-cigarettes take many shapes and have all sorts of designs but they work on the same basic principle. They are also called vapes, tank systems and mods, among other things.
What Are the Pros and Cons?
As mentioned, a big plus point of vaping is that you should not harm those around you. That said, some people don’t like to be in the same room as another person who is using an e-cigarette. They are increasingly banned in public places and offices, just like cigarettes once were. There can be little doubt that e-cigarettes represent a great way of obtaining nicotine without the need to burn all of the harmful chemicals in the way that a smoker would do. However good that may be for helping people to give up on cigarettes, many people now agree that there are alternatives for feeding a nicotine addiction which are preferable, such as chewing gum or wearing slow-release patches. Vaping might have helped some people give up cigarettes but it can also feed the hand-to-mouth habit that so many smokers struggle with. As it becomes banned in social situations more and more across Canada, then you can expect it to be of less and less use as a long-term alternative to smoking.
What Are the Risks?
One of the problems with e-cigarettes is that long-term studies into its potential downsides have not been conducted. In short, we know less about the risks of vaping than we do about smoking. E-cigarettes are not recommended to young people who have never smoked before, nor should they be used by pregnant women because nicotine is known to have an impact on unborn babies. Taking any particles deeply into the lungs, as happens with vaping, will have some health impact although the exact nature of it may not yet be fully known. Furthermore, some users find that they suffer from over-exposure when they don’t dilute their vaping fluid correctly or have an explosion from a defective e-cigarette.
Which Is the Healthiest Option?
In spite of the potential health outcomes from vaping, most healthcare professionals consider e-cigarettes to be safer than cigarettes. This is the case for users as well as those around them. That said, more scientific evidence is gathered every day which points to the fact that avoiding nicotine at all is preferable, especially in the case of pregnant women. Try other options. Even going for a walk to take your mind off your craving can be beneficial – and you are not likely to contract cancer from doing something healthy like that!
What About Cancer?
Although cigarettes are linked to a number of cancers, it is not fully understood how the 7,000 or so chemicals in a cigarette increase the likelihood of being diagnosed with this disease. Therefore, removing many of the toxins associated with smoking by vaping means you can expect to be less exposed to the risks. However, since the long-term effects of vaping are not yet understood, users should not assume they are in the clear. Indeed, in addition to the nicotine that is a key ingredient, heavy metals like lead as well as substances known as volatile organic compounds are used in e-cigarettes, all of which are known to have a carcinogenic effect.