What is more harmful: vaping or regular cigarettes?

What is vape

A vape, also called an electronic cigarette or an electronic nicotine delivery system, can look like anything. There are options that resemble a cigarette, a pen, or futuristic gadgets of the most incredible form. They have the same principle of operation – they all heat the liquid, which may contain nicotine. There are e-liquids that do not contain nicotine.

What is in an electronic cigarette. The composition of an electronic cigarette includes a mouthpiece, a heater and a liquid capsule, but the harm of a vape lies in the liquid itself.

What is in vape liquid. The key ingredients in vape liquids are glycerin and propylene glycol. When such a liquid is heated, it is not cigarette smoke that is formed, but vapor. If the liquid contains nicotine, the person inhales the vapor saturated with nicotine. And if it does not contain, a person breathes steam with flavor and fragrance.

What is the difference between vape and tobacco heating system. The first converts liquid into vapor, and the second heats a stick stuffed with glycerin-soaked tobacco.

In the case of tobacco heaters, nicotine-saturated vapor is also formed, but with a different composition. Vapors from electronic cigarettes and from heaters also affect people’s health in different ways .

According to the FDA, the US Food and Drug Administration, the exact cause of the vape explosion is not yet known. Most likely the problem is a bad battery.

To avoid an explosion, the department’s employees recommend that you carefully read the instruction manual, do not leave the vape in direct sunlight or in a car on a sunny day, charge the device only while sitting at a table, and not on a sofa or pillow, where it can quietly turn on and overheat, and never use batteries from another manufacturer in a vape.

vaping or regular cigarettes

Evaporation of nicotine-containing liquids does not emit poisons, carcinogens and carbon monoxide, which are formed during the combustion of tobacco. Therefore, it is logical to assume that the harm from electronic cigarettes is not as strong as from conventional ones.

But to assume is one thing, but to prove that this is indeed the case is quite another.

In 2018, experts from the US National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, or NASEM, proved thatthe complete replacement of cigarettes or tobacco heating systems with vapes reduces short-term adverse effects on some organs of the human body.

To put it simply, most people who switch completely to vapes find it easier to breathe, cough less and feel better overall. But it is not yet clear whether the benefits will continue in the future. That is, we do not yet know whether switching from cigarettes to vaping reduces the risk of lung cancer and heart problems.

After all, vapes also contain nicotine. According to the WHO, people who frequently use vapes get no less nicotine than those who smoke cigarettes. This is bad, because nicotine is harmful in itself, and not just because it is addictive and encourages you to smoke more and more cigarettes.

Nicotine interferes with the normal functioning of areas of the brain associated with learning and self-control, as a result, a person can become less attentive and more irritable. And after every cigarette smoked or after using a vape, nicotine enters the bloodstream and induces the adrenal glands to throw out a portion of adrenaline. As a result, blood pressure and heart rate increase. All this increases the load on the heart, and hence the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

There is another important nuance: only a complete and unconditional transition from cigarettes to vapes is useful. If a person smokes both, the risk of developing heart and lung disease may even increase. To understand how this works, you first have to say a few words about exactly how smoking harms health.

When microbes enter the body, active oxidation of fats and proteins begins in the cells. As a result, reactive oxygen species are formed – molecules that destroy the shells of bacteria and viral particles.

But if oxidation gets out of control, too many reactive oxygen species are produced, and they begin to destroy the membranes of their own cells and damage DNA.

In the organisms of smokers, oxidative processes are always more active than in non-smokers. This is one of the reasons smokers are more likely to develop heart and lung disease. If you know how many reactive oxygen species are in the body of a particular person, you can find out how different smoking strategies affect the risk of getting sick in the future.

In July 2021, an international team of researchers measured the amount of a substance that characterizes oxidative processes in the blood of 3,712 volunteers. Compared to cigarette smokers, those who switched from conventional to electronic cigarettes had lower levels of the substance. But for those who smoked both, the content of this substance in the blood even increased.

It turns out that smoking both vapes and regular cigarettes is even more dangerous than smoking cigarettes alone. But why this happens is not entirely clear. Some researchers suggest that part-time vapers with cigarettes end up smoking even more. And others believe that the vapor from vapes is dangerous in itself – and regardless of the nicotine content. As a result, part-timers suffer from both smoke and steam.

Can you quit smoking with vaping?

According to a large review of 61 studies , smoking cessation with e-cigarettes containing nicotine-containing liquids may be easier than with other nicotine substitutes.

To succeed, you need to follow a well-thought-out strategy: at the beginning of the journey, purchase liquids with the same nicotine content as in cigarettes, and gradually reduce its concentration.

At the very last stage, when a person can already smoke a vape without nicotine, without experiencing discomfort, it makes sense to gradually reduce the number of smoke breaks in order to completely wean.

However, experts in overcoming bad habits advise you to keep a nicotine-free vape handy at first. For many people, the very fact of a smoke break is akin to meditation and a pause in the work routine. If you immediately refuse such pauses, the desire to return to real cigarettes will be very strong. And if you arrange a vape break for yourself, it will be psychologically easier to endure the rejection of cigarettes.

Are nicotine-free vapes harmful?

All liquids that are used for vaping contain potentially hazardous substances that enter the vapor, and therefore into the lungs. First of all, these are substances that are formed when propylene glycol and glycerin are heated: formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein and glyoxal.

Formaldehyde is a carcinogen, acetaldehyde is a potential carcinogen, acrolein is a respiratory irritant, and glyoxal is mutagenic. Although there are fewer of these substances in the vapor from vapes than in cigarette smoke, many researchers fear that this is also the harm of electronic cigarettes.

What is “popcorn sickness” from a vape?

The second problem is related to flavors – substances that are added to the liquid to give it a pleasant smell and taste. Substances similar in composition are added to popcorn, which is why the lung disease associated with the inhalation of these substances is called “popcorn disease”.

It’s called diacetyl flavoring. It is safe if consumed with food, but can cause lung disease if inhaled regularly.

There is evidence that workers who work in the popcorn and coffee industries and regularly inhale diacetyl often suffer from lung disease. And since some people who vape multiple times a day inhale as much diacetyl as factory workers, they too can get sick.

What is EVALI?

Thickeners are the third thing that vape is harmful for. These substances are added to liquids to make it easier to fill vaping devices with them.

In the summer of 2019, there was an outbreak of a severe pneumonia-like lung disease in the United States that affected more than 2,500 people, with 68 of them dead. When experts began to understand what happened, it turned out that all the victims used electronic cigarettes.

The new disease has been called a lung injury associated with the use of electronic cigarettes, that is, vaping. In English, it sounds like e-cigarette , or vaping, product use-associated lung injury, abbreviated as EVALI.

US health officials found that the majority of those affected preferred vape liquids that included a vitamin E-based thickener, vitamin E acetate .

Although there is no unequivocal evidence that vitamin E acetate is to blame , experts found this substance in the lungs of most of the victims and decided that the outbreak was most likely associated with it.

After officials at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began warning people about the dangers of liquids containing vitamin E acetate and got the thickening agent removed from several popular foods, the outbreak subsided. But it is possible that vitamin E-acetate is not the only additive capable of provoking EVALI, because in the lungs of some patients it was not.

Is it possible to be allergic to electronic cigarettes. Allergy can develop on vaping liquids , and quite strong. For example, in 2019, a case of a severe allergy to e-cigarettes that led to pneumonia was described in a 16-year-old British man.

Studies of never-smokers who have started vaping show that there is a clear link between vaping and asthma symptoms. Therefore, it makes sense for people who have never smoked, and especially those who already have signs of onset asthma, to avoid vaping.

Does it make sense to switch from cigarettes to vaping?

To answer this question, you need to take into account the situation in which the person is located:

If he already smokes and has no plans to quit, switching completely from regular cigarettes to vaping devices may be a good idea. While it’s not yet clear whether it prolongs life, smokers who switch to vapes feel better.
If a person does not smoke, you should not try vaping. Even if Vapes eShop liquid does not contain nicotine, it can still harm your health.

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