Vaping vs. smoking: Long-term effects, benefits, and risks

Vaping vs. smoking: Long-term effects, benefits, and risks

Although smoking is associated with various health risks, many people have turned to vape as an alternative that they believe is safer than tobacco use. But how safe are e-cigarettes and what are the long-term effects? Here’s some information on vaping vs smoking and how the two stack up against each other in terms of their long-term health effects.

 Vaping vs. smoking: Long-term effects, benefits, and risks

 What is vaping?

In the simplest terms, vaping is the act of inhaling vaporized liquid through a personal vaporizer (or vape). Vaping has become popular in recent years as an alternative to cigarettes since it does not contain many of the harmful substances found in tobacco smoke. 


People who vape are often called vapers. Vaping usually involves nicotine - though there are plenty of options that do not - and many people enjoy vaping because it satisfies their oral fixation or tastes like dessert or fruit flavors that they prefer over traditional cigarette flavors like menthol or clove. Additionally, some research suggests that e-cigarettes may be less addictive than cigarettes and could help smokers quit by delivering nicotine without some of the carcinogens found in other types of tobacco products. 


There is still a lot we don't know about long-term health effects for those who vape instead of smoke; however, according to surveys from 2011 conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 1% of Americans between 18-24 years old said they had never smoked a cigarette but had tried vaping at least once in their life. Surveys show that many current smokers have tried quitting with e-cigarettes but have been unsuccessful, meaning we can't conclude with certainty whether or not vaping helps smokers quit just yet.



How does vaping compare to traditional cigarettes?

Traditional cigarettes release several substances that are unhealthy for the smoker's lungs, including tar, arsenic, and lead. E-cigarettes or vaporizers work by heating liquid nicotine until it becomes an aerosol that is inhaled by the user. Vaporizers use this aerosol to deliver nicotine to the user without producing the harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke.


This makes them a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes because they have been shown to have lower levels of carcinogens than tobacco smoke while they still provide smokers with their fix of nicotine (which is more addictive than cocaine). E-cigarettes do not emit water vapor as secondhand smoke from tobacco does; instead, e-cigarette users emit breathable air particles. Nicotine may also be less toxic than other ingredients found in traditional cigarettes. However, e-cigarette emissions do include fine particles which can pose a risk if you're exposed to high concentrations over a long period.


 What are the long-term effects of vaping?

What are the long-term effects of vaping?

Because of the lack of long-term studies on vaping, it is difficult to identify any adverse long-term health consequences of vaping. Some studies show a link between nicotine addiction and cancer, but because vaping does not contain tobacco or tar it is not likely to have those same health consequences. The only documented risk from vaping is from the chemicals used in manufacturing e-cigarettes. These chemicals may be inhaled while vaping and they can cause irritation in the mouth or throat or an allergic reaction if exposed to your skin or eyes.


Many people report having a bad taste in their mouth after using e-cigarettes for an extended period. It's unclear if this is due to the flavorings used in vape liquids or some other chemical exposure. Some people feel lightheaded or dizzy when first starting to use e-cigarettes. More research needs to be done before we understand how these symptoms are related to vaping and whether they'll go away with continued use. The most common side effect of using e-cigarettes is dry mouth, which affects more than half of all vapers according to one study.



What are the short-term side effects?

The short-term side effects of vaping are minimal but do exist. They include throat irritation or dryness, coughing, sore mouth or throat, headache or dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. The long-term side effect is currently unknown as vaping is a relatively new phenomenon in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), there is not enough evidence yet to know whether e-cigarettes affect lung function as much as tobacco cigarettes. 


The health benefits of vaping include that it may help smokers quit their addiction, providing an alternative for those who don't want to smoke traditional cigarettes. It has also been shown that there may be fewer toxins than cigarettes and less risk of cancer from secondhand smoke. 

It's not without its risks though; many vape liquids have nicotine, which could lead to dependence on nicotine products like cigarettes and even lead to heart disease. Additionally, many people assume that since it doesn't contain tobacco or tar, then it doesn't have any carcinogens as traditional cigarettes do.



So which is better – vaping or smoking?

The long-term effects of vaping are still unknown, but there is some evidence that it may be less harmful than smoking in the short term. Plus, vaping can help you quit smoking! As a result, many people are opting to switch from cigarettes to electronic cigarettes or vaporizers. Keep in mind that while vaping may be healthier than smoking in the short term, there is little research on how it affects your health over time.


In addition, most studies on e-cigarettes have been funded by the companies that manufacture them. Be sure to do your research before deciding on which type of cigarette to use for yourself and your loved ones.



 Which should I choose – vaping or smoking?

The short answer to the question is that vaping is healthier for the individual and those around him or her than smoking. There are two ways to approach this question - how does each affect the person who does it? And what are their implications for society as a whole? Let's take a look at both of these aspects in detail. One study has found that smokers have worse lung function than non-smokers after age 50, with male smokers having higher rates of respiratory disease and women smokers having more chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) cases.


 It can be difficult to tell when someone has COPD because they don't always show symptoms such as coughing up mucus or needing help breathing. However, one thing we do know is that COPD may not only be caused by smoking but also by secondhand smoke exposure; in fact, cigarette smoke contains over 4000 chemicals, many of which are carcinogenic (cancer-causing). Even if you've never smoked a cigarette before yourself, you may still be exposed to other people's smoke on an everyday basis.


Back to blog