Is vaping safe? It’s a question on everyone’s mind, and one that divides opinion like a knife does cake. The question is inevitably followed by a comparison to cigarettes, which in itself springs a common denominator to mind – the nicotine element.
But, are vapes safe really? Is vaping safe for lungs? Can we partake in the act without the guilt of health-related backlash that cigarettes bring?
Vaping vs Tobacco
The big chunk of vapers are people who have switched from tobacco smoking which claims one in every two of its users, according to the World Health Organization.
These people (smokers), on average whisk away 10 years of life with cigarettes. Not to mention the huge impact on their health while they are still alive (spanning from lung capacity to taste buds to sexual prowess).
WHO also approximates that 1 billion people will die from smoking during the 21st century. Conversely, the number of deaths that have been caused by e-cigarettes since their inception a little over a decade ago is, that’s right – zero. Zilch. Nil.
Why no deaths thus far, some may muse skeptically? Simple. Vaping does not produce any of that lung-clogging tar, nor the suffocating carbon monoxide that is a by-product of tobacco smoking. And when it comes to toxins – carcinogens included – the trace amounts produced by e-cigarettes are the same ones as those present in medicinally-licensed patches and nicotine gum.
We back this through credible evidence you can take a few minutes to skim through:
- Should e-cigarettes be regulated as a medicinal device?
- Electronic cigarettes – miracle or menace?
- E-cigarettes and the rise of the vapers: Can there really be smoke without fire?
How Safe is Nicotine?
When quizzed by the BBC on the health effects of nicotine, Professor Peter Hayek answered quite plainly:
[it is] very similar to drinking coffee.
The thing with e-cigarettes is that it can be very difficult to inhale amounts that can be considered dangerous. This is because it would give the user – vaper or smoker – a nauseating feeling long before it reaches a point of harming them.
The amount of nicotine one inhales is dictated by the depth of each breath. There are few logical ways you can get nicotine into your system as fast as through breathing it in. It’s one reason many smokers struggle with ‘medicinal’ sources of nicotine (patches, gum et al). Anyone who has used gum will admit the length of time it takes to peak in the system. What they’ll also tell you is that the delayed gratification aside, it can give you nausea when too much of it has been absorbed.
So, are Vapor Cigs Safe?
There are several reasons people worry about nicotine being a drug. Ignorance is one, bad science is another.
By the latter we mean a discredited research project that was published as far back as 1858 that bodies like the European Union still go by to date. The EU wants to ban e-cigs with more than 20mg of nicotine in them, despite the fact that scientists have demonstrated time and again that the said nic content produces just a third of the nicotine a regular cigarette does.
And of course, there is always the addiction element – another reason people worry about nicotine.
What about Passive Vaping?
Is vaping safer than smoking in terms of second-hand vapor/smoke?
There are no vapers who have died from vaping since it came about, neither has there been any reported incidence of death caused by passive vaping.
Many vapers who have been using e-cigarettes for years without any adverse effects struggle to understand the rationale behind banning vaping in public spaces. This is especially so considering the little toxicity in e-cig vapor. There are those who fear that vaping will ‘normalize’ the hard-fought war on tobacco smoking, probably with good reason.
There is a tendency among some vapers to ostentatiously partake in cloud chasing even in public (See Habits that Give Vapers a Bad Name). Given the ignorance surrounding the topic, there is concern which has led to banning of vaping in public, and sadly, to be viewed as a smoking equivalent.
In essence though, smoking and vaping are worlds apart, health-wise.
So, is vaping safe?
It is definitely safer than smoking to start with. Or perhaps a white paper by the American Association of Public Health Physicians (AAPHP) that says vaping could save the lives of 4 million out of a smoking 8 million American adult population who will otherwise die from tobacco-related diseases in the next two decades will convince you better.