Many people ask is vaping bad. Even more wonder: is nicotine bad for you? That’s why we made this guide to vaping health risks and hte dangers of vaping.
Since coming into the public eye almost a decade ago, vaping has spurred clash after clash of public opinion. Critics claim that vaping is as detrimental to user’s health as smoking. On the other end of the spectrum, some vendors paint vaping in a holy light, implying it is utterly harmless. As with most topics of debate, neither side is wholly accurate.
When facts about vaping’s safety and cessation abilities are cited, it is essential to realize that these facts are in comparison to smoking combustible cigarettes. Vaping’s original intent was to assist with smoking cessation, so more people would be able to quit combustible cigarettes. As such, the overwhelming majority of vapers are former smokers. We also have much more concrete, scientific evidence about smoking’s effect on the human body. All of these factors contribute to why so many studies are looking at into comparisons of the two. What almost all of these studies have found is that vaping is vastly safer than smoking. That said, it does not mean that vaping is entirely harmless. Some side effects have been recorded and associated with daily vaping. Long-term studies will continue to be done to uncover all the results. While the whole picture isn’t clear at this point, almost all of the credible research done has found vaping to be substantially safer than smoking.
Vaping and Nicotine
There is a large number of people who believe that vaping and nicotine are intrinsically entwined. The truth is while e-liquids can contain nicotine of varying strengths, there are a growing number of e-liquids available in zero-nic, completely free of nicotine. There are even entire brands dedicated to zero-nic vaping. This means that there is always an option to vape without nicotine risking any adverse effects. This debunks one of the major dangers of vaping as a complete vaping issue.
While nicotine does have risks, there is also the misunderstanding that nicotine is the cause of all of the dangers of smoking cigarettes. Nicotine’s risks involve effects on nervous, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal systems. However, the majority of life-threatening conditions, the things that make tobacco the number one cause of preventable deaths, those are caused by the added chemicals and carcinogens in cigarettes and smoke, not just the nicotine.
Nicotine’s risks, for the most part, stem from prolonged heart stimulation. It’s been associated with increased risk of raised blood pressure, enlargement of the aorta, and an increased risk of clots or stroke. Nicotine has also been connected with dizziness and trouble falling and staying asleep. Additionally, it has been known to cause nausea and vomiting, dry mouth, and heartburn. It’s because of these risks and the need to not be dependent on nicotine in general that so many vapers lower their nicotine dosage over time, the ultimate goal being 0 mg or zero nic.
Manufacturers work to make this easier by making the same flavors of e-liquid in a variety of nicotine strengths. Your initial choice of nicotine strength should be relative to the amount of smoking you did before. Someone who is a heavy smoker would be looking at at least 12mg for their nicotine strength, while lighter smokers would be looking to start around 6mg. Wherever you start, the goal is to reduce the nicotine in your e-liquid over time gradually. This gives your body time to adjust so you can ultimately wean yourself off entirely from any dependence on nicotine.
Once you get to the lower end of nicotine strengths, it does become more difficult to take small gradual steps. For instance, 3 mg is often the lowest strength of nicotine you can get before 0 mg, but when you are talking about that small an amount of nicotine, it can be a big step. The solution to making smaller strides is mixing your strengths. This is relatively easy, and you have two methods you can use to get the best results. The first method is buying two different nicotine strengths of the same e-liquid in your preferred flavor. In the example of the 3 mg and 0 mg, by mixing the two concentrations in equal parts, resulting in a 1.5 mg nicotine concentration. The other method is to dilute your favorite e-liquid with an unflavored 0 mg base. When mixing using this method, the most important thing to keep in mind is that you are using bases with the same PG/VG balance. Combining two different consistencies could potentially cause damage to your equipment.
The Potential Dangers
With vaping, there are some known risks. That being said, there are also myths that have been carried through the media without any factual evidence. So now we’ll review the real side effects and discuss the rumored ones.
First thing’s first. The recorded and researched side effects of vaping are relatively mild. As discussed earlier if there are any very long-term side effects, aside from those related to nicotine usage, they have not been discovered and researched yet. These side effects are more immediate and for the most part reasonably treatable. The most common side effect is dry mouth or dry skin, if left unchecked these can result in prolonged irritation. The dryness is an effect of mild dehydration caused by vaping. The solution is to make sure to drink water regularly and stay hydrated while vaping. If your nicotine concentration is too high, or if you are vaping too much over a given time, then you could also suffer mild to severe dizziness or nausea. So make sure when you are vaping e-liquid containing nicotine that you are consuming it with care.
A more severe risk that can be easily avoided is allergies. If you have any known allergies, it is imperative that you check the ingredients of your e-liquids to avoid your allergens. Since flavors in e-liquid come from food grade flavorings, you will easily be able to identify anything of the kind. Vaping a substance, you are allergic to can have dire results as it is entering your lungs and more directly into your bloodstream, so it is immensely important to stay on top of what ingredients you are vaping.
Some vapers have experienced canker sores. This can be due to a change in acidity in your saliva, more often it is associated with e-liquid, a very concentrated substance, making direct contact with bare skin. That’s why you should always make sure your e-liquid is safely contained in your cartridge or tank before placing it in your mouth.
As far as the exaggerated or flat out lies spread by anti-vaping lobbyists and the media the worst offender is “Popcorn Lung.” The disease, first discovered among workers in a popcorn factory, is the result of prolonged exposure to diacetyl. The people who have been diagnosed with, and suffer from this debilitating disease have all worked in environments where they were exposed to airborne diacetyl or other harmful chemicals in high dosage for prolonged periods of time.
While diacetyl had previously been used in a minimal amount in some e-liquids, it is no longer employed by any reputable manufacturer. Furthermore, a study by the California Dept. of Health measured the air quality of several vape shops around the state that allowed vaping inside. Even with masses of vapor and poor ventilation in the storefronts, CDH found that the air quality was comparable to normal air. They also detected no traceable amount of any of the chemicals that cause popcorn lung.
What We Know Now About Vaping
It seems like study after study puts to bed another false claim of vaping’s danger. While we do still need several more decades of research to make sweeping or definitive claims on is vaping safe, there are a growing number of well documented, peer-reviewed, and respected studies taking the next steps in dispelling those rumors. They work to prove that vaping is substantially safer than smoking and that vaping is the most effective cessation tool on the market. Here is a break down of some of the most potent facts that have come out of, and been backed by, a plethora of studies.
- Vaping leads to much lower rates of tobacco-related diseases
- Smokers who switch to vaping experience significant health improvements
- Vape smoke contains 450 times less toxic chemicals than cigarette smoke
- Vaping bans will likely lead to higher teen smoking rates
- Vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking
Lower Rated of Disease
Published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health the study found that if vaping were to be accepted and adequately utilized by smokers, then the number of preventable diseases and death would significantly decrease. The study also put forth facts stating that there is no correlation between vaping and increased teen smoking. This conclusion was found thanks to a combination of factors like popularity and acceptance. They also found and supported other data that reinforced the idea that vaping is much better for public health. For instance, they found that bystanders are not affected by vapor.
Massive Health Improvements
A survey conducted by the University of Alberta is responsible for this gem of a fact. The team was looking to see and understand the impact the switch to vaping can have on a person’s health. In this survey, all 300 participants were former smokers. 91% of participants felt that their overall health improved, and 97% reported improvement of their smoker’s cough. A full 84% said the switch helped their ability to exercise. Overall these numbers staggeringly report that vaping does improve people’s day to day lives.
450X Fewer Toxic Chemicals
Led by Dr. Maciej Goniewicz of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute this next study was published in the Tobacco Control Journal. Their findings, from testing 12 different types of e-cigarettes, were that vapor contained at least 450 times fewer of the dangerous carcinogenic toxins inhaled with cigarette smoke. Other studies have come out supporting this claim; in fact, there are some that have found vaping has no discernable effect on air quality.
Bans Will Ultimately increase Smoking
This fact comes from the Journal of Health Economics. The study was designed to take a thorough look at the relationship between vaping and tobacco use across the population. Authors created models and tested against falsifications and placebo checks. They took into account many factors of vaping and the public’s still steadily declining smoking rate, they found that if there were to be a ban on vaping that 70% of those who had made the switch would likely revert to cigarette smoking within two years.
This statistic is probably one of the most widely cited stats in the vaping community. It comes from a study done by Public Health England (PHE) which is England’s federal health agency. This particular paper is rife with amazing details and statistics about vaping. The study not only found that vaping was 95% safer than smoking combustible cigarettes, but it also found that of the 2.6 million vapers in Great Britain nearly all of them were former smokers. This just brought home how rare it is for an individual to go from never smoking, to vaping. This study also found, contrary to some information spread by the media, that there is not any evidence vaping is a gateway for young adults and teens picking up smoking traditional cigarettes.
The study unfortunately also found that almost half of the population did not understand or was misinformed how much safer vaping is when compared to smoking. 44.8% of people still believed that vaping is as, if not more, harmful than tobacco. The fact that nearly half of the population thinks something this and many other studies have found to be false is disheartening.
These studies, while acting as a kind of greatest hits, only scratch the surface of the research that has and will continue to be done on the subject of vaping. They all generally support that vaping’s risks are minimal when compared to smoking. Here* is a list of more studies to read up on should you be interested.
Claiming vaping is more dangerous, or even just as hazardous as cigarettes is a lie. Claiming that vaping is harmless and will have no long-term consequences is also a lie. That said, vaping is vastly safer than smoking, and it has an incredible smoking cessation value. Public health experts tend to agree as well that vaping could be pivotal in the fight against tobacco. It is, however, an activity that needs to be done with research and caution. Check e-liquids for allergens, drink plenty of water, and be aware not to overdo your nicotine intake.
Manufacturers try to make it easy for you to mix your blends when needed. You can find out more about mixing, or any other aspect of vaping and vape upkeep online or in person with a knowledgeable employee at your local shop. The vast majority of the vaping community is here to support you in your transition into vaping and helping yourself move forward with a lower risk of disease and a healthier step forward in your daily life.