Is Vaping Really Safer Than Smoking?
Vapes aren’t completely safe, but the vapor that we inhale while vaping contains less toxins than cigarette smoke. Studies show that vapes are indeed a healthier alternative.
Tobacco: A Medicine and a Poison
A legend passed down from generation to generation of the Huron tribe – Indians that are living in today’s Ontario province, Canada – speaks of the Great Spirit who sent a woman to a barren land. By touching the ground with her right hand, she made potatoes grow there. With her left hand she brought corn into existence. When she finally sat down to rest, it turned out that tobacco had grown up in this place. The scientists however have a very different opinion about the origins of the tobacco of course. Nicotiana plants are a close relatives of potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines and peppers. Smoking tobacco was invented by the indigenous people of America, but in the old days it could be done only by the most important representatives of the community. Tobacco was brought to Europe by the crew of Christopher Columbus.
In the 16th century, physicians recommended smoking for people with lung diseases. It wasn’t until the middle of the last century that there was enough scientific evidence that cigarettes are harmful and significantly increase the risk of developing many diseases, including cancer and myocardial infarction, and also increase chances of having a stroke.
For many decades, there were only few nicotine replacement therapy products. Pills, patches and chewing gums with nicotine were the only alternatives to smoking. Unfortunately, those products don’t fully meet the psychological needs of smokers. Smoking is a ritual and those products lack the “magic” of it, so their effectiveness is strictly limited. The problem is very serious, because although smoking is becoming less popular across the world, many men and women still smoke cigarettes every day. On a global scale there’s already over a billion smokers, and the number of cigarettes smoked by them reaches 5.6 trillion cigs per year. The World Health Organization (WHO) informs that every year about 7 million people die in the world as a result of tobacco diseases.
There’s Some Light in the Darkness
A new solution for smokers appeared just over 10 years ago. The e-cigarettes, electronic nicotine inhalers (EINs) or simply vapes. The first models, designed and manufactured in China, were expensive, emergency and required a lot of skills when it comes to operation. Nevertheless, they quickly gained popularity. The principle of e-cigarette is simple. A container with liquid containing nicotine and a substance that turns into a mist when heated is put into a device equipped with a heater. Most often it is propylene glycol – a chemical compound used, among others, in smoke generators during concerts.
In the past, liquids had to be imported from China. However, consumers in Europe and the USA started to demand quality control of this product, which is why local companies were established (some of them also operate in Europe). Look for indepth review of the best vape juices for more technical details about e-cigarettes liquids and the way each ingredient work.
For several years e-cigarettes were in a kind of legal vacuum. According to the law, e-cigarettes were not tobacco products, so they could be used in places where smoking was banned. Probably thanks to this, smokers quickly became convinced of them. Today, tens of millions of people use e-cigarettes. The number of users in Poland is estimated at about a million.
It’s all about our health
The question which immediately arises is whether an electronic cigarette is healthier than a regular cigarette. Research conducted so far shows that the vapor inhaled by the vaper is devoid of tar, carbon monoxide and carcinogenic nitrosamines. Some studies suggest however that e-cigarettes equipped with high-power heaters can produce harmful carbonyl compounds (such as formaldehyde and acrolein). This doesn’t happen under normal conditions. Using the maximum power of the heater resembles a situation in which a smoker of an ordinary cigarette accidentally puts it in his mouth and ignites the filter instead of tobacco. There is more and more evidence that smokers who have switched from cigarettes to vapes are feeling being. – Clinical studies at the University of Catania have shown that patients who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma such a change improves the functioning of the respiratory system.
The same applies to pregnant women who are breastfeeding their kids. – Of course, they should be urged to try to quit the addiction completely. However, it is known that not everyone will succeed. In such a situation I would recommend switching to e-cigarettes to protect the child from carcinogens and carbon monoxide. The amount of nicotine that reaches the foetus will be very small,” says Professor Linda Bauld from the British University of Stirling. In 2-3 years’ time the results of research conducted with the participation of thousands of pregnant women using e-cigarettes are to be known.
It’s not yet fully known how our health is affected by many years of using such devices – the research is in progress. There are also doubts whether e-cigarettes cause the so-called gateway effect. The point is that, in theory, they can encourage young people to smoke and switch to classic, much more harmful cigarettes. The studies that indicate such a relationship are due to be repeated soon.
What’s in that vapor? Research results presented during #GFN19 – The Global Forum on Nicotine show that the vapor made from heating tobacco is far less toxic than cigarette smoke, although it contains the same amount of nicotine. The level of carcinogenic compounds is at least 10 times lower.
A world without cigarettes?
Sweden is at the forefront of the countries that are liberating themselves from habitual smoking. Surveys show that the proportion of Swedes aged 30-44 smokers fell below 5% last year. How is this possible? How is it possible? The so-called snus is very popular in Sweden. These are bags of powdered tobacco which are put up
in the mouth under the lip. As many as 18% of Swedes use this form of supplying nicotine to the body. It is much healthier than cigarettes, as statistics show – Swedish citizens suffer less than other Europeans from lung, oral and pancreatic cancer, among others. Nevertheless, in other EU countries the production and sale of snus is prohibited. Finland also wants to be a cigarette-free country until 2040. Authorities there however are actively trying to achieve this mainly by prohibiting smoking in public places, reducing the availability of tobacco products and the possibility of advertising it. Will it work? We will see.