The Difference between Vaping and Smoking


what is vaping? Vaping has often been linked to smoking. Though the concept is the same, these practices are very distinct from one another. Indeed, the idea of vaping was conceptualized as a less-harmful practice than smoking. It was specifically designed to help people intending to quit smoking and for the most part, we can say it has delivered on that front. This means that though both of them may come with certain inherent dangers, smoking is obviously the more dangerous of the two practices.

Unfortunately though, much of the findings on how effective vaping is in terms of quitting smoking is purely anecdotal. However, there are lots of active research on the possible benefits and dangers of vaping. According to this report by the Public-Health England, vaping may be up to 95 percent less harmful than smoking. However, in order to fully compare the benefits of vaping against smoking, it is imperative to understand the harmful effects of each practice in side-by-side comparisons.

Vaping and Your Cardiovascular Health

As we have already pointed out, vaping is significantly less harmful than cigarette smoking. However, since it involves the inhalation of foreign substances into your body, it could still impact your heart’s health in various ways. It is important to remember that most vaping liquids contain nicotine which is known to be a very addictive substance. Other notable ingredients include propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine.

Some of these substances are safe for consumption, which explains why they are normally included in various consumer products such as foods, kai, cosmetics, inhaled medicines and sweeteners. However, it is important to remember that e-liquid manufacturers are always experimenting with new flavors. So, without proper regulation, e-liquids could come with potentially harmful ingredients. A general advice is to do your due diligence on the ingredients of your preferred e-juice before buying it.

Is Vaping Linked to Cancer?

This is perhaps the most dreaded question among seasoned vapers. We all know that cigarette smoking contributes to a huge proportion of Americans dying of lung cancer. However, lung cancer is not the only form of cancer caused by cigarette smoking. It is important to remember that cancerous cells can either be local or neoplastic. When they are local, the cells attack tissues and cause damage to that particular tissue alone. When they are neoplastic and malignant, the tissue affected will be damaged and the cells will proliferate as they spread to nearby tissues. The whole body might become infected eventually. In fact, the Center for Disease-Control & Prevention believes that smoking cigarettes can lead to cancer of the lungs, blood and virtually any other part of the body.

So, should vapers also be worried? Yes, to some extent. Vapes contain some carcinogenic compounds, though they are not as pronounced as those in cigarettes. This 2017 research study that was published in the Tobacco Control journal revealed that vaping is less than 1 percent likely to cause cancer. The report went to suggest that the risk is almost equivalent to the risks carried by various pharmaceutical products such as nicotine patches. Much of these risks emanate from overheating the device, thereby producing carbonyls.

In another study that was published in the Mutation Research journal, studies were done on cigarette smoke and e-cig vapors. The two were investigated on their abilities to cause cell mutations and toxicity on bacteria. It was revealed that unlike e-cig vapors, cigarette smokes demonstrated a heightened ability to cause toxicity and mutations.

But here’s the best part. Contrary to popular perception, there are no provable scientific research suggesting that nicotine causes cancer. In fact, this report at the Royal-College of Physicians encourages the use of nicotine-replacement therapy due to the inability of the substance to cause cancer.

How Does Vaping Impact Your Lungs?

When it comes to cigarette smoking, the lungs are always on the receiving end. Cigarette smoke is believed to contain at least 70 different chemicals that are known to be carcinogenic. Also, there are particulate matter comprising of tiny bits of paper and tobacco. When these particles settle on our lungs, the resultant tissue damage may be irreversible. Cancer of the lungs and esophagus are the two most common types of cancers associated with long-term cigarette smoking. Not to mention other severe medical conditions such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary-disease, et cetera. And the worst part is, secondary smokers are also significantly affected. Thankfully, vaping does not result in the production of any serious carcinogenic chemicals, and less so in quantities that may be deemed harmful. Even better, there is no particulate matter involved.

It is also important to remember that there is no combustion in vaping. Instead, there is a coil that heats the e-liquid which is vaporized into an aerosol before being inhaled. This essentially means that harmful byproducts such as carbon monoxide and tar are not produced.

Be that as it may, vaping may still present some health implications. Though there are still active research studies on the possible harmful effects of major vaping e-liquid ingredients such as propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol is associated with bronchial and esophageal irritation.

A general advice is to vape in moderation and ensure you go for high-quality vaping devices and accessories. Also, investigate the ingredients comprising of an e-liquid before buying it.

What of Vaping Flavors?

Though there are limited research studies suggesting e-liquid flavorings could be harmful, the mere fact that they contain many chemicals is enough to raise some red flags. Flavorings have always been used in food products. This means their safety has often only been gauged in that respect, and not in how they impact our health when inhaled.

But recent scientific reports have been fairly damning on one particular group of compounds known as diketones. Diketones like diacetyl found in various brands of e-liquids are associated with popcorn lung, especially common among heavy vapers.

However, this 2014 study [] concluded that these harmful compounds can still be eliminated from vaping e-liquids. As such, most brands responded by excluding these and any other potentially harmful compounds from their e-liquids. For those that could not completely eliminate the compounds, the general convention was they clearly indicate the amount of diketones in their e-liquids. This way, regulators such as FDA and consumers can ascertain whether the e-liquid is still safe for vaping or not.


Needless to mention, there are up to 750 times the concentration of diketones in cigarettes than they are present in vapes. But even in cigarettes, they have never been known to present serious health issues. That means the negligible amounts present in vape juice should not be a subject of concern.


If you are a smoker struggling with giving up on the habit, you might consider vaping as the safer and cheaper alternative. And if you are a seasoned vaper, it is imperative that you always insist on high-quality vape accessories and approved e-liquids. Vaping devices should also be thoroughly cleaned and well-maintained.

You should also remember that though vaping is considered the less harmful alternative to cigarette smoking, that does not mean it is totally safe. That’s because much of its proof of safety is based on anecdotal as opposed to scientific evidence.
All in all, the surest way to stay safe is to not begin vaping or smoking in the first place.


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