Ecigarettes are often touted as a healthy alternative to tobacco cigarettes, but are they truly any better than the real thing and what side effects do they have?
It seems not a day goes by when the tabloids don’t publish an alarmist article about how ecigarettes are the worst health risk since real cigarettes, and with so much propaganda flying around the internet from both the pro and anti-vaping communities, it can be hard to get a straight answer on the safety of ecigarettes.
Thankfully, we’ve trawled through all the bullshit so you don’t have to. We’ve looked at the most trustworthy, contemporary medical studies currently available and scoured dozens of health statements from doctors to take a frank look at exactly how safe vaping is.
Ecigarettes Are Much Safer Than Tobacco Cigarettes
By now I have little doubt that every vaper on the planet has had at least one person approach them with a smirk and quip “don’t you know those things are even worse than cigarettes?” Well, according to British medical authorities, the smirkers are wrong.
Public Health England, a leading part of the British Department of Health has recently come out in favour of ecigarettes following an exhaustive and comprehensive medical study of the health effects of vaping. The study has stated that vaping is 95% healthier than tobacco cigarettes with lead researcher Professor Kevin Fenton adding “E-cigarettes are not completely risk-free but when compared to smoking, evidence shows they carry just a fraction of the harm”. Even anti-smoking charities such as Action on Smoking and Health have come out in favour of ecigarettes stating: “If every smoker switched overnight to electronic cigarettes many hundreds of thousands of premature deaths would be prevented in the years to come.”
Why is vaping so much safer than smoking, and where have the health concerns come from?
The major difference between electronic and tobacco cigarettes is that ecigs don’t actually burn anything and produce no smoke. By merely vapourise a solution made up of chemicals which have been safely used in asthma inhalers and food and medical supples for decades. Whereas cigarette smoke contains a cocktail of thousands of deadly and carcinogenic toxins as well as tar, ecig vapour contains almost none of these dangerous elements, which make them immeasurably safer.
That said, there are still potential health issues which vapers should be worried about, mostly pertaining to the long term effects of inhaling flavourings and the effects of vapour on our lung tissues. Ecigs have been on the market for 12 years now, and although there have been many detailed medical studies into the health effects, the reality is there still isn’t enough data to be able to conclusively say whether or not vaping is harmless or not.
Much of the fearmongering about ecigs come from hysterical newspaper coverage which often twists the findings of health studies, or health studies which have questionable methodologies. One notable example of this was the study which claimed that ecigs contained four times the formaldehyde of tobacco cigarettes. It actually turned out that the researchers had used a “smoking robot” (for want of a better term) which overheated the ecigarette far beyond what a human would be able to capable of inhaling which in turn melted components inside the ecigarette.
But Aren’t Ecigarettes Full of Dangerous Chemicals?
Ejuice, the liquid used to create ecig vapour, is made of two base chemicals, propylene gycol and vegetable glycerine. As scary as these bases sound, both are actually harmless and are widely used in asthma inhalers, food production and many medical applications.
Both propylene gycol and vegetale glycerine are recognised as harmless by the British and American health authorities.
You can read more about eliquid in our beginners’ guide to vaping.
Ecigarettes Contain Just as Much Nicotine as Cigarettes
Yes, they do, and this is sort of the point. Smokers and many vapers are addicted to nicotine, and while nicotine addiction isn’t something to be taken lightly, nicotine itself isn’t a particularly damaging component of smoking, with many leading healthcare professionals saying that nicotine is about as harmful as coffee.
Rather, the damage from smoking comes from the thousands of toxic chemicals smokers inhale alongside their nicotine. Vaping removes these deadly toxins, allowing nicotine addicts a much healthier way of satisfying their cravings.
That said, if you don’t smoke and are not already addicted to nicotine, you should not begin vaping, and if you are intent on vaping, choose a nicotine free eliquid so that you don’t become addicted.
Should I Begin Vaping?
If you are a smoker who is looking for a healthier alternative to smoking, undoubtedly. While vaping is not going to be harm-free, it is scientifically proven to do a tiny fraction of the harm of tobacco cigarettes.
If you are ready to make a change from smoking and want to start vaping, it is worth getting a good kit to make the transition as easy as possible. One of the most common reasons recent vaping converts go back to cigarettes is because they don’t enjoy vaping, and often this is because they bought sub-par vaping kits or low quality “ciga-lite” kits. We highly recommend looking at our recommended starter kits so that you can make an informed decision before you buy your first ecigarette.
Best Electronic Cigarette Starter Kits