Ah, the good old dilemma: vaping vs. smoking.
It sometimes reminds me of a never-ending boxing match. In one corner, we have inveterate smokers, who claim that vaping is expensive and not effective or satisfactory at all. In another corner, which you can barely see because of that thick fog, there are vapers, who insist on e-cigs being completely safe, harmless, and super satisfactory.
Who is right?
Of course, the wisest people say that you shouldn’t smoke anything in the first place. But we’re not here to listen to them. It’s too late for that advice.
We are here to clear up which one is actually better: smoking or vaping? Let’s dig a bit deeper and find out.
The Main Difference Between Vaping and Smoking
Now, to understand this whole question “To be or not to be, to smoke or to vape”, first we need to figure out the basics. How does vaping differ from smoking?
The answer is simple. Smoking involves using a regular cigarette that features tobacco, a paper filter, and a paper wrap. It also implies inhaling, well, the actual smoke. Vaping, on the other hand, involves inhaling vapor (which is explained by its name), which is the result of an e-liquid being vaporized under the influence of the heat. Vaping devices come in numerous shapes, sizes, and styles but usually have standard construction: a battery, a heating element, an e-juice reservoir, and an atomizer (or a cartomizer). A vaping device can be shaped like a regular cigarette and even have a filter drawn on it for a more realistic effect. They also come in a shape of a square mod, an e-cigarette, and even in the form of a smoking pipe.
According to recent estimations, America makes up more than 42% of the total vape users in the world.
Let’s Look at the Numbers: Smoking and Vaping Stats in the US
While vaping becomes more and more popular these days, smoking doesn’t really surrender its position. Just to give you a general idea, let’s look at the statistics:
- 15% of the adult residents of the US smoke regular cigarettes, which is more than 36 million people.
- More than 75% of those (27 million) smoke every single day.
- However, 10 years ago the number of smokers was bigger – 21% of the American population.
- There are approximately 9 million vapers in the US, but this number keeps growing.
- America is the leading vaping market in the world.
Obviously, the number of vapers keeps growing. Why does this happen? Some think that switching from regular cigarettes to vaping is a healthier choice, others want to try all flavors of the e-juice, and some simply enjoy blowing huge clouds. If you are still smoking, try to switch using pod vapes after reading our review.
And one thing that’s clear is that the majority of people believe that vaping is better than smoking. Are they right? In this vaping vs. cigarettes battle, which one would win? To answer this question, we should look at all aspects.
What You Inhale: The Chemicals Found in Cigarettes and Vaping Juice
When looking at the vaping vs. smoking comparison, one of the most important factors is the components and substances that get into our bodies. This is what directly influences our health and well-being. And let’s be honest:
When we know what we receive with each inhale, only then we can be sure that we are making the most responsible and conscious choice.
Now, let’s start with cigarettes since they’ve been around much longer.
I don’t mean to scare you, but the truth is that each cigarette contains thousands (and I am not exaggerating) of chemical components, each of which has a certain influence on a human body. More than 20 of those chemical components are carcinogens, which means they are closely related to causing cancer. They include:
- nicotine (not only harmful but also extremely addictive);
- formaldehyde(one of the most famous carcinogens);
- hydrogen cyanide (it’s just poison in case you didn’t know);
- polonium (a radioactive material);
- and so on.
If that sounds scary, I totally get it. Read this guide to see if you can discover a better option for yourself.
Those names might not mean anything to you (I mean, we’re not all chemists), but what you should remember is that those components are closely linked to causing cancer, lung disease, and heart illnesses. They appear when tobacco starts burning, and they also take part in creating the smoke.
In America, more than 16 million people live with diseases that are related to smoking.
Now, if you, my fellow vapers, think that you are sitting on a lovely, flavorful, harmless cloud, and have nothing to worry about, I’ve got some bad news for you. Your favorite e-juice isn’t as safe as you probably think it is. However, the number of harmful substances found in e-juices is way smaller than those thousands of dangerous components found in regular cigarettes. The number of carcinogens in the e-liquid is also smaller. Now, the most common chemicals include:
- nicotine (although some e-juices don’t contain it);
- propylene glycol;
- vegetable glycerol;
The majority of other chemicals are related to flavor and often belong to food flavor enhancers, which are considered to be safe to consume. Still, you can’t be 100% sure those are completely safe for you.
Obviously, when talking about chemical components, in this vaping vs. cigarettes battle the winner is vaping.
Health Issues and Safety
Here’s the deal:
When looking at vaping vs. smoking, the way these two methods influence your health should be the most important criterion. It’s not a secret that we all want to live long and feel great. So, let’s see which method will be less likely to completely ruin your well-being.
There are approximately 9 million vape users in the US and more than 36 million smokers.
I’m beginning with smoking once again since we’re more used to it. The list of the negative consequences can be endless here, to be honest, but we don’t need all of them. Let’s look at the most common and the most dangerous ones:
- Smoking causes cancer. This is a well-known fact, which can’t surprise anyone anymore. However, being used to the fact that smoking can cause lung cancer, we sometimes forget (or aren’t aware of this) that it can also result in leukemia (blood cancer), stomach, cervix, kidney, bladder, colon, trachea, and throat cancer.
- Strokes and numerous heart diseases are linked to smoking. And the nicotine isn’t the only villain here. Other chemical components in smoke play just the same – if not bigger – part in the way they influence the heart badly.
- This one is obvious: smoking causes lung diseases. Asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis are on top of the list, which is quite long. Not to scare you, but the worst thing is the fact that such lung illnesses are progressing, which means even if you quit smoking, the condition of your lungs may get worse anyway.
If you sometimes ask yourself “Is vaping better than smoking?”, there’s something I want to tell you.
Yes, vaping is better than smoking when we talk about the health issues these two methods cause.
Yes, there are carcinogens found in an e-juice, but the number of those harmful components is not as large as in regular cigarettes. Possible effects include:
- dehydration (dry skin, mouth, eyes, sore and scratchy throat);
- racing heart;
- impaired wound healing.
You can see now that vaping isn’t all flowers and rainbow. It can also be harmful, and the level of the damage it causes will depend not only on the e-juice components but also on the temperatures at which you vape. The higher the temperature of the e-juice when you vape, the more toxins are released and get straight into your body. This is especially sad news for people who enjoy dripping. You see, when you drip, the liquid gets directly on the coils and heats up a lot, which means it releases more harmful components. Some doctors claim that dripping can transform even the harmless components of the e-juice into toxic ones.
There are over 20 million vapers worldwide.
I know, this doesn’t sound good. And please don’t hate me, I’m just a messenger. However, this helps us answer the main question we’ve been thinking about. Even though being rather harmful, vaping is still better than smoking those super toxic cigarettes that contain and release thousands of dangerous elements.
Other Safety Concerns
We already know what both regular cigarettes and vaping devices can do to our bodies. However, the safety concerns don’t simply end there. When looking at the vaping vs. smoking dilemma, we should keep in mind that both these methods can turn into a potential hazard. How, you may ask?
It’s simple. A regular cigarette can cause a fire, and a vaping device can explode in your hand. You might be thinking that I’m silly, but hear me out.
Each year, more than 90,000 fires occur because of a lit cigarette left unattended. You have probably heard stories about people falling asleep in their beds with a cigarette between their fingers and then waking up in an emergency room (or even not waking up at all). And I bet you’ve seen people throwing a lit, half-smoked cigarette on the side of the road. Some people do that on the beach. Some do that during a picnic. You see where this is going, right?
Vaping laws vary depending on the state. However, the general rule is that electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices should be regulated like a tobacco product.
Leaving a lit cigarette unattended can cause a fire in your apartment, house, or a park where you enjoy spending warm Sunday afternoons. And yes, I realize that you may be a super responsible adult smoker, who puts out his or her cigarette, crushes it just to make sure it’s not lit anymore, and then even checks the trashcan to make sure the cigarette didn’t cause a fire in there. Still, we can all be inattentive sometimes. And such probabilities need to be taken into account.
As for e-cigs, they aren’t that innocent either. The main issue is, of course, with the batteries. To put it simply, the battery can explode anytime, anywhere. This might happen during charging or while you vape and hold it in your hand. You can imagine how unpleasant that is, right? In the majority of cases, explosions happen when a battery is being overcharged. However, some malfunctions may happen on their own, so this point is important to remember.
To be honest, when looking at the vaping vs. smoking dilemma, I always think about how much money I used to spend on cigarettes. And I wasn’t a very serious smoker. It dreads me to think about people who can smoke two or even three packs in one day. How much do they spend each year? Millions?
Still, I realize that vaping can be pricey as well. Especially if you, just like me, enjoy testing out new products, experimenting, buying new coils, and simply adding more stuff to your endless collection of vaping devices and accessories (I mean, I think I will have to move into a bigger apartment in order to properly store all of the devices that I have). Can you imagine how much money we spend?
America is the biggest vape market in the world with more than 9 million users who spend over $3.7 billion dollars per year on vaping devices and other related products.
To get a clear picture, let’s take a look at some numbers:
- A pack of regular cigarettes costs around $13 (on average). Let’s assume that a regular smoker has to buy 5 packs every week (again, this is an average number based on the general statistics). This results in $3,120 per year. That’s a lot, right? You could go travelling with the money. Or buy a new acoustic system. Or simply pay the rent.
- To buy a vaping starter kit, which will last you at least a year, you need to spend around $50 (there are cheaper options, but for $50 you can get yourself a rather decent device). Once you have your starter kit, all you need to add is the e-juice, which costs around $15. You will probably need a new bottle every week, which results in spending $60 every month and $720 each year.
Even though e-cigarettes contain less harmful components than the regular ones, it doesn’t mean that vaping is completely safe. E-juices may contain nicotine, heavy metals, and cancer-causing substances.
After you’ve seen the numbers, you have probably already made a conclusion, right? It is obvious that vaping is a cheaper option. However, keep in mind that people who switch to vaping from smoking regular cigarettes tend to vape a lot more than they used to smoke, which may result in spending more money on the e-juice, spare parts, and accessories for their vaping device.
Let’s Think About Our Lovely Planet: Environmental Issues
I know, this isn’t the most crucial criterion for the majority of people. However, there are those who want to take care of the world they are living in. And, when it comes to comparing vaping vs. smoking, these people want to make sure that they are making the most environmentally friendly choice possible. So, this part is for you, my dear conservationists.
Now, we all know what cigarette filters and wraps are made from, right? Wood. Millions of trees are cut every day solely for the purpose of making cigarettes. Plus, cigarette filters are the most common and overwhelmingly prevalent trash that can be found anywhere: on street pavements, in the sand on the beach, in the water, in parks and woods, and so on.
Vaping has the potential to benefit people who want to stop smoking but can’t do that easily. It is common for smokers to switch to the nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, and then use only nicotine-free e-juices.
Vaping devices (their parts like bottles and coils) also turn into trash within time. However, I haven’t seen a vaper throw his or her device, wicking, or e-juice bottle on the ground. But I’ve seen plenty of people doing that with their cigarettes.
So, is vaping better than smoking? Yes. Doctors and researchers agree that e-cigs are 95% safer than regular tobacco cigarettes. You probably agree with them by now. Another interesting fact: vaping can actually help you quit smoking. Even though not being completely safe, e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative, which can assist you in getting rid of your nicotine addiction.
So, if you want to swap the cigarettes to the nicotine-free e-juice and a trusty little vaping device, do that. However, if you don’t smoke and don’t vape (in general, don’t have such a bad habit), you probably shouldn’t start vaping. Or smoking. Because both of them are harmful, even though one does less harm than the other one.