While vaping is not a substitute for smoking, some researchers are optimistic about its health benefits. They have compared the risks of smoking to vaping, and concluded that adults can quit smoking by using vaping products. The researchers used a computer simulation to determine the number of life-years saved by vaping users by the year 2070. If these findings are confirmed, vaping will become the smoking cessation method of choice for many smokers.
But is it really a safe alternative or might it be just safer than smoking?
Health risks of vaping
Some of the e-liquids used in vaporizers contain carcinogens. A CDC report warns against using products that contain these chemicals, including those made for adults. The health risks of vaping are also associated with vitamin E acetate, a common additive found in some e-liquids. The vitamin E acetate can interfere with the normal function of the lung. According to the CDC, e-cigarettes with THC or vitamin E acetate in the liquid contain this compound.
The nicotine in e-cigarettes has a high concentration, which can damage normal airway cells. Additionally, the vapor from e-cigarettes can affect immune cells in the lungs. Both of these conditions are precursors to cancer. Even when vaping is not accompanied by other tobacco products, the risk of e-cigarettes is still high. But this doesn’t mean that vaping is completely harmless.
Although the risk of cancer from e-cigarettes is relatively low, as far as we know, some studies have found that it can worsen certain conditions, such as lung and heart disease. Researchers have also found that vapers with a high blood pressure risk are more likely to have a heart attack than those who don’t smoke. Until more studies are done, the vaping industry can continue to develop its products. And until then the benefits of e-cigarettes are still unclear, which seems to many people like the health risks are worth a try.
The only healthy way is to quit smoking entirely, and not rely on other products with unknown health effects as a substitute.
Comparison between vaping and traditional smoking
When comparing traditional smoking and vaping, it is important to know that one does not necessarily prevent the other from contributing to lung damage. In fact, both tobacco and vaping have similar health risks, especially when adolescent use is involved. However, vaping is much safer than smoking because the vapor produced is composed of a chemical instead of burnt tobacco. Despite this, it is still harmful because it exposes a person to the same risks as smoking.
According to the findings of this study, compared to smokers who were asked to smoke for 30 minutes, vapers had less elevated inflammatory indices. Smoking has long been associated with an increase in white blood cell count, which is a sign of acute inflammatory load. The authors confirmed that the increase in white blood cell counts after vaping was correlated with an increase in lymphocyte and granulocyte count.
CDC’s recent statistics revealed that a 1,000% increase in disposable e-cigarettes has been observed among high school students. While the new law did prohibit the sale of flavored disposable e-cigarette cartridges, the ban does not cover e-cigarettes in general. However, flavored vapes are thought to be particularly toxic. The study’s authors believe that removing the flavors of these products will decrease the number of smokers who will consider e-cigarettes for smoking cessation.
Comparative risk of vaping vs. traditional smoking
In the last two years, a study published in the journal Cancer Prevention and Control has found that the proportion of adults who consider e-cigarettes to be less harmful than cigarettes has decreased by a large margin. This result is in contrast to the previous year, when a larger percentage of adults perceived e-cigarettes as equally harmful. And it has also shown that the proportion of current smokers who regarded e-cigarettes as more harmful than cigarettes remained relatively constant.
To determine the relative risks of vaping and traditional smoking, researchers looked at both direct and indirect risk questions. During the 2014 TPRPS study, they found that only 17% of adults perceived e-cigarettes as less harmful than cigarettes. This result differed from the estimated proportions based on HINTS data, suggesting that tobacco companies should report on both types of comparative risk. MRTP applications may not adequately capture these risks.
In addition to the increased risk of COVID-19, studies on the health effects of vaping were conducted on young people. In particular, they found that youth who smoked cigarettes and vaped cigarettes were at a greater risk of developing COVID-19 than those who smoked cigarettes only. But those results were not conclusive. Further research is necessary to determine if vaping can lead to an increased risk of lung cancer.