You want to quit smoking. You know that there’s a thing called vaping. But there are a lot of questions on your mind.
-Is vaping bad for me?
You ask, rightfully.
After all, if smoking was not bad for us, we wouldn’t want to quit.
-What if vaping is just as bad?
You don’t want to jump out of the frying pan into the fire.
Fret not, friend.
There is a lot of misinformation about the dangers of vaping. Most of these come from the mainstream media. Some of them come from just hearsay.
I will walk you through all your doubts about vaping.
I will present you the research done by reputable doctors, professors, and institutions.
Throughout this article I will show you the answers to these questions:
- Is Vaping Safe?
- Does Vaping Cause Cancer?
- Does Vaping Damage Your Heart?
- Can Vaping Cause Nicotine Poisoning?
- Does Vaping Raise Blood Pressure?
- Does Vaping Cause Popcorn Lungs?
- Does Vaping Harm Your Respiratory Functioning?
- Will Vaping Harm Your Loved Ones?
- Will You Gain Weight If You Quit Smoking And Switch To Vaping?
By the time you finish reading this article, you will know more than 99.9% of the population about e-cigarette health effects. So, read on.
Is Vaping Safe?
On 28 April 2016, Royal College of Physicians published a report called Nicotine without smoke: Tobacco harm reduction.
According to the report, e-cigarettes are at least 20 times safer than smoking:
Provision of the nicotine that smokers are addicted to without the harmful components of tobacco smoke can prevent most of the harm from smoking.
The hazard to health arising from long-term vapour inhalation from the e-cigarettes available today is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco.
The report finds it important to promote the use of e-cigarettes as a substitute for smoking:
Smoking is the biggest avoidable cause of death and disability, and social inequality in health, in the UK.
However, in the interests of public health it is important to promote the use of e-cigarettes, NRT and other non-tobacco nicotine products as widely as possible as a substitute for smoking in the UK.
Another report’ published on 19 August 2015 by Public Health England (English Government Agency) is called E-cigarettes: an evidence update.
According to the report, e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking.
There has been an overall shift towards the inaccurate perception of e-cigarettes being as harmful as cigarettes over the last year in contrast to the current expert estimate that using e-cigarettes is around 95% safer than smoking.
This report also agrees to encourage smokers to switch to vaping.
Smokers who have tried other methods of quitting without success could be encouraged to try e-cigarettes (EC) to stop smoking and stop smoking services should support smokers using EC to quit by offering them behavioural support.
Encouraging smokers who cannot or do not want to stop smoking to switch to EC could help reduce smoking related disease, death and health inequalities.
Does Vaping Cause Cancer?
The main function of e-cigarettes is delivering nicotine to your body. According to World Health Organization (WHO), nicotine is not a carcinogen.
Nicotine is the addictive component of tobacco. Nicotine itself is not a carcinogen
Public Health England report debunks all the mainstream media news about e-cigarettes being carcinogen. These news were based on a couple of bogus studies. The scientists of Public Health England carefully analyzed these allegations and concluded that these allegations are false and misleading. Here’s the relevant part:
In November 2014, following a press release from Japan , major media around the world reported variations of a headline: “E-cigarettes contain 10 times the carcinogens of regular tobacco”.
This was based on a Japanese researcher reporting at a press conference that during tests on a number of EC brands, one product was identified which released 10 times more formaldehyde than cigarettes. The press release states that the formaldehyde was released when the e-liquid was over-heated. The study has not been published yet and so no further details are available, but the two experiments described below provide the explanation for this finding.
In January 2015, a similar report was published as a research letter to the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) . In this study, negligible levels of formaldehyde were released at lower EC settings, but when a third generation EC (EC with variable power settings) was set to the maximum power and the apparatus was set to take puffs lasting 3–4 seconds, this generated levels of formaldehyde that, if inhaled in this way throughout the day, would exceed formaldehyde levels in cigarette smoke between five and 15 times.
The EC was puffed by the puffing machine at a higher power and longer puff duration than vapers normally use. It is therefore possible that the e-liquid was overheated to the extent that it was releasing novel thermal degradation chemicals. Such overheating can happen during vaping when the e-liquid level is low or the power too high for a given EC coil or puff duration. Vapers call this phenomenon ‘dry puff’ and it is instantly detected due to a distinctive harsh and acrid taste (it is detected by vapers, but not by puffing machines) . This poses no danger to either experienced or novice vapers, because dry puffs are aversive and are avoided rather than inhaled.
A study has just been published testing the hypothesis that the NEJM report used dry puffs . An equivalent EC product was set to the same or normal settings and used by seven vapers. The vapers found it usable at normal settings, but all received dry puffs and could not use the device at the settings used in the NEJM report . The product was then machine tested. At the dry puff setting, formaldehyde was released at levels reported in the NEJM letter and the Japanese press release. At normal settings, there was no or negligible formaldehyde release.
We are aware of two studies that examined aldehyde levels in vapers. In a cross- sectional study, vapers had much lower levels of acrolein and crotonaldehyde in urine than smokers . The other study, funded by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), examined changes in acrolein levels in smokers who switched to exclusive EC use and in those who continued to smoke while also using EC. As both EC and cigarettes release acrolein, there was a concern that ‘dual users’ may increase their acrolein intake compared to smoking only. The results showed a substantial decrease in acrolein intake in smokers who switched to EC, but it also found a significant decrease in acrolein intake in dual users (ie people that were both smoking and vaping). This was because they reduced their smoke intake as indexed by exhaled CO levels. Normal vaping generated negligible aldehyde levels .
The substances found in e-cigarette vapor other than nicotine are either non-existent or at negligible levels.
Does Vaping Damage Your Heart?
On 25 Aug 2012, European Society of Cardiology reported a study with the headline: Electronic cigarettes do not damage the heart.
Here’s the conclusion of the study:
Conclusions: Although regular smoking leads to an acute impairment of left ventricular function, the use of e-cigarette for inhaling nicotine-containing liquid exerts no acute adverse effects on cardiac function.
Can Vaping Cause Nicotine Poisoning?
According to the Public Health England’s 19 August 2015 report, E-Cigarettes used as intended poses no risk of nicotine poisoning to users.
Fatal nicotine poisoning is extremely rare. Even when you use a very high nicotine e-juice (36 mg), you will be safe from nicotine poisoning.
Here’s the relevant part of the report:
Nicotine in the form of tobacco and more recently NRT has been available to thousands of millions of people and large numbers of them, including small children, have ingested considerable doses of nicotine. Fatal nicotine poisoning, however, is extremely rare. This fact strongly contradicts the often-repeated claim that an ingestion of 30-60mg of nicotine is fatal. The source of this claim proved difficult to locate – textbooks just cite older textbooks. Eventually, the assertion was found to be based on dubious self-experiments conducted in the 1890s .
Apart from accidental poisoning, nicotine has also been used in suicide attempts. Suicide attempts with large amounts of pesticides containing nicotine sulphate often succeed  but completed suicides using e-liquids are extremely rare. Where adults drank up to 1,500mg of nicotine in e-liquid, the result was vomiting and recovery within a few hours .
The accuracy of labelling of nicotine content currently raises no major concerns. Poorly labelled e-liquid and e-cartridges mostly contained less nicotine than declared.
When used as intended, EC pose no risk of nicotine poisoning to users, but e- liquids should be in ‘childproof’ packaging. The accuracy of nicotine content labeling currently raises no major concerns.
E-liquid normally comes in 10ml bottles containing up to 360mg of nicotine (see below). This poses no risk to vapers if used as intended. The liquid however should be in ‘childproof’ packaging to prevent small children, who may find the flavouring appealing, from drinking it.
I also have been using high nicotine e-juice for 3 years.
High-nicotine e-juice will substantially increase your odds of success for quitting smoking by switching to vaping.
Does Vaping Raise Your Blood Pressure?
There are numerous studies showing the opposite. I picked the most important study for this article.
On February 2016, Internal and Emergency Medicine published a study called Effect of continuous smoking reduction and abstinence on blood pressure and heart rate in smokers switching to electronic cigarettes.
The study found that smokers who switched to vaping did not have elevated blood pressure. In the long term, they may even lower their blood pressure:
In conclusion, smokers who reduce or quit smoking by switching to e-cigarettes may lower their systolic BP in the long term, and this reduction is apparent in smokers with elevated BP. The current study adds to the evidence that quitting smoking with the use of e-cigarettes does not lead to higher BP values, and this is independently observed whether e-cigarettes are regularly used or not.
If you quit (or cut down) smoking and switch to vaping, you will probably see a decrease in your blood pressure.
My blood pressure went down by 20% too, after switching to vaping.
Does Vaping Cause Popcorn Lungs?
This is another scaremongering jumped on by the lying mainstream media.
A substance called diacetyl which was found in some popcorn flavors caused a disease called Popcorn Lungs.
Media stream media published stories that diacetyl was also found in some flavored e-cigarette juice.
The reality is of course much different than what the dishonest mainstream media claims.
There are millions of e-cigarette users around the world and there has not been a single popcorn lungs issue. Don’t buy the lies of the media.
Does Vaping Harm Your Respiratory Functioning?
Your breathing will improve significantly if you quit smoking and switch to vaping.
Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide. That’s what makes you short of breath. E-cigarette vapor doesn’t have it.
I had zero problems with breathing after I quit smoking and started vaping.
This study also found that asthma patients who switched from smoking to vaping had significant improvements in symptoms and in respiratory function.
The e-cig may help smokers with asthma to reduce their cigarette consumption or remain abstinent and hence reduce the burden of smoking-related asthma symptoms. The positive findings observed with e-cigs allows us to advance the hypothesis that these products may be valuable for smoking cessation and/or tobacco harm reduction also in asthma patients who smoke. Large randomized controlled trials are now needed to confirm and expand these preliminary observations.
Will Vaping Harm Your Loved Ones?
I know that smokers are worried about harming other people with the second-hand smoke. Especially their loved ones. Most especially, the kids.
Will switching to e-cigarettes solve this problem? Is there any harm to bystanders with second-hand vape?
You can rest assured that the answer is NO.
I will let the research talk about this. This is what Public Health England reports on this subject:
The main concern with nicotine in EC (E-Cigarette) relates to the question of whether EC use exposes users or bystanders to the risk of nicotine poisoning.
We identified five studies of nicotine in ambient air, 14 studies of nicotine in e-liquid and nine studies of nicotine vapour.
Goniewicz and Lee 2014 found that nicotine from EC vapour gets deposited on surfaces, but at very low levels . This poses no concerns regarding exposure to bystanders. At the highest concentration recorded (550 μg/m2), an infant would need to lick over 30 square metres of exposed surface to obtain 1mg of nicotine.
EC use releases negligible levels of nicotine into ambient air with no identified health risks to bystanders.
EC are likely to be much less, if at all, harmful to users or bystanders.
Will You Gain Weight If You Quit Smoking And Switch To Vaping?
It’s a proven fact that smokers gain weight after they quit.
The real reason people gain weight after they quit smoking is, there is nothing to occupy their hands and mouths when they are not eating. So they start eating more and gain weight.
This is not the case with e-cigarettes.
On 5 January 2016, a study called Evaluation of Post Cessation Weight Gain in a 1-Year Randomized Smoking Cessation Trial of Electronic Cigarettes was published on US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
The scientists studied the weight gain effects of quitting smoking by switching to vaping.
They found that e-cigarettes successfully fought back against the dreaded weight gain after quitting smoking.
Here’s the conclusion of the study:
By substantially reducing tobacco consumption and minimizing post-cessation weight gain, E-Cigarette-based interventions may improve smokers’ overall cardiovascular and metabolic risk profile
My experience has been better.
I didn’t gain any weight after I quit smoking and switched to e-cigarettes. In fact, it’s the opposite.
My exercise capacity skyrocketed after I quit smoking. I started exercising more and more, so I lost weight.
There is no reason you can’t do it too.
I hope I answered all of your questions related to your health about vaping. If you have other questions feel free to comment and I will try to answer.
This article was originally published on E-Cigarette Breakthrough.