A few decades ago, smoking was thought to be suave, sophisticated, and even healthy! Nowadays there’s more information than ever on how terrible cigarettes are for your health. Unfortunately, so many people are addicted to cigarettes and trying to kick the habit. According to recent statistics, 7 out of 10 smokers are either wanting or trying to quit. Due to the addiction to nicotine, this can be an extremely difficult task that some say just isn’t worth it. E-cigarettes and vapes have been a popular way to refrain from smoking cigarettes as it's a similar nicotine delivery system and it produces clouds (similar to cigarette smoke). But instead of quitting cigarettes entirely, some smokers simply add it into their daily routine. Worse yet, non-smokers jump on the vape wagon and become part of the growing population that uses nicotine on a daily basis. If you’re on the fence about vaping, keep reading to see if vaping is right for you.
VAPING: IS IT BETTER THAN CIGARETTES?
We’ve all been told that smoking cigarettes is bad for your health. But did you know that the smoke from cigarettes affects nearly every organ, from your lungs to your brain to your heart? Smoking (including secondhand smoke) has been linked to at least 33% of all heart disease deaths. But what exactly does vaping affect? The raw and honest answer is...we don’t know. Vape juice is made up of vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, flavoring, and nicotine. The nicotine is extracted from tobacco and can come in several different strengths (0mg, 3mg, 6mg are the most popular), whereas cigarettes only have one strength and even that isn’t an exact number. All of the ingredients in vape juice are heated to produce a plume of aerosol known as vapor that is usually pleasant to smell and inhale. Very little is known about the long term effects of vaping, but it’s safe to say that while you are exposing yourself to chemicals from the vapor, it’s undoubtedly less than the amount of chemicals in a traditional cigarette.
BUT WHAT ABOUT ALL THOSE PEOPLE WHO GOT SICK FROM VAPING?
You may remember a few months ago when there was an outbreak of people getting sick from “vaping” and there was talk of shutting down all forms of e-cigs, vape juice, and anything vape related. You can read more about that story here. However, vapers rose up in fury and insisted that there was another culprit at the heart of all of these illnesses and deaths. Sure enough, it turned out that vapers were adding THC to their vape devices. These THC additives were usually black market products and contained a thickening agent called Vitamin E acetate. Vitamin E isn’t harmful when used properly in foods and prescribed medicine, but once inhaled, it presents a difficulty in breathing and can cause permanent damage to the lungs known as EVALI. Vaping THC is never recommended, especially when obtained from informal sources like friends, family, or unlicensed dealers. The CDC cautions against using any device and THC e-liquid, as well as modifying or adding substances that aren’t regulated.
CAN I GET ADDICTED TO VAPING E-CIGS?
The short answer is yes; you can get addicted to nearly anything that you use on a daily basis. Americans are addicted to sugar, alcohol, sleep, and many other things. If you know you’re easily addicted to things, the best advice we can give you is “don’t start.” But one fascinating thing about vaping is that it comes in different nicotine strengths. If you’re looking to quit smoking but don’t think you can do it cold turkey, you can start out with nic-salts first. Nic salt e-liquids were designed to be used by heavy smokers in order to satisfy that need for deep nicotine hits. Nic salts come as high as 50mg of nicotine, but you can gradually reduce it over a period of time until you have 0mg nicotine in your vape juice. Once you get to that level, you may just enjoy the flavor and the amount of clouds enough to keep vaping. Or you can quit vaping entirely and be thankful that vaping helped you to finally quit using cigarettes entirely.
WHAT ABOUT NICOTINE? IS IT AS BAD AS THEY SAY?
Nicotine is an addictive substance, no matter how much or how little you use. Cigarette brands vary greatly in how much nicotine is in each cigarette, whereas vape e-liquid states it clearly on the packaging. You can choose how much nicotine to use, and the different wattages may deliver a stronger hit of nicotine if you need it. Nicotine is the reason you may experience withdrawal symptoms (crankiness, headaches, etc.) if you try to ignore the cravings. Nicotine is known to raise blood pressure and spike adrenaline, which leads to an increased heart rate. All of this increases your chances of having a heart attack, especially if you already have underlying health conditions. But can vaping alone be deemed as the cause? While most vapers are quick to say “No! Of course not!” in defense of their beloved vape juice and box mods, we’re still learning about the long-term effects of vaping. If you use vaping as a cessation tool, you shouldn’t be vaping and smoking cigarettes in tandem. If you’re not a smoker, you shouldn’t start vaping. Certain types of asthma are triggered by both vaping and cigarettes, so you’ll need to be extremely careful if you know you have asthma or have suffered from it in the past.
ARE E-CIGS FDA APPROVED?
The Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve e-cigs as an acceptable form of smoking cessation device. There isn’t a confirmed reason as to why not, but it’s possible that since many people end up using both cigarettes and e-cigs in tandem, e-cigs don’t actually help you stop smoking entirely. Other forms of nicotine cessation include gum, patches, creams, etc. that deliver a hit of nicotine that isn’t oral. Since vape pens, box mods and tanks, and nic-salt pods all utilize some type of aerosol, it’s very similar to smoking a cigarette and extremely easy to incorporate into your daily smoking routine. If your end game is truly to stop smoking, vaping may be an extremely helpful choice. But if you’re someone who flippantly says you’ll stop smoking eventually and look at vaping as something that tastes and smells better, vaping may not be your best choice. Both smoking and vape devices deliver nicotine; however, one is confirmed to be toxic and dangerous to your health (cigarettes) while the other (vaping) is still in the early stages of learning the long-term health issues and detriments.
WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS?
While vaping has helped lower the cigarette smoking rates nationwide, it’s also come at a steep price. The use of e-cigs among high school students alone has skyrocketed to 900%, according to a report filed by the U.S. surgeon general in 2015. Of that 900% increase, more than 40% of these students had never smoked traditional tobacco products. There are a few reasons why this statistic is so incredibly high. The introduction of flavored e-liquids, in addition to the elimination of harsh smoke scent and tar in cigarettes, has made vaping extremely popular with young people. Teens are also under the impression that since smoking is bad, vaping is not. Lastly, teens are able to easily acquire vape devices in convenience stores and gas stations across the country, usually for quite a bit less than the cost of cigarettes.
This is incredibly frustrating for vapers nationwide who are respectful of the strict age requirements in storefront vape shops and online vape sites. The benefits of eliminating cigarettes from your daily use and using vape devices as a successful smoking cessation device is overshadowed by the thousands of underage vapers who simply like the sweet taste and scent of the clouds. The solution? There really isn’t one. States across the nation are struggling to find the fine line of balance, sometimes even disagreeing within their own cities. For example, some states have banned the sale of all flavored e-liquids, aside from nicotine and menthol. Other states have dictated that only certified shops can carry vaping products, usually charging a steep state tax as well. The new age of vaping was changed to 21 to prevent teens and young adults from easily acquiring vape products. New laws are being enforced to ensure the safety of teens and adults across the nation.
While they may seem frustrating and inconvenient at times, these laws are the result of a huge uptick in vaping and an extreme plummet of cigarette sales. Awareness is finally raised on how dangerous smoking cigarettes is, but there is still much to be learned about vaping. The long term effects and chemicals inhaled in vape juice has yet to be finalized. So much speculation is circulating, making it easy to think that vaping is every bit (if not more) dangerous and harmful than cigarettes are. But just as with any new thing, it will take time to figure out the true pro’s and con’s of vaping. Hopefully this article has helped shed some light on some common questions. The media likes to paint vaping in a terrible light because there’s not enough information on vaping and that scares them. Let’s prove them wrong by rallying together in the comments and sharing our stories on how much vaping has helped us? We love to hear from fellow vapes and read encouraging comments about your success. As always, may your tank be full of delicious e-juice and your clouds infused with delightful flavors!