The question about whether or not vaping is any better than smoking is old but is certainly still a valid issue, is vaping God’s gift to smokers or are we just choosing the lesser evil in vaporizers?
Thanks to today’s advancement in technology, we can now look at some of the research and clinical trials performed by trained professionals, medical practitioners, and physicians to provide us with a concrete and a solid answer to this decade-long dilemma. But to help us understand the difference between smoking and vaping let us first identify and put our finger on which is which.
Smoking is the custom and practice of inhaling smoke from burnt plant matter (it could be tobacco, cannabis, or any dried vegetable matter that’s suitable for smoking), by either drawing smoke from a pipe or a rolled paper which contains the said material. Smoke is created when dried plant matter is burned. A chemical reaction, known as combustion, takes place which produces oxidized, gaseous products as a reaction to the combination of heat, fuel, and oxygen. As the dried, loose-leaf material is burned and begins undergoing combustion, the atomic bond between these ground materials are broken which then results to the production of many toxic, chemical compounds that effectively mix with the smoke.
One of the most common and commercialized materials used in cigarettes are tobacco. Cigarette smoke from tobacco contains over 4,000 chemical compounds that are immediately absorbed by the lungs as you inhale them, which are then delivered into your bloodstreams to some of the most vital and in some cases vulnerable organs of your body. These chemicals include tar, carbon monoxide, and the infamous nicotine.
On the other end of the spectrum, we’ve got a tool which gives us the same exact sensation of inhaling plant matter through the process of vaporization. With vaporizers, your loose-leaf material is heated only enough so that the essences of the dried vegetable matter can be released in the form of vapor. Unlike your traditional cigarette, vaporizers use gusts of hot air to vaporize the materials without even getting close to the point of combustion. The products it generates – vapor – is thinner and is a tad less dense compared to actual smoke. Because vapor was produced without combustion, the active ingredients in both tobacco and cannabis are preserved and the harmful toxins which could have been the result of combustion are significantly reduced if not entirely eliminated.
As far as toxic by-products are concerned, vaporizers pose little to no threat to the human body as opposed to smoking. Studies show that the higher the temperature level involved in burning your plant matter, the dirtier the actual gaseous by-product will get. Furthermore, as the temperature levels rise, more heat is produced. The human lungs are not designed to tolerate temperature levels above 1,000 °F and prolonged exposure to extreme temperature levels may result to general respiratory issues. That’s why smokers often develop phlegm and are susceptible to persistent coughing or what is colloquially known as smoker’s cough.
While we can all agree that there’s no replacement to not smoking at all, many will approve that vaping is indeed the healthier alternative. And while we’ve seen a number of smokers turn to vaporizers in search of a healthier answer, there are still those who at the very least, doubt its efficacy and overall safety. Here are some myths about vaping versus smoking and the facts to prove them wrong.
Arguably one of the most famous controversies that brought vaporizers down to its lowest low is the accusation that vaporizers can cause popcorn lungs.
Popcorn lungs is the colloquial term for bronchiolitis obliterans, a fatal lung disease acquired by microwave popcorn factory workers and was the result of their long-term exposure to diacetyl, the chemical and artificial flavorings in edibles such as popcorns. Many e-liquids used in early vaporizers contained diacetyl which caused the general public to doubt and question the safety of using e-liquid vaporizers. Instead of actually being a healthy alternative, causing popcorn lungs may prove to be counter-productive. Although there are no reported incidents of vape users who claim to have had popcorn lungs within the past decade, many still became hesitant in switching from smoking to vaping.
While this may be true with earlier e-liquids, today’s vaporizer e-juices are now free from diacetyl. Today’s e-liquid products may not be extensively regulated as there are still many independent brewers who manufacture e-juices and e-liquids from their own backyard but the awareness raised against using diacetyl has greatly improved the quality of today’s e-liquid vaporizers.
Vaporizers and Their Insane Nicotine Levels
Whilst vaporizers do contain nicotine, the levels of nicotine in vaporizers liquids are measured in safe doses that are oftentimes used by previous smokers to help them do away with their nicotine addiction. That’s true, most smokers believe that nicotine is the main cause of cancer when in the actual fact, nicotine is the chemical compound in cigarettes that acts as either a sedative or a stimulant which causes your body to release dopamine. Because of the ephemeral sensation caused by nicotine, smokers tend to get addicted to it.
Although nicotine is found on both vaporizers e-liquids and cigarettes, the actual danger lies in the toxic substances produced by combustion. Smokers use vaporizers to help them decrease their nicotine dependency using e-liquids that fit their nicotine tolerance and moving down to an e-liquid with lower nicotine levels until they reach the point of vaping nicotine free e-liquids.
Second Hand Vaping
Like smoking, vaping was said to pose exponential threats to those who indirectly inhale its vapors. However, unlike cigarette smoke, vaporizers cause no immediate consequences both to those around someone who vapes and the environment as well. Exhaled vapors only carry aerosol which carries no exceptional side-effects to bystanders.
Moreover, unlike smoking, vaporizers leave very little environmental footprint. Vaporizers do not have cigarette butts which decompose from anywhere between 18 months to 10 years.
Overall, vaping can obviously be seen as the better choice than smoking. It poses fewer risks than consuming cannabis and tobacco the traditional way. Although using vaporizers does not at all guarantee freedom from lung-related health concerns, many still appreciate doing away what could be a faster route to a premature agony from the effects of smoking.