Is vaping safe? It’s a question that gets asked a lot, and unfortunately, there is no 100% absolute answer.
Vaping is a relatively new phenomenon that has been with us for less than a decade. Reviews into long-term side effects take time and so for these to be completed we need to sit tight. However, there are lots of studies and research that has been completed which can help us reach an informed answer to our question.
So…….Is Vaping Safe?
In 1976 the British Medical Journal ran an article by Professor Michael Russell in which he wrote: “People smoke for nicotine, but they die from the tar”. The damage to health caused by smoking traditional cigarettes is primarily due to the toxins that are produced from the burning of tobacco.
Electronic cigarettes, although they do contain Nicotine, which we know to be addictive, do not burn tobacco and are consequently less harmful. A Cochrane trial study published in 2014 found no adverse effects caused by e-cigarettes and no increased health risk amongst short-term (2 years or less) users.
Public Health England
A study by Public Health England published in 2015 found that using e-cigarettes was 95% less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes. The main findings of the study are summarised below, and you can read the full report by following the link below;
The Main Finding from the Study Were;
- There has been a steady rise in the use of e-cigarette use over the last five years. Over the same period, the smoking of traditional cigarettes has decreased.
- Users of e-cigarettes were found to be almost exclusively ex-smokers, and there was little evidence to suggest that none smokers were taking up vaping.
- E-cigarettes have quickly become the most popular method to aid people in quitting smoking.
- When used as intended e-liquids pose no risk of nicotine poisoning.
- E-cigarettes release such small levels of nicotine into the air that there is no health risk for bystanders.
- E-cigarettes have the potential to help smokers quit, and while they may not be risk-free most of the chemicals, the cause smoking-related diseases are not present. Those chemicals that are present have very little health risk.
A final point the report makes is worth highlighting as it’s probably the reason you are reading this article and started doing research into Vaping safety in the first place. The report found;
“Over the last year, there has been an overall shift among adults and youth towards the inaccurate perception of e-cigarettes as at least as harmful as cigarettes.”
The leading cause of this inaccurate perception is the manner in which the media portray vaping and e-cigarettes to the general public. Sadly, and this is by no means exclusive to vaping, much of the press will tend to latch onto negative stories that can create attention-grabbing headlines. The underlining benefits of e-cigarettes are largely ignored, and the potential dangers are amplified to a degree where public perception is adversely altered.
Other Vaping Research
Another study carried out in 2014 by Konstantinos E. Farsalinos and Riccardo Polosa looked at “Safety evaluation and risk assessment of electronic cigarettes as tobacco cigarette substitutes: a systematic review”.
This is a very lengthy document so put the kettle on now if you intend to take a look. If you don’t fancy the full read then skip to the conclusion where amongst other points they say;
“ECs are a revolutionary product in tobacco harm reduction. Although they emit vapour, which resembles smoke, there is literally no fire (combustion) and no ‘fire’ (suspicion or evidence that they may be the cause for disease in a similar way to tobacco cigarettes). Due to their unique characteristics, ECs represent a historical opportunity to save millions of lives and significantly reduce the burden of smoking-related diseases worldwide.”
Finally, a recent Royal College of Physicians report states, amongst many points, that;
“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.”
So, lots of studies and research carried out by respected organisation and government bodies have all come to the same conclusions. E-cigarettes are not perfect and can cause harm. However, when compared to traditional cigarettes they offer substantial health benefits.
Let’s now take a look a look at some of the side effects user can experience when switching to e-cigarettes.
E-cigarette Side Effects
The side effects of e-cigarette usage are generally in the range of nothing to mild. Most people who convert from smoking to vaping will experience many of the benefits they would from quitting entirely. You can expect your taste buds to come back to life and for teeth and nails to become whiter and healthier. Some vapers will experience adverse reactions and to help us answer our question, Is Vaping Safe? We’ve outlined some of the main side effects below.
Headaches – This is the most common issue that new vapers report and generally they only last a few days. The main reason for headaches is taking in too much Nicotine too quickly. If your head starts to hurt then simply stop vaping and drink plenty of water. Next time you vape reduce the nicotine level down and slow down your usage.
Dry Throat and Sore Nose – One of the main ingredients in eliquids is Propylene Glycol, usually referred to as PG. This has a property of absorbing moisture and so vaping can leave you feeling dry. The problem generally passes by itself as your body adjusts to inhaling vapour but the advice again is to keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Aching Muscles and Fatigue – PG is again the culprit for vapers sometimes having muscle aches and pains or feeling overly tired. Once in the body, PG is converted into lactic acid. This, coupled with lots of other aspects of modern life contribute to our bodies PH levels becoming too high which in turn can cause muscle aches and fatigue. The way to combat this is to increase water intake and eat more greens. Which help reduce your bodies PH levels to natural levels.
Spots – This is not vaping related but a side of quitting smoking. Your body is simply removing toxins that have built up during your time smoking. This should only be a short-term issue as your body effectively cleans itself.
Bleeding Gums – Again this is down to stopping smoking rather than vaping and should only last a short amount of time.
For further details on the side effects of quitting smoking Netdoctor.co.uk has a useful article.
Summing up -Is vaping bad for you?
Vaping is thought to be harmful, although at relatively low levels, and long-term studies are being carried out to fully understand its effects.
However, as the vast majority of vapers are ex-smokers the question we should be asking is ‘Is vaping as bad for you as smoking’, and for this, we can say with a very high degree of certainty the answer is NO.
E-cigarettes are the most effective tool available for helping people quit smoking. As the studies above show, vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking and the NHS has found that 2 out of 3 people using e-cigarettes to help them quit are successful.
If you don’t smoke, we do not suggest that you start vaping. If you do smoke and wish to quit, there is no better solution to help you stop for good.