Vaping has become a popular alternative to smoking in recent years, with many people turning to e-cigarettes as a tool for quitting smoking. But is vaping safe?
However, there are still concerns about the safety of vaping, leading many to question whether or not it is a viable option for those looking to quit smoking.
In this article, we will explore the effectiveness of vaping as a quitting smoking tool, address some of the common concerns about the safety of vaping, and get to the bottom of the question: “is vaping safe?”
Vaping is an Effective Method for Quitting Smoking
When it comes to quitting smoking, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Before even reaching the question, “is vaping safe,” many wonder whether vaping will even help them—and a large percentage of smokers consider vaping to be just as bad as smoking, which is not the case.
Different methods work for different people, and vaping is no exception. However, studies have shown that vaping can be an effective quitting smoking tool.
Researchers have found that e-cigarettes are almost twice as effective as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) in helping smokers quit. Another study published by Cochrane found that vaping was more effective than NRT in helping smokers quit, and those who used e-cigarettes were more likely to quit smoking completely than those who used NRT.
What do Experts Say About Vaping?
Expert opinions are also positive about the effectiveness of vaping as a quitting smoking tool. In a Reddit AMA, Dr Michael Siegel, Professor of Community Health Sciences at Boston University School of Public Health, says that “There is no question that e-cigarette vaping is far safer than smoking.”
Dr. Siegel goes on to say, after initially being reluctant about vaping and doing his own research, that “I spoke with hundreds of vapers. It became clear that [vaping] was something totally different. […]. These products were indeed safer and many smokers were using them successfully to quit smoking.”
Dr Colin Mendelsohn, a prominent doctor, vape researcher, and tobacco harm reduction advocate from Australia, wrote a book titled Stop Smoking Start Vaping in which he outlines the efficacy of vapes as a smoking cessation tool and debunks common myths about vaping.
Mendelsohn, who is now retired from medicine, continues to advocate for regulated nicotine vape sales in Australia as the country wages its war on vaping products (if you don’t follow him on Twitter, you should). Mendelsohn says, “There is overwhelming scientific agreement that vaping is far less harmful than smoking. Vaping does not produce smoke. It is the 7,000 chemicals in smoke (including 69 cancer-causing agents) released from burning tobacco which cause almost all the death and disease from smoking.”
Safety Concerns About Vaping
While vaping is an effective quitting smoking tool, many still wonder, “is vaping safe?” One of the most common concerns is that vaping is just as harmful as smoking, if not more so. However, this is not supported by scientific evidence.
According to a report from Public Health England, vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking. This is because e-cigarettes do not produce the same toxic chemicals that are found in cigarette smoke, such as tar and carbon monoxide.
The Royal College of Physicians in the UK have stated that “promotion of e-cigarettes as a harm reduction intervention is therefore justified” and that “vaping is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco” in a 2016 report.
Another concern is that vaping can lead to nicotine addiction. While it is true that e-cigarettes contain nicotine, the amount of nicotine found in e-cigarettes is generally lower than that found in cigarettes. Additionally, many e-cigarettes allow users to adjust the amount of nicotine they consume, allowing them to gradually reduce their nicotine intake over time.
In fact, there is evidence that “dual users” (those who both smoke and vape) have high “accidental quit” rates—meaning that those who take up vaping alongside smoking cigarettes may quit smoking without even intending to.
There are also concerns about the long-term health risks of vaping on lung health. However, studies have not found any evidence of harm to the lungs from vaping. There has been a particular fear about a condition called “popcorn lung,” which we’ve debunked thoroughly in another article.
In addition, there are concerns about lung injuries from EVALI, which arose in 2019, but these cases were caused by harmful chemicals (namely, vitamin E acetate) added to illicit THC vapes.
When asked “is vaping safe,” Dr Colin Mendelsohn himself said, “Vaping nicotine does not cause serious harm to the lungs,” and that “There has never been a single death caused by vaping nicotine.”
Conclusion: Is Vaping Safe? Well, It's Safer!
So, is vaping safe? Well, it would be better to use the word “safer.”
Vaping has been proven to be an effective quitting smoking tool. While there are some concerns about the safety of vaping, scientific evidence does not support the idea that vaping is as harmful as smoking.
It’s important to note that vaping is not risk-free and it’s not recommended for non-smokers or for those who have never smoked. But, for smokers looking to quit, vaping is a much safer alternative to traditional smoking. As always, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions about smoking cessation.
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