For years, there has been a rather heated debate regarding the effects of vaping compared to the effects of smoking tobacco cigarettes. As this industry is still fairly new, few studies have been conducted to determine the long-term effects of using e-liquid products.
Still, many people have provided anecdotal evidence to demonstrate the idea that vaping is less harmful than smoking cigarettes. It’s very common for people to experience an improved lung capacity, reduced throat irritation and reduced frequency of illness after switching from smoking to vaping.
Luckily, for those who support our industry, a new study has been released that finally gives us a clearer idea of how vaping effects the body compared to tobacco cigarettes. Performed by JAMA, this study set out to compare the effects of the two substances by measuring toxin levels in participants’ urine. It’s the most comprehensive study regarding vaping conducted in the United States so far.
Vaping is an alternative to smoking that has been popular for under a decade. Over the past few years, this industry has advanced dramatically. At first, vape supplies were limited to disposable electronic cigarettes or small e-cigs that utilized extremely simple technology. Now, however, vapers can choose from a wide array of devices that range from small and user-friendly to large and advanced.
Currently, about 16 million Americans vape regularly. Out of those who vape, about 84 percent are former cigarette smokers. These numbers partially explain why tobacco use in America has been declining over the years. Still, a large number of Americans both vape and smoke cigarettes on a daily basis.
While many people vape simply to get their nicotine fix, a large population of vape enthusiasts approach this activity as a hobby. The vaping industry consists of an enormous variety of e-liquid flavors, devices and other hardware pieces. Many can enjoy exploring unique vape styles of vaping while trying out some different products.
As we all know, commercial cigarette tobacco contains loads of toxic, dangerous chemicals that can contribute to a wide variety of illnesses. Cigarettes can cause a person to develop lung cancer, heart disease, diabetes and more. The mortality rate associated with heavy smoking is nothing short of astonishing.
The vaping industry has been a godsend to many people who felt that they were hopelessly addicted to cigarettes. Unlike commercial tobacco, e-liquid contains a small number of ingredients. It consists of propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG) and flavoring ingredients. Many e-liquid products contain nicotine as well. However, juice manufactures allow the consumer to select the concentration of nicotine that they would like to vape. This allows the consumer to cut down on nicotine while enjoying their sessions.
Presently, we don’t know the long-term effects that these ingredients have on the human body. However, it’s been widely believed that they are far less harmful than the ingredients found in tobacco cigarettes. Now, JAMA has provided us with a much clearer idea of how e-juice compares to commercial tobacco.
The JAMA study compared the effects of tobacco cigarettes and e-liquid using biomarkers. These biomarkers measure the level of toxins in urine. The study measured biomarkers of 5105 adult participants.
It’s an established fact that tobacco cigarettes expose a smoker to thousands of toxins. The study measured participants’ levels of nicotine, tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs), metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
The study used biomarkers to measure concentrations of certain toxins in different types of smokers and vapers. The study measured these concentrations in the urine of cigarette smokers, people who smoke cigarettes and vape, people who switched to vaping after smoking cigarettes and people who picked up vaping without any prior tobacco use.
Compared to those who exclusively smoke cigarettes, those who exclusively vape were found to have lower concentrations of nicotine alkaloids and heavy metals. These findings are interesting considering the fact that both e-liquid and cigarettes contain nicotine.
The study concluded that vaping is up to 98 percent less toxic than smoking. This is based on the user’s exposure to potentially harmful toxins that exist in commercial tobacco products.
While vapers have lower levels of many toxins found in cigarettes, they still have high concentrations of nicotine in their urine. Of course, nicotine is also a highly addictive substance. Fortunately, vapers have the luxury of being able to wean themselves off of it if they choose. This is because e-liquids come in different nicotine concentrations and strengths. For instance, if the user is concerned about their addiction to nicotine, they can slowly work their way down to a juice that simply dosen’t contain nicotine.
While this study is groundbreaking, it isn’t the first to demonstrate the fact that vaping is a better alternative to smoking.
Just a couple of years ago, a study in the United Kingdom found that vaping is 95 percent less harmful than smoking. Like the JAMA study, this study used biomarkers to measure the level of toxins in vapers’ and smokers’ urine.
In fact, the study helped reduce the stigma associated with vaping in the United Kingdom. It promoted lax laws regarding vaping in Great Britain. Many British legislators believe that vaping should be encouraged as it’s a better alternative to cigarette use.
Despite these amazing findings, the FDA still isn’t satisfied. The vaping industry is mostly unregulated, meaning that the FDA has not approved vaping products. Therefore, their stance is that vapers must enjoy their hobby at their own risk.
The FDA has also gone after our industry because they believe that it attracts children. However, some have criticized the FDA’s harsh stance on vaping, believing that they don’t have the public’s best interests in mind.
The American Lung Association is also dubious regarding the study’s findings, stating that cigarette smokers should look to FDA-approved nicotine cessation products like nicotine patches and gum instead. However, the American Lung Association has been criticized in the past for promoting the products of large pharmaceutical companies in order to enjoy financial kickbacks.
It seems like it’s all just one big double standard.
Needless to say, many vapers hope that additional studies are conducted in order to demonstrate the fact that vaping is less harmful than smoking cigarettes. Vaping still carries a stigma due to the fact that the general public lacks information regarding its long-term effects. Meanwhile, many believe that switching to vaping can be a life-saving decision.
As of now, our industry continues to thrive despite the fact that the amount of studies regarding its effects is limited. As more people make the switch after years of smoking cigarettes, we hear more stories about people who feel physically better as a result.
Now that JAMA has released such an important study regarding the effects of vaping compared to smoking, vapers hope that the stigma associated with this activity will be completely lifted.