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You've probably heard some differing opinions on the overall safety of vaping and how it compares to cigarettes and tobacco products. With statements ranging from "Vaping is totally safe and has no potential harm," to "Vaping is toxic, deadly, and worse than a nuclear disaster," it is no surprise that many people are asking “is vaping harmful? and are curious about the general safety of vaping. We took a look at some of the hard science and put together this guide to help you understand vaping and its effect on health.
This page will take a look at if vaping is harmful, if vaping is safe, vaping vs. smoking cigarettes, smoking cigars, and the addictive properties of nicotine.
According to the Royal College of Physicians in the UK, e-cigarettes cause less than 5% of the harm of smoking tobacco. For the most part, e-cigarettes and vaporizers cause significantly less harm than cigarettes. Despite this fact, many media outlets and organizations continue to forward the idea that vaping is just as harmful as smoking cigarettes. While vaping delivers nicotine, it does not contain many of the harmful chemicals and cancer-causing tar that is prevalent in cigarette smoke.
A study carried out by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, discovered that e-cigarette vapor toxicants “were 9-450 times lower than in cigarette smoke.” These findings indicate just how much less of the problematic chemicals someone using a vaporizer with premium liquid would get in comparison to someone smoking a cigarette.
Another study conducted by Konstantinos Farsalinos, a cardiologist and e-cigarette expert at the University of Patras in Greece, discovered that in comparison to cigarette smoking, e-cigarette use has little effect on the overall cardiovascular system. This study suggests that e-cigarette use over smoking cigarettes could result in improvements in the overall long-term health of users.
Numerous studies illustrate the increased adverse effects of smoking tobacco over e-cigarettes. Even though these studies exist in high numbers, they do not tend to get the mainstream attention they deserve. One study that did get a huge amount of press was a study done by Portland State University that discovered e-cigarettes can produce formaldehyde when used at high temperatures.
The headline that e-cigarettes contained the known carcinogen formaldehyde quickly spread across the internet. After this study had come out, a headline at NBC.com read “Before You Vape: High Levels of Formaldehyde in E-Cigs,” and an article from Tech Times had the title “E-Cigarettes Not Safer Than Ordinary Cigarettes.” The biggest problem with this study and the articles that followed was that the voltages at which the vaporizers were producing formaldehyde were so high that no average person would ever be able to inhale the vapor produced.
Konstantinos Farsalinos has carried out studies similar to the one done at Portland State University. At the voltages that were producing formaldehyde, it was nearly impossible to inhale. No people using vaporizers are doing so at these voltages, and yet, this headline was pushed as a fact and given credibility. It is impossible to know how many millions of people read these headlines and continued to smoke cigarettes over the fear that e-cigarettes produce formaldehyde.
Media outlets wrote many sensationalist stories about this study without ever mentioning that the authors of the study stated that vaporizers produced no formaldehyde at lower and more average temperatures. Even the authors of the study felt frustrated that their data was being used to tout the idea that e-cigarettes are worse than tobacco. In a conversation with the New York Times, David Peyton, one of the authors of the PSU study stated, “It is exceedingly frustrating to me that we are being associated with saying that e-cigarettes are more dangerous than cigarettes. That is a fact not in the evidence.