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Category: Vaping Vs Smoking
Vaping Vs. Smoking — The Truth Might Save Your Life
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What Is The Difference Between Vaping and Smoking?
A debate rages in the halls of government and medicine assessing the possible benefits of vaping vs. smoking. Although European studies have endorsed e-cigarettes, U.S. agencies remain skeptical. The people however have made a clear choice, vaping is on the rise. With all that’s at stake, we explore the arguments.
Vaping and smoking appear as different as apples and hand grenades. However, researchers, scientists and politicians are exploring the possible connections they share. Of course, a few factors must come into account to understand why vaping and smoking are compared. This is due in part to changes in FDA regulations.
As e-cigarettes began to gain a loyal following, government entities scrambled to create legislation in an effort to maintain control of their sales. The vaping industry experienced an early triumph, as e-cigs were disqualified as medical devices and thus allowed a period of free reign where innovation and creativity soared. It wouldn’t take long however, for the FDA to declare e-cigarettes tobacco products.
Is Vaping Better Than Smoking?
Categorization of e-cigs as a “tobacco product” is determined by the fact that e-cigs were offered with nicotine. Never mind that e-cigarettes were offered nicotine free. The FDA was unable to look past their crusade against nicotine and see any differences in vaping. They determined nicotine to be the primary addictive component in tobacco. As such, consumer products containing nicotine are labeled with the same scrutiny as tobacco.
However, this determination also caused them to overlook any benefits to using e-cigarettes compared to tobacco. Research conducted into nicotine’s use as a treatment for ailments such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s are overlooked. Vaping is categorized by its appearance and association not with smoking; but smokers. E-cig regulation is designed to reflect this connection.
Can Vaping Help You Quit Smoking?
While the scientific evidence gathered by academia and government agencies in the United States, European scientists have been touting vaping as a smoking cessation tool for years. Public health agencies in Britain and physicians from several parts of the EU have encouraged the use of e-cigarettes as a healthier alternative to tobacco. The evidence gathered suggests that indeed vaping aids smokers in their attempt to break from big tobacco.
Effects On Health: Vaping vs. Smoking
The resulting havoc that repetitive tobacco use wreaks on the human body is virtually endless. Smoking is one of the most destructive vices in modern society. Cigarettes contain additives meant to keep their users engaged and yearning for more while destroying tissue and depositing harmful carcinogens in their bodies.
According to the opinion of the CDC “Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Smoking tobacco kills more than 480,000 Americans each year, with more than 41,000 of these deaths from exposure to secondhand smoke.” That’s more than any other preventable death, which includes malnutrition, unsafe water/poor sanitation, sexually transmitted diseases and air pollution. Air pollution.
In other words, the statistics point to the numbers of people who live in major cities where the air is unbreathably toxic, DIE LESS than cigarette smokers. In regions where the citizens are exposed to unhealthy air with every breath, deaths are more likely to be caused by smoking.
Presently, a limited amount of research into the long-term effects of vaping exists. Studies of e-juice explore possible byproducts of its ingredients, no conclusive evidence exists to suggest they are created by vaping. Long-term effects of vaping have yet to be identified. Still, it is clear that an overwhelming amount of health problems caused by cigarettes are unique to smoking tobacco.
Obviously, the biggest concern of health professionals in attempting to motivate patients to quit smoking is disease. Tobacco smoke damages close to every part of the human body. We’ll take a minute to sort through the physical harm tobacco use does and the evidence of any similar effects due to vaping.
It goes without saying that the human lungs are by and large the most harshly effected part of the body by tobacco smoke. Cigarette smoke contains over 7000 carcinogens and noxious chemicals. Consider the last time you willingly poured chemicals on the outside of your body, I’ll wait.
In contrast, think about millions of people paying a premium for the opportunity to fill a crucial, life-giving component inside their bodies with poisonous chemicals. In fact, they do this not once, but numerous times throughout the day by smoking tobacco. They couldn’t get the same amount of chemical exposure working at a facility that makes chemicals. Know why? Because companies that produce chemicals want to protect their employees from them.
According to the American Lung Association 90 percent of lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking tobacco. Not just a result, caused. In other words, the decision to smoke cigarettes prematurely brought about the majority of these deaths. This doesn’t even include those resulting from chronic pulmonary disease or COPD.
Common smoking-related illnesses such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis fall under the category of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. Smoking causes 80 percent of lung disease-related deaths.
Bronchiolitis obliterans, also known as popcorn lung, is a serious lung condition with similar effects to COPD. A group of disreputable e-juice manufacturers were adding a chemical called diacetyl to their mixtures unbeknownst to users. Diacetyl was identified as the cause of the serious lung disease.
From this well-publicized problem, the vaping community learned a valuable lesson from the effects of purchasing cheap products. Buying inexpensive e-cig products from unverified sources and manufacturers could affect their health. This fostered a marketplace of trusted businesses.
Believe it or not, the heart is not safe from tobacco use. Simply breathing second-hand smoke can have detrimental damage on the human body’s power plant. The heart may be at the core of life, but as we’ll discuss, nothing is safe from the dangers of tobacco smoke.
The U.S. Food and Drug Association has determined smoking to be a major cause of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and damage to blood vessels. This includes the “…abdominal aorta, the large artery that carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart through the abdomen to major organs.”
Smoking is a proven risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Some of them due to atherosclerosis, or the buildup of fatty substances, often referred to as plaque inside the arteries. Researchers are trying to determine its connection to high blood pressure, but it’s clear that every puff at least temporarily increases it.
While smokers may not even feel the effects of these diseases, they are continuously taking a toxic foothold in user’s health. Smoking is a kind of trickery; discomforts from smoking usually subside when the cigarette is finished. However, research has proven that the lasting problems with continuously tobacco usage are cumulative and most cancers are due to habitual investment.
Recent studies, including one conducted by the American Heart Association are looking into the possible negative impacts of e-cigarette derived nicotine’s cumulative effects on the heart. However, Dr. Holly Middlekauf, professor of medicine at UCLA who led the scientific research said, “The way I think about it is that if you currently smoke tobacco cigarettes, switching to e-cigs may be a better choice, at least from the data we have…” in a Time Magazine article.
So far zero evidence exists that vaping leads to any form of cancer. Smoking tobacco however, causes a long list of diseases. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control has identified specific cancers as being directly caused by tobacco smoke.
Cigarette smokers increase their chances of contracting leukemia by 30 percent.
Smokers are twice as likely to contract bladder cancer than non-smokers
Female smokers are twice as likely as non-smokers to contract cervical cancer. Women who smoke cigarettes may have tobacco byproducts in their cervical membrane
Colon and rectum
Long term smokers are more likely to develop colorectal cancer.
Esophagus and trachea
These varieties of cancer have especially high incidences for cumulative smokers. Due to how tobacco smoke enters the body, the more someone smokes, the greater their risk.
Kidney and Renal Pelvis
Smokers are 50% more likely to develop kidney cancer 3 times as many are at risk of developing renal cell cancer. This risk increases based on the number of cigarettes smoked per day. Pack-a-day smokers have twice the risk.
Laryngeal cancer is rare; however, smoking cigarettes happens to be one of its primary causes.
Smoking increases the risk of developing liver cancer.
Back to Lung Disease
Scientists say smoking transforms human saliva into a toxic fluid that destroys cellular tissue and can lead to them becoming cancerous.
Researchers believe that somewhere between 20-30 percent of pancreatic cancer cases are due to smoking tobacco.
Tobacco product use is the identified cause of 11 percent of an estimated 80,000 annual cases of gastric cancer worldwide.
As the research on vaping while carrying an unborn child has not yet been conducted, it's wise to abstain from using an e-cig. That said, according to the Centers For Disease Control, use of nicotine during pregnancy can result in damage to a developing fetus' brain and lungs. To clarify, nicotine is a stimulant that constricts the blood vessels, this can cause a baby's heart rate to increase as well.
Smoking during pregnancy can have a terrifying list of negative effects on both mother and child. Babies born to mother's who smoked while pregnant are more likely to be born prematurely, have a low birth weight, be susceptible to illness, sometimes resulting in death. Additionally, expectant mothers who smoke are more likely than others to have a miscarriage. In addition, smoking can result in SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
In fact, unborn babies whose mothers are simply exposed to second-hand smoke, are statistically more likely to get asthma, ear infections, and be born underweight. Generally speaking, its crucial pregnant woman refrain from smoking cigarettes. Indeed, due to the possible side effects of vaping on an unborn child, it's wise to keep from doing that as well.
Vaping Vs. Smoking: Chemicals
According to The National Cancer Institute, the majority of the cancer-causing or harmful chemicals derived from smoking occur in tar. A byproduct of smoking unique to tobacco use, tar is a thick, gooey resin of partially burned material.
This toxic remnant can accumulate in a smoker’s lungs. Tar is a primary cause of smoking related lung diseases and is known to contain noxious chemicals:
Benzene is used to increase octane level and reduce engine knocking in gasoline. It may sound good for an engine, but not for the human body.
Acrylamide is a known carcinogen that causes tumors and increases the risks of skin cancer. It’s like a chemical parasite looking for a host and enters through tar deposits.
This organic material is toxic even in low doses. Acylonitrile produces hydrogen cyanide (like the poison) when burned. Central nervous system and liver damage results from exposure to human skin.
Reflexively, e-juice contains no tar. Nor has it been proven to contain any ingredients known to be carcinogenic. Vaping does not burn material, it transfers liquid into a fine mist, that’s it. Recent research is looking into the possibility that heating propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin have their own hidden consequences.
Long the target of anti-tobacco crusaders, nicotine took the spotlight as the core cause of addiction to smoking. However, with the prevalence of vaping taking shape in a similar way, scientists and researchers are once again visiting the effects and possible benefits from non-tobacco nicotine usage.
In recent studies, scientists determined that nicotine may have a positive effect on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease patients. Though the research is in its early stages, scientists are hopeful for new treatments and don’t possess the same stigmas for nicotine.
With that in mind, designating nicotine as addictive wasn’t trivial. A component of its chemical composition causes it to travel directly to the receptors of the human brain that trigger temporary stress relief. People who use nicotine program themselves to find relaxation and comfort in activities that create pleasing effects.
Scientifically, nicotine appeals inherently to receptors in the human brain that respond to it favorably. Dopamine is the most familiar one, the pleasure center of the brain that creates feelings of desire and excitement. Habitual use of nicotine builds up an accustomed routine and ritual with rewarding those parts of the brain, causing users to feel moderate to severe withdrawal when not fed.
With that in mind, it’s important to consider the way vapers dose their nicotine intake. While smokers can only select the relative thickness of their filter, vaping offers a specific measurement of nicotine added to their juice. The ability to explicitly control the intake of the substance provides a method for weaning and tapering. Vapers possess the option to vape without breaking ritual and without nicotine, breaking their attachment to it.
Safety And Other Concerns
Physical dangers such as fire and chemical instability are leading causes of injury from both cigarettes and vaping. With any device that involves the use of electrical current or open flame, any combination of negligence and/or irresponsibly-manufactured products can be deadly.
Vaping has endured a great deal of criticism following a rash of incidents involving exploding lithium ion batteries. Lithium ion batteries are documented to be unstable. However, they are proven to be safe when manufactured with safety precautions such as the plastic coating over the conductive metal body. Responsibly manufactured batteries are as safe as those in smart phones and electric cars.
Bridging the terminals of lithium ion batteries with metal items like loose change in people’s pockets can activate them. Reports of vaping devices catching fire in user’s pockets were largely due to this phenomenon. Batteries should always be transported in a non-conductive plastic battery case for safety.
Danger from exploding batteries is a legitimate concern. Poor manufacturing practices were the source of rumors about the hidden dangers of e-cigs exploding. Like many consumer products, paying a lower cost for off-brand or cloned items comes with the cost of quality and functionality. In the case of vaping, those costs can include safety and injury. Purchasing vape products from reputable, responsible retailers will ensure the safety and satisfaction of customers.
The creation of fire brought humanity out of the darkness and started their journey to modern society. In fact, our relationship with open flame is so close on a daily basis we take for granted house dangerous it is. A leading cause of death and destruction, fires are often the result of human incompetence and/or negligence.
Every year wildfires ravage open hills overgrown with dry foliage in areas where brittle fuel is tough to control. Though forestry firefighters perform regular controlled burns in order to cut down on wild brush, each drop of rain brings temporary life to the surface, only to let it die and dry in drought. It’s impossible for these brave forestry workers to control all of these growths.
Close to 90 percent of wildfires are due to human negligence from illegal or unattended campfires, burning trash. It’s not possible to pinpoint exact statistics on how many since the areas in question burn so thoroughly. Cigarettes continue to cause an undeterminable percentage of wildfires.
Throwing lit cigarette butts out of car windows at high speed is one of the leading causes of wildfires. The thought that a single burning stub could cause that much destruction is staggering. Consider how much damage it does to the human body and it makes complete sense.
Reflexively, if a vaper were to throw their e-cig out the window of a moving car (I don’t know why they would) it would hit the pavement and either roll or clatter to a stop on the side of the road. No fire, no destruction, likely just a broken device. That’s in dramatic contrast to a raging fire, fires in the home caused by smoking are even more unsettling.
Residential fires are a leading cause of death and homelessness. These fires can be due to everything from cooking accidents, to electrical wiring failure. However, the frequency in which they are due to poorly attended cigarettes due to negligence or simply falling asleep prove they are unfortunately common occurrences. Two out of three deaths from housefires are caused by cigarettes. This makes smoking the leading cause of fire deaths for decades. In fact, the leading cause of home structure fires was smoking.
In 2011, every state in the U.S. had passed legislation requiring all cigarettes sold to be “fire-safe”. Fire resistant rings incorporated into cigarette papers prevent fires from continuous burning. Without air drawn through them at regular intervals each fire safe band to extinguish the embers of unattended cigarettes. Theoretically, the lit ends of fire-safe cigarettes would simply go out on their own.
Nevertheless, statistics gathered by the National Fire Protection Association from 2010- 2015, five percent of total fires are causes by smoking materials which includes 22 percent of deaths and ten percent of injuries. Disasters or deaths cause by smoking are categorized by policy makers as preventable. However, statistics still point to cigarettes as a significant cause of fire-related deaths.
In the wake of the popcorn lung scandal, vapers became very wary of e-liquids they did not know the origins or exact ingredients of. After understanding that much of the diacetyl-added flavors were cinnamon varieties, they began to disappear. The reckoning that resulted produced a massive variety of responsibly-produced, ethically labeled e-juices.
E-liquid should only contain a limited number of ingredients. Vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, natural flavoring and nicotine. Heavy criticism of vaping is due commonly to past contents of e-juice. Currently, the contents of reputable e-liquids are derived from organic sources and food-grade flavoring.
Scientists are looking into the effects of liquid propylene glycol producing harmful byproducts when heated. However, the temperature at which many e-cigs normally operate would make this nearly impossible. Using higher wattage than vape devices create, the study made their findings under impossible conditions. Their test generated an intense enough amount of heat to effectively ‘burn’ the PG.
Normal vaping wattage does not generate this amount of heat and never burns anything. Vegetable glycerin has endured similar criticisms, with near identical control groups. Advocates for vaping have refuted the claims and studies targeting e-juice. One such advocate, cardiologist Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos published an article titled The Deception of Measuring Formaldehyde in E-Cigarette Aerosol in opposition to this misinformation.
The truth is, certain models of respiratory therapy nebulizers use propylene glycol as a vaporizing agent. While some medications dissolve in liquid, some need a compound such as propylene glycol to attach themselves to in order to become vapor. In other words, doctors prescribe the use of PG as a treatment for some respiratory conditions.
Quitting smoking has an instantaneous, positive effect on humans. Reflexively, the ravages of harmful pollutants are not as reversible for the environment. Though they appear to have a small carbon footprint, tobacco products leave an indelible mark on the environment that is both cumulative and detrimental.
Beginning with its farming, tobacco is a major environmental detriment in its growth alone. Processing and manufacturing of tobacco products produce significant volumes of greenhouse gases. Additionally, the distribution of the products by large trucks, ships and other means of transit create another source of collective greenhouse gas emissions.
Byproducts from tobacco smoke remain in the air and surrounding environment after a cigarette is extinguished. This leaves a lasting residue of toxic particulates in the environment. This is without mentioning how carcinogenic the smoke itself is to its users and those within its reach including pets and wild animals.
Crops that serve no necessary purpose simply waste land and resources. Tobacco requires a great deal of both. Additionally, open farmland requires the clear cutting of forests. Land is cleared of trees necessary to our ecosystem in order to create expanded plots for tobacco growth.
Removing older trees from the world that are often irreplaceable, is the same as cutting holes in an air filter and expecting it to perform the same job. Trees filter the worlds air constantly. The world’s natural air filtering system loses power with each tree cut down. In other words, each tree cut down allows air quality to deteriorate, if only a little.
Producing tobacco papers requires the processing of trees for raw materials. Additionally, the process of curing tobacco before processing the leaves requires a great deal of wood. Curing requires burning wood with a layer of wood chips spread over them to prepare the leaves for smoking.
Refuse generated by the manufacturing of cigarettes doesn’t simply pollute the air. Cigarette butts thoughtlessly litter the entire planet. Litter produced from discarded cigarette butts the city of San Francisco alone estimated that clearing up tobacco waste costs the city 22 million dollars annually.
Cigarette butts are made from processed plastic, which means they may take up to 20 years to biodegrade. In other words, even if they make it to a landfill, they are a toxic waste product that can take up to two decades to break down. Cigarette butts compose up to one third of the world’s collected refuse. 75 percent of smokers have admitted to throwing their butts either on the ground or out their car window.
Social Effects Of Vaping and Smoking
Where people are allowed to smoke or vape is designated by stringent laws. Public health concerns have pushed smokers further away from public places. Restrictions often relegate smokers to designated areas, a certain number of feet from building entrances, businesses and public places. It is rare to find places still considered acceptable to smoke indoors.
Smoking is the intended target of heavy regulation, but vaping is forced to be dragged along for the legal ride. Signage on university campuses, beaches, in parks and similar public places was amended to include the use of e-cigarettes. The FDA designation of e-cigs has misleadingly characterized vaping as a form of smoking even though toxicology of e-vapor is innocuous.
It becomes increasingly difficult to date and find a mate as a smoker. A study conducted by Pfizer in conjunction with Match.com concluded that 75 percent of daters said they didn’t like the way smokers smell and 80 percent hated the way it made smoker’s homes or vehicles smell. Smokers generally can’t smell themselves.
In fact, it’s a proven scientific fact that smokers lose sensitivity in taste and smell over time, making it difficult for them to realize that their home, vehicle, clothes or breath have an odor. In addition, smoking cigarettes, tints the teeth and facial hair yellow from the deposits of tar and other byproducts.
The easiest way for smokers to keep their possessions and person from smelling like cigarettes, is to start vaping. While flavored vapor has an initial taste and odor, it’s remnants evaporate and disappear leaving no lasting effects.
Teen Smoking Decline
One of the most intense criticisms of vaping is the offering of flavors. The FDA’s 2009 Family Smoking and Tobacco Prevention Act banned flavored tobacco products in the United States. This ruling left tobacco products with only the regular or menthol flavoring options. The ban was an attempt to curb teen smoking rates which the FDA had purported was on the rise as a result of attractive tasting tobacco products.
To understand the legislation against flavors, it’s important to understand the reasoning behind it. The argument that flavors appeal to underage users is justifiable, however, attraction to products, does not create the ability to obtain products. In fact, many states have recently raised their legal smoking and vaping age to 21 in an effort to combat underage smoking.
As a result, tobacco and vaping products are tougher for underage users to obtain than ever. Yet, they are still finding ways to use them. Rebellious curiosity and the fear of peer exclusion have been and remain at the core of experimentation with tobacco products and e-cigs among teens. However, the trends in usage and numbers appear to be shifting as of 2016.
Robin Koval, CEO of the Truth Initiative, a group that fights tobacco use, says “…this rapid decline is a positive indicator that much youth e-cigarette use has been experimental and that the current offering of products may be less appealing to youth than feared.” Koval seems to be alluding to the possibility that e-cigs, though they contain nicotine are not retaining users in the same way tobacco does.
E-liquid is available in thousands of flavors and while this is an appealing draw for vapers, it has created a great deal of concern for government agencies. The FDA set their sights on outlawing e-juice flavors in a similarly to tobacco products. While many vapers happily stick to flavors like tobacco and menthol, a ruling against flavor variety would cripple the e-cig industry, specifically small businesses that produce celebrated flavors.
With the intention of curbing new smokers and eventually live in a tobacco-free country, organizations such as the FDA and CDC push for stronger regulation of all tobacco products, a category that unfortunately includes vaping. These agencies see nicotine as an addictive drug that creates an unhealthy, life-long attachment for young people.
With this in mind, the statistics on teen smoking have steadily been in decline since the introduction of e-cigs into the consumer market. Not only have the majority of middle and high school students susceptible to experimentation given up tobacco in favor of e-cigs, but the numbers of those regularly vaping is falling as well.
Is Vaping Cheaper Than Smoking Cigarettes?
Costly equipment and recurring costs are the subject of much criticism toward vaping. However, the initial investment into a starter kit or quality components could last a user up to five years. The maintenance and upkeep on e-cigs are comparatively small when set next to the rising price of tobacco products.
Partly in an effort to curb smokers and as a way to raise state and local revenues, cigarettes have some of the highest taxes of any consumer product. From a cost per pack inching year after year over the ten-dollar mark, New York City recently passed a measure to raise the minimum price of a pack from 10.50 to 13 dollars each.
Mid-range e-cigarette starter kits can start as high as 50 dollars without e-liquid. However, kits will last users well past the cost of a couple packs of cigarettes. Starter kits will sustain users a few days for an inexpensive, entry-level unit, up to 3 weeks to over a month before requiring any maintenance. Replacement parts aren’t expensive and starter kits commonly come with them standard. Atomizer coils generally last at least three weeks, but average out to only a few dollars each.
E-juice is the only costly recurring investment averaging at roughly ten to twenty dollars a bottle. Though, for some vapers, this is the icing on their cake flavored vapor. Having to reinvest in e-liquid means that you have the option to change flavors or brands, to try something new and sacrifice very little. While sampling flavors will cost users per the FDA’s Deeming Rule, the value of vaping something the user enjoys is priceless.
Cost Of Smoking
The average price for a pack of cigarettes in the United States is around 6 dollars a per pack. If a user smokes a pack a day that translates to roughly 42 dollars a week, or about 2100 dollars a year. Even if users vape higher end e-juices and replace coils regularly every three weeks, they’re still only spending just over 700 dollars a year.
In other words, that’s 1400 dollars more in their pocket than that vaper had than when they were a smoker. Assuming cigarettes are ten dollars a pack, vapers save over 3000 dollars. Now, factor in the initial investment, which, in all honesty can set the first-time user back anywhere from thirty to a hundred dollars or more. At maximum cost of 800 for the first year, a vaper could buy a new device every year and still save a significant amount of money.
Consider what between 1400 and 2100 dollars could accomplish in a year. Former smokers could take vacations without feeling the need to smoke on the airplane. They can invest in a whole new wardrobe that doesn’t smell like tobacco smoke. Or they can just hang onto it, watch the investment in their future grow simply by vaping.
When it comes to public health, the only clear winners are the people. However, when considering factors such as cost, environmental impact, physical safety and personal hygiene, it’s clear one of the two has a distinct advantage. It’s understandable why so many people switch to vaping vs. smoking.
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