Is Vaping Safer Than Cigarettes?
Vaping Is Growing In Popularity
In case you haven’t noticed those plumes of smoke emanating from the car in front of you, it seems like vaping is everywhere these days.
Despite their recent popularity, vaping – and e-cigarettes – have been around for a while.
What’s of particular concern to dentists, doctors, and other healthcare providers, is the popularity of vaping amongst young people.
According to CNN, citing a U.S. Surgeon General report indicated a 900% increase in e-cigarette use by high school students from 2011 to 2015, and the 2016 National Youth Tobacco Survey noted that 1.7 million high school students said they had used e-cigarettes in the previous 30 days.
Deceptive marketing & advertising tactics aside, is vaping actually safer than smoking cigarettes?
Vaping Vs. Cigarettes
Is vaping safer than smoking cigarettes?
The fact is we really don’t know yet, there haven’t been enough comparative studies done among a large cross-section of the population to determine if vaping is safer than cigarettes.
Because vaping and e-cigarettes are still relatively new, the long-term health consequences are unknown.
And it might not be the vaping in and of itself that could be considered safer than cigarettes, it’s the liquid – or e-liquid – that is being heated and smoked that could prove to be an even more dangerous than cigarettes.
“It’s not water. It’s called e-liquid, and when heated by the coil, it changes to an aerosol.” – Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Dr. Ana Navas-Acien, a professor of environmental health sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, recently released a study measuring metal levels in this e-liquid aerosol.
Dr. Navas-Acien said the research found chromium, nickel, zinc, and lead.
“Comparing what was initially in the liquid, that was very, very tiny amount (of lead) practically undetectable. But after the e-liquid was heated through the e-cigarette device, lead levels were then 25 times higher,” she said.
“There is no safe level of lead.”
Both vaping and smoking cigarettes involve ingesting nicotine, which is the other underlying danger when comparing the act of vaping with smoking cigarettes.
That’s aside from the dangers of the actual vaping apparatus blowing up – like we’ve all seen stories of on the news – and the inhalation of the aerosol e-liquid.
Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical found in traditional cigarettes and has been linked to brain damage in both young children exposed second-hand, and unborn children of women who use nicotine products during pregnancy.
A 2017 study by the Journal of the American Heart Association suggested that just one puff of a nicotine e-cigarette increased adrenaline levels and could cause heart damage.
In addition, many vaping products contain other harmful ingredients other than nicotine, like formaldehyde.
So with all of that, it seems we cannot state with any accuracy if vaping is actually safer than smoking cigarettes.
Or can we?
Could Vaping Be Safer Than Cigarettes?
If you’re looking for a definitive answer as to the safety of vaping compared to smoking cigarettes, it doesn’t really seem like there is a consensus out there yet.
According to Newsweek, and the study results they cite from Mr. David Levy of the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, switching from tobacco to e-cigarettes increased lifespan.
Mr. Levy and his team studied what happened to cigarettes smokers who had switched from tobacco cigarettes to e-cigarettes over the course of 10 years.
The research took a number of factors and possible variables into account such as age that smokers first began their habit into their account.
“Even the gloomiest analysis shows a significant gain in years of life if nicotine is obtained from vaping instead of much more deadly amount of toxicants inhaled with cigarette smoke,” concluded Levy.
Vaping Or Cigarettes
Both smoking cigarettes and vaping increase your risk of oral cancer, so your best bet would be to avoid both altogether.
After all, prevention is the best medicine.
If you do choose to vape as an alternative to smoking, be sure to ask your dentist during your regularly scheduled exams & cleaning about the potential risk factors.
Whether or not vaping is safer than cigarettes will probably remain a point of contention among users, healthcare advocates, and manufacturers – among others.
The best you can do is educate yourself – and your kids – about the validity of vaping being safer than smoking cigarettes and take responsibility for your own health & wellness.
We’re sure there are more studies to be done, but how do you feel – is vaping safer than cigarettes?
Is Vaping Safer Than Cigarettes?
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Dental Patient News and has been republished here with permission. It has since been updated for accuracy & comprehensiveness.