The percentage of high school students using electronic cigarettes increased from 4.5 percent in 2013 to 13.4 percent in 2014. Only 9.4 percent of high school students reported using traditional cigarettes in 2014. Although a shift from cigarettes to e-cigs is advantageous for electronic cigarette companies, one must wonder if it’s equally beneficial for a former cigarette smoker’s health or if they’re just swapping one bad habit for another?
AsapSCIENCE pooled all available data on e-cigs to answer a question that’s on the minds of almost every tobacco (and marijuana) user: Between vaping and smoking, which is better for your health? With over 4,000 chemicals, including 43 carcinogenic compounds, cigarette smoking would seem to be the obvious answer. However, things get a bit more complicated after accounting for what could be hiding in eLiquid — the fluid responsible for the nicotine solution and flavoring found in e-cigs.
The majority of eLiquids contain water, nicotine, flavorings, and a base. Since this liquid is not regulated by any federal authority, what can be found in eLiquid varies by company. For example, some eLiquid manufacturers use glycerin, an organic compound that is commonly found in vegetables. Others use diacetyl, which has been tied to abnormal lung function over time. Speaking of time, health care professionals are still unsure what dangers await e-cig smokers due to how new they are.
So which is safer: vaping or smoking? Clearly the compounds found e-cigs are generally deemed less harmful than the cancer-causing agents found in traditional cigarettes, but less harmful doesn’t necessarily mean safe. Smoking cessation, on the other hand, is safe and, according to the recent study, smokers are 60 percent more likely to quit with the help of an electronic smoking device.