Is Vaping a Better Alternative than Quitting Smoking for Good?

The most problematic thing about vaping is that experts still don't fully understand its health effects. However, there are reported cases of vaping-related lung damage and other conditions. So is vaping a better alternative than quitting smoking for good? Learn the answer here!
Is Vaping a Better Alternative than Quitting Smoking for Good?
Leonardo Biolatto

Written and verified by the doctor Leonardo Biolatto.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Is vaping a better alternative than quitting smoking for good?

Although vaping is better than smoking tobacco, it’s best to quit altogether. There’s scientific evidence that vaping also causes harmful effects. Although they aren’t as serious as those of tobacco, they do damage health.

Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik invented electronic cigarettes in 2004. Since then, they’ve been promoted as an alternative, not for tobacco, but to quit smoking. However, vaping has become an independent practice. The worst part is that many think it’s totally harmless.

Since their invention, the use of electronic cigarettes has increased by 600%. It’s worrying that adolescents are one of the population groups that use them the most. In the United States, there’s even talk of a vaping epidemic. As such, many people are wondering if vaping is a better alternative than quitting smoking for good.

Tobacco and its effects

Tobacco is a plant native to America that spread throughout the world thanks to Spanish and Portuguese colonists. In America, tobacco had and still has a sacred connotation in native communities. This means that it was only consumed in ritual acts, and not compulsively on a day-to-day basis.

Keep reading to learn more: Everything You Should Know About Staying Away from Tobacco

Tobacco produces addiction due to one of the substances it contains: nicotine. In addition to dependence, experts don’t fully know the additional effects of this substance. The most toxic chemicals, including tar, are formed during the combustion of tobacco.

This substance is the main cause of cancer. Additionally, the carbon monoxide produced during combustion is a poisonous gas that causes red blood cells to carry less oxygen. There are 250 other harmful substances in tobacco, 50 of which are carcinogenic.

Tobacco is notoriously harmful to health due to the substances it contains.

Read: Smoking Can Affect Your Eyes

Vaping and its effects

Vaping is inhaling the vapor an electronic cigarette or similar device produces. Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated devices that contain cartridges filled with liquid. This liquid usually contains nicotine in different proportions, as well as other chemicals.

What electronic cigarettes do is heat the liquid substance until it evaporates. This vapor is what a person inhales and the reason why this action is called “vaping”. Since vaping is relatively new, experts don’t yet know all its effects.

However, vaping in teens has been related to slower brain development due to the effect of nicotine. Likewise, it can affect concentration, memory, learning, and mood. It also predisposes them to develop other addictions.

Likewise, some researchers stated for The New England Journal of Medicine that those who vape inhale harmful substances, such as ultrafine particles, heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds, among others. This practice irritates the lungs and can damage them.

Vaping and smoking

A man vaping.
Vaping has become a very common and increasingly popular practice. But is vaping an alternative to quitting smoking?

Here are the main differences between vaping and smoking:

  • Nicotine. Tobacco always contains nicotine, while electronic cigarettes or vape devices don’t. In the latter, nicotine can be suppressed or included in different proportions.
  • Tobacco. Vape devices don’t contain tobacco but rather other chemicals. As we already mentioned above, some of these substances are potentially harmful.
  • Carcinogenic potential. As of yet, experts haven’t shown that the vapor has carcinogenic potential. However, it can irritate the lungs and cause respiratory problems.
  • Harmful effects. According to the UK Department of Health and Social Care and the Royal College of Physicians, vaping is 95% safer than smoking. That doesn’t mean it isn’t harmless.

Vaping and quitting smoking

The incontrovertible truth is that the best option isn’t to vape, but to quit smoking. Although the effects of vaping aren’t yet fully understood, experts agree that it eventually causes lung damage and can even lead to death in certain circumstances.

Being addicted to something isn’t positive. It’s a behavior that prevents free will and conditions people in many ways. In addition, an addict always has a higher risk of developing other addictions than one who doesn’t.

Vaping can be a good option to start the process of quitting smoking. However, it’s best to seek medical advice to develop an appropriate plan for each person’s particular circumstances and avoid surprises that can be extremely negative.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Pérez-Padilla, R., González-Woge, M., Rodríguez-Llamazares, S., & Thirión-Romero, I. (2019). Daño pulmonar grave en vapeadores. NCT Neumología y Cirugía de Tórax, 78(4), 340-341.
  • Palazzolo, Dominic L. “Electronic cigarettes and vaping: a new challenge in clinical medicine and public health. A literature review.” Frontiers in public health 1 (2013): 56.
  • Carrasco Pozo, María del Carmen. “El vapeo que nos confunde: oportunidades y amenazas del cigarrillo electrónico.” (2015).
  • Christiani, David C. “Vaping-induced lung injury.” N Engl J Med 6.10.1164 (2019).

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.