Vaping vs. Smoking - The Truth

Vaping vs Smoking - The Truth

Guest Post by Vapemate

The following content is a guest post. All content and opinions offered in guest posts are solely those of the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of this site.

Vaping is the kind of subject that splits opinion. For every person who’s used vaping to help them quit smoking, there’s another person who thinks it’s just as bad as smoking and shouldn’t be allowed in public.

Whatever your opinion, comparisons with smoking are hard to avoid – after all, vaping looks so much like smoking a cigarette – and often makes more of a cloud. 

Since vaping and smoking are so often considered the same or similar, we’ve taken the time to offer a real comparison – sorting the facts from the fiction and the myths from reality. Vaping fan or not; it’s important to base opinions on scientific facts – so we’ve looked at three of the most significant issues to help you decide.


At a glance, both smoking and vaping create a cloud of smoke – but in actual fact, vaping doesn’t. Vaping - as the name suggests, creates vapour – effectively a flavoured steam that is given off when the ‘eliquid’ that an e-cigarette holds is heated. This fact is significant – as it’s the chemicals that are created when a cigarette burns that cause most of the health issues.

The list of chemicals in cigarette smoke is exceptionally long. There are over 5,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke – with many of them considered carcinogenic (cancer-causing) or highly toxic. On the other hand, vaping contains very few chemicals – given the lack of combustion. The chemicals that are contained in eliquids are mostly involved in the flavouring – which means they’re considered ‘ingredients’ and pass strict food-grading guidelines.

All cigarettes contain nicotine – but not all vaping eliquids do – and choosing between nicotine-free and eliquids that contain nicotine is possible in every vaping store. Nicotine is the substance that making both smoking and vaping addictive.

Ultimately, it’s unlikely that inhaling any hot substance into your lungs is good for your health – barring perhaps time spent in a sauna. However, despite the lack of long term studies done on vaping, it’s extremely unlikely that flavoured steam is going to represent the same level of health risk that chemical laden cigarette smoke unquestionably does… 

Health implications

Again, discussing the health implications of vaping is problematic – since vaping is a new habit that’s only been popular for a handful of years. However, smoking has an almost instantaneous impact on health – and vaping is yet to show any similar short-term signs.

The smoke created when a cigarette is burned is proven to shorten a smokers lifespan by an average of 10 years compared to someone who doesn’t smoke – and a large part of that is down to the enormously increased risk of lung cancer that smoking exposes a person to. In fact, 80% of lung cancer deaths are directly attributable to smoking – with current studies and figures showing no links between vaping and lung cancer.

Where studies have been done that directly compare vaping to smoking – the results are favourable for vaping. Studies done at Newcastle University showed that smokers have increased levels of bad gut bacteria – potentially increasing their risk of colon cancer, Crohn’s Disease and colitis. On the other hand, vapers are shown to have more good bacteria in their digestive tract compared to smokers – putting them on a virtually level par with non-smokers.

It’s not just smoker’s health that’s impacted by their habit either – around 600,000 global deaths are related to passive smoking (inhaling other people’s second-hand smoke). Controlled tests that compare vaping to smoking see bystanders inhale thousands of toxins and large levels nicotine when inhaling smoke – but virtually no nicotine or toxins from vaping. Vaping is unquestionably the safer option in public places.

Fire safety

The numbers of people killed as a direct results of smoking is staggering – but it’s not just health services who carry the burden. Smoking is one of the main causes of accidental fires in domestic settings, causing somewhere around 2,500-3,000 fires in the UK each year. What’s more, around 35% of fire deaths each year are as a result of lit cigarettes – making them the most common fire-related-death cause globally. 

So, there’s no question that burning tobacco is dangerous – but what about vaping equipment? Surely the heating element and batteries can’t be totally safe?

Well, no they’re not – but they’re nowhere near as dangerous as a burning cigarette. There have been a handful of instances in which e-cigarette batteries have exploded or caught fire – but the large percentage of these instances relate to people who have modified their equipment to burn differently. Vaping equipment passes stringent quality control laws – and represent little or no danger when used and maintained correctly. 

Which is the better option?

In reality, there’s no evidence to suggest that vaping is good for you – simply that the studies currently suggest that is significantly better for you than smoking – since the nicotine that fuels any addiction is being delivered as vapour – not smoke. 

Around 3 million people in the UK currently vape – and since over 1.5 million of those people are doing so to stop-smoking – that’s a lot more vapour that’s being created than smoke. In fact, the numbers of smokers are at an all-time low – something that may be attributable to the increasing prevalence and availability of vaping equipment.

If you want to be 100% certain that your lung and wider health isn’t being impacted by any kind of smoking or vaping habit – then avoiding both is clearly the best option. However, if you’re aware of the impact smoking has on your health and you’re looking for a way to stop – then vaping currently looks like a much healthier option – and again, that’s not just opinion – that’s the finding of Public Health England – who estimate vaping to be around 95% safer than smoking.

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