Today’s topic is quite a hot one (except if you using a sub-ohm – inside joke) these days, with lots of information and many heated opinions to work through. You very quickly see the 2 opposing arguments. Quite obviously there is the vaping community who advocate vaping and say it is safer than cigarettes and in the other corner, we have the medical community saying it might be better but it is not safe. I am not going to reference everything I read during my research, this is not a medical journal, but I will briefly outline the lay of the land.

Firstly, my background: I smoke a (one) cigar in about 2 or 3 weeks, usually on a Saturday evening at a social event or relaxing at home. I have never smoked cigarettes because of the coughing involved learning to inhale them. I got interested in vaping after a friend suggested to my wife who does smokes cigarettes that they have a e-cigarette lying in the cupboard not being used. I work with a bunch of guys that vape but I never really took an interested. So I just had to get the the bottom of this new craze. So after 2 weeks of researching and finding questions to all the answers I was looking for, here is my summary:

The vaping community says vaping is better than smoking cigarettes. Generally the medical community agree with this except in the following instances:

  1. Inhalation of nicotine is addictive
  2. Diacetyl in vaping juices have been linked to popcorn lungs
  3. Marketing is targeting teenagers

All three points are valid concerns and have valid medical research linked to them. I think very few people would argue with point 1. However, when vaping, there is a solution: 0mg nicotine e-juices. An average cigarette has 6mg nicotine. However nicotine mg content is not as straight forward as that in e-juices, the liquid you use when vaping. On e-juices they are noted as 0mg, 3mg, 6mg etc. However this mg is actually mg PER millilitre. So to accurately determine the nicotine content you get while vaping, you will firstly need to know how many millilitres of e-juice you vape over a specific time, let’s say a day and compare that with the average 6mg nicotine per cigarette and how many cigarettes you smoke in a day. Different e-juices are also consumed at different rates. It gets even more confusing if you consider that nicotine acts differently in a vapour than in smoke so in actual fact there is no direct comparison.

As for diacetyl, originally this was found in popcorn factories where staff breathed the air of the sweetened atmosphere all day long. In vaping much less traces are found. Diacetyl is also found in cigarettes at higher contents than cigarettes, so at best there are less traces than when smoking a cigarette. Diacetyl-free e-juices can be found, but you need to make sure you ask for it.

Point number 3 does freak me out a bit because as a parent I think the vaping companies are trying to find new markets to boost sales and this has led to teenagers being targeted. I find this unacceptable. This is a sensitive age in any persons life, and adverts NEVER give you an informed account. Peer pressure plays a larger role in a young person’s life during the teen years than just about any other time in his/her life. Research shows that nicotine seems to affect teenager’s and children’s brains more than older adults. So at the crucial stage when they should be developing, brains of vaping teenagers will be stunted. There are debates about this but I think there is no doubt that especially early advertising was aimed at younger people without the focus to move from smoking to vaping.

By now you figure if you vape 0mg nicotine, and diacetyl-free e-juices you are good to go. However having spoken to vapers I know personally, there are other factors which lead to “unforeseen” behaviour when moving from cigarettes to vaping. Firstly, with a cigarette, you light it, smoke it and walk away once it’s finished. With vaping, there is no beginning and end, or at the very least the end is much further away! Emptying 2ml of fluid can be as much as a full day’s smoking for a regular cigarette smoker. I have heard of guys vaping more than 10ml that in one evening!

Another common statement I heard was that vaping didn’t give that “kick” like a cigarette does, so vapers ended up vaping more just to compensate for the lack thereof or started vaping higher nicotine content e-juices. This directly reverses the advantages of vaping with regards to nicotine.

Bottom line: Vaping IS better if you vape 0mg or even 3mg nicotine, diacetyl-free e-juices AND your vaping time/regularity does not increase above your old cigarette/cigar habit. It is WORSE than not smoking at all. The best quote I heard: If you are smoking cigarettes or cigars, move to vaping, if not, don’t start.

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