Is Vaping Really Safer Than Smoking?

It might not be as safe as you think.

Vaping has become progressively more popular over the last decade and many of its supporters claim that it is a safer hobby than traditional smoking. On the surface, using an e-cigarette or other means of vaping seems safer, as the level of smoke inhaled is reduced considerably

But what does the scientific evidence say? The folks over at AsapSCIENCE have explored the relative safety of each in their latest video, Smoking Vs. Vaping.

When a cigarette is burned, nicotine becomes vaporized. When inhaled, the chemical quickly and easily enters the bloodstream and affects the nervous system.

The same thing happens to THC in marijuana, though the effects on the body are different than that of nicotine.

In addition to getting the desired nicotine or THC, the user also has to inhale smoke, which has a laundry list of negative side effects. 

Vaping, on the other hand, is able to heat the product enough to vaporize THC and nicotine without combusting the product, which drastically cuts down on the smoke inhaled. However, some of the ingredients found within this e-liquid are not totally harmless.

Propylene glycol, one of the components of e-liquid, can contribute to irritation of tissue in the eyes and lungs.

Unfortunately, there's also a lot more going on that isn't immediately as obvious, but is still cause for concern.

Currently, there isn't much restriction on the additives found in e-cigarette liquid, meaning it might not be obvious what a person is exposing themselves to.

While the majority of what gets exhaled from using e-liquid is harmless water vapor, it's not all harmless. Flavorings in the liquid can create ultrafine particles, which contribute to lung disease, to also be exhaled. This means that just like secondhand smoke, secondhand vape could harm others.

The inherent problem with talking about the safety of vaping is that it really hasn't been around very long.

Scientists have been able to learn the health effects that come from cigarette smoking over several decades as well as understanding what occurs from exposure at various stages of life. However, there just hasn't been enough time to learn what happens to similar dose and exposure levels from vaping. 

View the entire video and learn more about smoking and vaping here:

[Header image via: iStockphoto]

[All other images via: AsapSCIENCE]