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Vaping vs. Smoking: What’s the Difference?

While vaping has become increasingly popular, some individuals are not entirely sure they understand the difference between the two.  They may understand that smoking comes with a long list of dangerous side effects[1],  but it can be difficult to comprehend how something so similar to smoking could potentially be any better.  However, vaping and smoking are considerably different from one another, and those who understand how and why are often able to make better choices for their health.

The Difference Between Vaping and Smoking

Traditional cigarettes are made of tobacco which contains nicotine.  When the tobacco in a cigarette is burned, the heat produced vaporizes the nicotine so that it is inhaled by the smoker.  It also vaporizes the tar and other chemicals present in the cigarette.  This is why spaces that are routinely smoked in become coated with a yellowish-brown film–as this is the vaporized tar that becomes adhered to surrounding surfaces.  Unfortunately while you cannot see it, this coating is also on your lungs.

E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, which means they do not contain tar and the host of other chemicals present in traditional cigarettes.  They can contain a small percentage of pure nicotine in their propylene glycol (PG) or vegetable glycerin (VG) liquid bases, but some don’t contain nicotine at all.  Unlike traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes do not produce smoke, ash or a burning odor.  Instead, food flavorings added to e-liquids cause them to give off familiar and pleasant aromas.

The sucking action that smokers and vapers use to breathe in is much the same, as is the exhalation through mouth or nose.  Traditional cigarettes contain more than seven thousand chemicals, including ammonia, arsenic, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, lead tar and nicotine, while e-cigarettes contain a maximum of four ingredients, including PG, VG, flavoring and nicotine. Traditional cigarettes produce smoke, while e-cigarettes produce vapor.  They both provide the desirable hand-to-mouth simulation that individuals desire, but e-cigarettes produce water vapor instead of dangerous secondhand smoke like traditional cigarettes do.  While all traditional cigarettes must be disposed of after a single use, many e-cigarettes are reusable, which makes them far less expensive.  Traditional cigarettes come in a few limited flavors, while e-liquids come in hundreds of different flavors.

With the facts laid out plainly, it becomes quite obvious that there is a marked difference between vaping and smoking.  The question then is which one would you prefer?

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/

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