‘Vaping’, that is, the practice of using electronic cigarettes, has been an option for smokers for years now, and has developed quite a following, with many claiming that their e-cigs were the only form of nicotine replacement that allowed them to give up ‘combustible’ cigarettes for good.
Why is Vaping Different to Smoking Cigarettes?
Electronic cigarettes produce only water vapor, which means that both what the smoker inhales and what is put into the air around them (in terms of ‘secondhand smoke’) doesn’t contain tar or any of the other chemicals found in tobacco smoke. They also allow the user to buy different e-liquids to use in their vaping equipment (which can take the form of a cigarette style device or even something like a hookah pipe – take a look at the vape supplies at shophookahunlimited.com for an idea of the kinds of products and accessories vapers can use), which means they can decide on how much nicotine they need as well as other preferences like the flavor of the vapor. By reducing the nicotine content gradually, smokers can give up nicotine altogether without experiencing the unpleasant effects of nicotine withdrawal, and they have something physical to replace the habit of smoking.
The FDA’s Conclusions on Vaping
While vaping has been around for a while now in social terms, in scientific terms it is too early to say whether it is completely harmless. What the FDA can however say based on their existing research, is that it is less harmful than cigarette smoking – both for users themselves and for members of the public who may be put at risk by secondhand smoke. A spokesperson for the FDA said that if all smokers (who didn’t give up) switched to e-cigs instead, this would be a good thing for public health.
The Need for Regulation and Continued Research
While the FDA have expressed that it is better to vape than smoke tobacco, they also say that more studies need to be done to truly assess what effect vaping can have on the body. While mostly water vapor, there are some chemicals in the vapor inhaled when you vape, and the long term effects of these are still being researched.
Another point that has been made is that while vaping is a good option for people who already smoke to switch to, it needs to be regulated carefully. As an example, vaping related products should not be sold to minors. Nicotine on its own is not thought to be harmful to adults, though it does cause addiction, but to children and young people it may potentially cause problems, so e-cigs and e-liquids should not be used by people who are too young to buy tobacco, or by pregnant women.
In the coming years it is certain that more research will be done on vaping, especially as its popularity grows. However, the knowledge we have at this time states clearly that if you are a smoker, switching to e-cigs is a healthier alternative.