While many people see it as a present day problem, tobacco smoking started in the 16th century. It was in the early 20th century that there was an awakening about the harmful effects of smoking. Smoking is one of the greatest killers of mankind. It kills more people than guns, cars and illegal drugs combined.
The CDC estimates that close to 8 million people die annually through smoking-related diseases. And the number continues to soar. In the US alone, over 500,000 people die through smoking.
Unfortunately, these diseases and deaths have not been a deterrent for people to stop smoking. Nicotine, an addictive substance present in tobacco, makes it hard for smokers to stop the practice. There have been several alternatives mooted and tried to stop people from smoking. One of the most common and popular means is vaping.
A Brief Background of the Vaping Industry
Introduced about two decades ago, the vaping industry has grown exponentially – particularly in the last decade. In 2011, only 7 million people were vaping. However, by 2018, the number had more than quadrupled to 41 million.
Also known as vaporizers, e-cigars, vaping devices work by using heat to convert liquids to vapour. The idea of a vaping device is to give the user a smoking experience while eliminating possible harmful effects.
Unlike tobacco cigarettes that contain over 7,000 chemicals, vaping juices contain substances like vegetable glycerine and water making it a far more healthier alternative. Also, vape kits cost much less compared to traditional cigarettes. This makes it a more cost-effective option, as long as you have a good starter vape kit, seeing how much a daily cigarette addiction can create a dent in a smoker’s finances.
The marketing strategy of vaping companies has not focused only on smokers. They have also focused on non-smokers in a bid to expand their reach. However, all is not well with the vaping industry. Recently, 2,000 cases of illnesses were found to be directly attributable to vaping. This raised an alarm and caused people to become wary of such devices.
A probe into the outbreak by the CDC revealed that a compound known as vitamin E acetate was responsible. This substance is known to thicken a psychoactive part of marijuana known as THC. The CDC and FDA has since been recommending that users avoid products with THC in them. They recommend that people who haven’t smoked before as well as pregnant mothers and teenagers are better off avoiding vaping devices. However, the FDA has also taken some slack for not regulating and enforcing laws within the vaping industry and for not weeding out bad nuts.
Is Vaping More Dangerous than Smoking?
Stopping smoking is not an easy venture. Often, it can take several rebounds for a person to begin to make any headway. That is why vaping has been hailed as a gradual and gentler means to quitting smoking. Trying to quit cold turkey or using a nicotine patch can be very difficult.
A vaping juice is made of four key ingredients: vegetable glycerine, propylene glycol, nicotine and flavoring. Each of these ingredients have an important role to play. While harmless at face value, these ingredients can become harmful if not mixed well. For instance, while vapes are designed to help reduce addiction, users can increase nicotine levels ultimately making it harder to quit.
What About Non-Nicotine E-cigarettes?
Is vaping addictive? The concept of vaping is for users to reduce their dependence on nicotine until they are totally free from it. However, this is not always the case as the nicotine in vapes could even lead to addiction.
That’s why non-nicotine vapes have been invented. There are energy vapes, vitamin vapes, essential oil vapes and even cannabis oil vapes. These vapes are designed to give users a healthier option without nicotine. However, if not handled correctly, these vapes can become harmful.
For instance, vaping vitamins does not mean any vitamin at all can be part of a vaping juice. Even choosing the right amount of vitamins can be tricky. Also oils like essential oils can become toxic if not handled under the right temperature. Cannabis oils, although becoming legal in an increasing number of states, can be dangerous if not purchased from an approved and trusted source.
So, Vaping or Smoking?
If you were to choose, what would you go for? Vaping or smoking? The harmful effects of smoking are open for all to see. But vaping presents a peculiar problem. While vaping has been hailed as an alternative to smoking, there have been some doubts about it’s safety.
There is some research indicating that vaping causes the same amount of cell damage as smoking. But this largely depends on the quality of vape kit used. The best vape kits will deliver good results. The research to back vaping is also very scanty giving room for uncertainties regarding the industry.
The first place of contact when you’re thinking of making a change from smoking to vaping should be your doctor. Because there’s not much research into vaping, it remains a controversial industry. Although vaping is regarded as a better alternative to smoking, there’s a need for more research on vaping, its benefits and it’s potential pitfalls.
Sam Jenkins is an Arizona-based journalist who has worked in journalism for the past 5 years. He has written for several magazines, and online sites.