The uprise of vaping in comparison to smoking cigarettes is an open-ended debate. It’s a tough argument because there isn’t enough information to prove whether vaping is a better alternative to smoking or not. Experts are working their hardest to discover an answer on the effects of vaping versus smoking. Many people use vaping as an attempt to stop smoking cigarettes, but the design and attraction to vapes is a possible cause to more people using them. The differences between the two products are what goes into them, their health effects, and their attraction factors.The act of vaping is to inhale water vapor through a vaporizer or an electronic cigarette (Grazier PRG 28). Vapes, including e-cigarettes, come in all shapes and sizes. They are powered by batteries that deliver nicotine to the user through the inhalation of the water vapor (Grazier PRG 28). The battery of a vape heats the vape juice, which atomizes it into a vapor that you can inhale and use like a regular cigarette (Grazier PRG 7). Other than the vape itself, you must buy additional materials to use it. These materials include, but are not limited to; coils, a tank, batteries, and vape juice (Grazier PRG 12).
Cigarettes are small, cylindrical rolls of paper filled with tobacco, carcinogens and many other chemicals (The American Cancer Society PRG 1 & 2). According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “The basic components of most cigarettes are tobacco, chemical additives, a filter, and paper wrapping” (U.S. Food and Drug Administration – Cigarettes PRG 1). The number of cigarettes in a package vary, but typically fall somewhere around 20 to a package. Users of cigarettes receive nicotine when smoking a burning cigarette. Nicotine is one of the worst chemicals in tobacco smoke, and it gives people the feeling that they’re looking for in smoking cigarettes (The American Cancer Society PRG 2).
Some people argue that vaping is safer than smoking cigarettes, but others believe that they are just as bad as cigarettes, with their own flaws (Dellinger PRG 8). The surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, acknowledges that the effects of vaporizer and e-cigarette usage is unknown, but he declared that the rise of vaping among young adults is unsafe (Dellinger PRG 1 & 7). Dr. Kgosi Letlape has a different opinion. Dr. Letlape says, “It shouldn’t even be a contest. To me, it’s about alternatives to combustible cigarettes which have the highest degree of harm. It is about harm reduction in general and we need to get to a space where people have a choice” (NewsBank – Vaping Vs Smoking PRG 3). It seems suggested that vaping could be healthier than smoking. Vapes do not contain tar or other chemicals (Grazier PRG 8). “Vaping is cleaner than regular smokes, as there are no ashes, smoke odor (the vapor odor depends on the flavor used in the device) and no butts to pitch outside.” said Steven M. Grazier (PRG 8).
Cigarettes have a rather bad reputation, they consist of tobacco and thousands of chemicals, including nicotine (The American Cancer Society – Cigarettes PRG 2). Some of these chemicals can cause cancer, stroke, heart disease/attack, palpitations of the heart, lung disease, an increase in cholesterol, or other serious health problems (A.D.A.M. 0:09-0:57). Smoking also affects your appearance, it can; give you wrinkles, stain your teeth, and change your voice (A.D.A.M. 1:50-2:09). A former smoker, Lexi Milliken, enjoyed the relaxation and comfort she got from cigarettes (Grazier PRG 1). Milliken can’t handle regular cigarettes after switching to a vape (Grazier PRG 2). “I don’t get sick or the extreme headaches I used to,” Milliken explains (Grazier PRG 3). Nicotine is one of the most dangerous factors of a cigarette, it can be addicting.
Many academic journals suggest that vapes and e-cigarettes are targeted at America’s youth. Vapes were supposed to be an alternative for smokers, but a report in 2014 declared that 263,000 middle and high school students that had never smoked before used vapes (Grazier PRG 20). Vaping seems to be a “cool” factor to the youth of today. Dellinger says, “E-cigarettes often have a futuristic feel to them and offer flavored juices that makes smoking more appealing,” and “eight in 10 users ages 12-17 said they use flavored smoking products.” (PRG 5). Vapes usually leave behind a pleasant smell, depending on what flavor of juice the user has chosen, such as fruit and candy flavors (Grazier PRG 10). Chad Heck, owner of Crown Vapors, said that his business has up to 188 variations of flavors (Grazier PRG 11).
For a smoker, the smell of cigarette smoke may not be appaling; however, to non-smokers the smoke of a cigarette may be a strong and unpleasant smell. An ex-smoker says that smoking cigarettes used to leave a nasty smell on her clothes (Grazier PRG 6). Cigarette smoke sticks around quite easily. It’s not hard to find a house or a car that reaks of the strong cigarette smoke smell, but it is hard to get rid of it. There aren’t as many flavor options for cigarettes as there are for vaporizers; however, there are menthol cigarettes and other options that are like cigarettes such as flavored cigarillos.
Vapes seem more attractive than cigarettes with their designs and flavors, but they may not be any better than regular cigarettes. Vaping and the effects of vaping is an ongoing study, so there is no proven answer. The lack of tar, tobacco, carcinogens, and other chemicals that aren’t in vapes definitely suggests that vapes may be better for a person’s health.
- D.A.M., Inc. “Effects of Smoking. [Electronic Resource (Video)].” Films Media Group. 2010. http://fod.infobase.com.ezproxy.shsu.edu/p_ViewVideo.aspx?xtid=51672
- The American Cancer Society Medical and Editorial Content Team. “Harmful Chemicals in Tobacco Products.” American Cancer Society. April 5, 2017. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/tobacco-and-cancer/carcinogens-found-in-tobacco-products.html
- Dellinger, AJ. “Vaping Vs. Smoking: Are E-Cigarettes Harmful? Surgeon General Report Calls E-Cigs Effects Unsafe For Youth.” NewsBank. December 8, 2016. https://infoweb-newsbank-com.ezproxy.shsu.edu/apps/news/document-view?p=WORLDNEWS&docref=news%2F16129FAE186CC6F0
- Grazier, Steven M. “Vaping Vs. Smoking – Vaping Has Become More Popular in Recent Years – Especially Among Teens.” NewsBank. April 29, 2015. https://infoweb-newsbank-com.ezproxy.shsu.edu/apps/news/document-view?p=WORLDNEWS&docref=news%2F155078EF8DBC3088
- “Vaping Vs. Smoking Now a Burning Issue.” NewsBank. January 27, 2017. https://infoweb-newsbank-com.ezproxy.shsu.edu/apps/news/document-view?p=WORLDNEWS&docref=news/1622B4F3882357F0
- S. Food and Drug Administration. “Cigarettes.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration. September 9, 2018. https://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/Labeling/ProductsIngredientsComponents/ucm482563.htm