On May 23, 2018, the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (TVPA) became law in Canada, allowing adults to legally purchase and use vaping products with nicotine. If you are a regular user of tobacco products, you might think vaping is no better for you than smoking. Contrary to popular belief, there are some very good reasons why vaping might be healthier for you!
The best thing for your health would be to quit tobacco smoking completely, however, switching from cigarettes to vaping will go a long way towards reducing your exposure to harmful chemicals. Please be aware that if you start vaping as a non-smoker, vaping might negatively affect your health by exposing you to harmful substances.
What is Vaping?
Vaping is the inhalation and exhalation of vapour from a vaping product. Vaping devices are used with consumables that are often flavoured and that sometimes contain nicotine. Vaping goes by many names: E-hookahs, mods, e-cigs, electronic cigarettes, electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), sub-ohms, tank systems, vapes, or vape pens.
Starting as little as the size of a USB drive, vaping devices come in many shapes and sizes. Regardless of size, however, they usually work the same: A small chamber is filled with a liquid vaping solution. An electric battery heats the chamber with the liquid solution. The vaping substance is heated and condenses into an aerosol that can be inhaled through a mouthpiece. An “open” vaping device refers to a vaping product that can be refilled. A vaping product that is closed cannot be refilled.
Vaping substances can be liquids, wax, salts, and herbs. The form doesn’t dictate if the vaping substance is flavoured or contain nicotine. Sometimes they contain both. The liquid mixture of a vaping product is usually propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin/glycerol. Nicotine or flavouring compounds consisting of blends of chemicals simulating different flavours. All these ingredients are
present in the vapour that is inhaled by the user when the vaping substances are heated. It is important to know that the level of nicotine in vaping substances varies, from relatively low to amounts higher than those of regular tobacco cigarettes.
The Benefits of Vaping vs. Smoking
Vaping has many benefits that make it superior to smoking, among other great qualities, vaping is healthier for your body, easier on your wallet, and emits no obnoxious odours the way cigarette smoke does.
Vaping is Healthier
Smokers continue their habit because of the nicotine, thinking that regardless of how they get their nicotine, through cigarettes or vaping, it will be equally harmful. In reality, nicotine causes little harm compared to the toxic tobacco smoke that contains a lethal mix of 7000 chemicals, whereof 70 are known to cause cancer. These chemicals are formed when tobacco is burned. Since vaping products contain no tobacco, and do not involve burning or smoke, they are inherently healthier for your body.
Vaping Saves Money
Vaping is considered to be about 40% cheaper than smoking. Depending on the frequency of vaping as well as your choice of vaping substance, the amount you’ll save by vaping may vary.
Vaping Has No Obnoxious Odors
Vaping has a pleasant smell. None of the obnoxious odours of cigarette smoking, which makes it a more attractive choice than tobacco products. There is a possibility of increased levels of nicotine and other chemicals on indoor surfaces after e-cigarette use, but the evidence is limited so far.
Vaping Can Help You Quit Smoking
In a survey conducted for Health Canada, 50% of current or former cigarette smokers who had ever used vaping products (such as e-cigarettes) reported using it as a quit-smoking aid. Many smokers believe quitting smoking is near impossible. And while it’s difficult, vaping and e-cigarettes are tools that can be used together with tobacco cigarettes in an effort to cut back on cigarette smoking. The use of vaping products will reduce health risks for smokers who aren’t willing, or able, to use common nicotine replacement therapies like nicotine patches, gum or lozenges.
When quitting smoking, behavioural support through stop smoking services and healthcare professionals are an important piece of the process. Evidence suggests that smokers attempting to quick
have the highest success rates when using e-cigarettes in combination with local stop smoking services. Vaping has been found to be as much as 95% healthier than cigarette smoking and smokers should not let false fears keep them from utilizing e-cigarettes to quit tobacco smoking.
Nicotine Isn’t as Bad as You Think
Nicotine is the least harmful of the chemicals you inhale during a smoke. It is not known to cause cancer but is approved for use in nicotine patches and other nicotine replacement therapies. However, nicotine is a highly addictive substance, and when inhaled during vaping can result in substance
dependence. Nicotine use can be continued without toxic tobacco products, by way of nicotine gum, ecigarettes, or nicotine lozenges.
Vaping by Non-Smokers
If you are not a smoker, it is important to know that vaping can negatively impact your health by exposing you to harmful chemicals. Vaping can also expose you to the addictive chemical Nicotine. The amount of chemicals a person vaping is exposed to is affected by the type of vaping substance, the combination of components, the battery power, settings and type of vaping device.
Vaping products have been thought to appeal to youth, thereby helping promote future tobacco use. In a 2015 survey done by Statistics Canada on behalf of Health Canada, it was found that 13% of Canadians have tried a vaping product (referred to as an e-cigarette in the survey). Youth (15-19 years old) and young adults (20-24 years old) have the highest rates of trying vaping, compared to
adults aged 25 and older. Despite this, research has shown that the e-cigarette does not introduce young people to smoking. E-cigarettes play an important part in achieving a smoke-free generation.
Risks Associated with Vaping
Both vegetable glycerine and propylene glycol are considered safe for use in cosmetic products or sweeteners. The safety of inhaling these substances in vaping products is unknown. While vaping doesn’t include burning, it does require heating of the liquid. This process may cause reactions that can
alter chemicals like aldehydes. It is possible for contaminants like metals to enter the vapour, although it isn’t considered a significant safety concern. Using a vaping product with higher temperature settings or a stronger battery has been shown to produce more chemicals. These chemicals may be linked to
negative health effects. Still, the chemicals caused by vaping are believed to be much lower than those in cigarette smoking.
Second Hand Vapour
The health risks second-hand vapour may cause non-users are still unknown, but because of the lower chemical levels in the vapour compared to tobacco smoke, it is expected to be much safer than secondhand smoke. Health Canada recommends that users be cautious around non-users and youth as nicotine
is known the alter brain development and can affect memory and concentration. Children and youth are especially susceptible to these negative effects. Vaping can predispose children and youth to nicotine addiction. Vaping liquid may have enough nicotine to be poisonous to young children, this is why children must be prevented from access to vaping liquids and products.