It is common knowledge that smoking is bad for your health. Many are familiar with the fact that smoking cigarettes increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer.1 Furthermore, each carton is wrapped in plastic and health warnings and sold with high taxes to deter use of the product.
Recently, nicotine addiction has taken a new form in smoking e-cigarettes, commonly referred to as vaping. Unlike smoking traditional cigarettes, vaping is not the inhalation of burning tobacco but the inhalation of aerosols from a heated solution.2 E-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes, such as a pen-like shape or a flash drive-like shape. Part of the popularity of e-cigarettes is that they are small and discreet. They give off very little odor, so they can be used just about anywhere.
Is vaping a healthy alternative to smoking?
The aerosols inhaled when vaping contain a slew of toxic chemicals such as nicotine, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and formaldehyde.2 Some of these chemicals are associated with lung and airway irritation and even cancer.2 Although more research is needed to understand the long-term consequences of vaping, it could be very harmful.3
Can vaping help me quit smoking?
The American Cancer Society does not recommend using vaping as a smoking cessation tool.4
Does vaping cause cancer?
The long-term health effects of vaping in humans are still unknown. However, in animal studies, vape aerosols have been associated with cancer.5 Many researchers and health professionals hypothesize that vaping, much like smoking, will increase the risk of lung cancer and other diseases.
Vaping research is still in its infancy. More research is needed to fully understand the consequences of using e-cigarettes. However, most agree that vaping could have a negative effect on health. This hypothesis has been affirmed by animal studies and other research.
If you or someone you know is trying to quit vaping, call the National Cancer Institute’s Quit Line at 877-44U-QUIT or visit smokefree.gov to speak to a counsellor about quitting.
- Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking. CDC.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/index.htm. Accessed June 28, 2021.
- What Do We Know About E-cigarettes? Cancer.org. https://www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/e-cigarettes-vaping/what-do-we-know-about-e-cigarettes.html. Accessed June 28, 2021.
- Bracken-Clarke D, Kapoor D, Baird AM, et. al. Vaping and lung cancer—a review of current data and recommendations. Lung Cancer. 2021; 153, 11¬–20. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33429159/. Accessed June 28, 2021.
- American Cancer Society Position on Electronic Cigarettes. Cancer.org. https://www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/e-cigarettes-vaping/e-cigarette-position-statement.html. Accessed June 28, 2021.
- Vaping and Cancer: Five Important Questions and Their Answers. Foxchase.org. https://www.foxchase.org/blog/vaping-and-cancer-five-important-questions-and-their-answers. Published February 21, 2020. Accessed June 28, 2021.