Is vaping less harmful than smoking?
by Ivy Simpson on Jul 13, 2023
The rise of vaping as an alternative to traditional smoking has sparked debates about its relative safety compared to smoking. With conflicting information and concerns surrounding the risks of both practices, it is essential to examine the available evidence if you want to make an informed decision.
In this blog post, we will compare the risks of smoking and vaping, supported by studies conducted by reputable sources such as Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians. Additionally, we will explore the risks of nicotine on its own, since this is a topic that frequently causes confusion.
At Beco, we believe in transparency, and we would never want to give customers the false impression that vaping is entirely risk-free. We believe that vaping is an excellent tool that has the potential to help us create a smoke-free world, but we also want to have real discussions about why that is!
Understanding Smoking and Vaping:
- Smoking: Smoking tobacco has long been recognized as a major cause of preventable diseases and premature death. It is linked to various health issues, including lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, and respiratory disorders. The World Health Organization (WHO) has consistently emphasized the harmful effects of smoking.
- Vaping: Vaping, or the use of electronic cigarettes, emerged as an alternative to smoking. E-cigarettes heat a liquid (often referred to as e-liquid) which typically contains nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerine, and flavourings, producing vapour. Public Health England's evidence review in 2018 indicated that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking, primarily due to the absence of combustion and the reduction in harmful chemicals.
Comparative Risk Assessment:
- Health Risks:
Smoking: Traditional cigarettes produce thousands of harmful chemicals, including numerous carcinogens. The combustion process generates tar and toxic gases, leading to severe health issues including cancer and heart disease.
Vaping: While vaping eliminates the combustion of tobacco, e-cigarette aerosols still contain potentially harmful substances, although in significantly lower quantities than traditional cigarettes. Public Health England's review highlighted that the potential long-term risks of vaping are likely to be significantly lower than smoking.
- Nicotine Addiction:
Smoking: Nicotine is a highly addictive substance that contributes to the habit-forming nature of smoking. Overcoming nicotine addiction can be extremely challenging for smokers.
Vaping: E-cigarettes also typically contain nicotine, but the level of nicotine can be adjusted more easily. Vaping devices may provide an alternative for smokers by offering the ability to gradually reduce nicotine levels, including zero nicotine options.
Risks of Nicotine on Its Own:
- Cancer Risk:
Smoking: Traditional cigarettes contain numerous carcinogens, and smoking is a known cause of various cancers, including lung, throat, and mouth cancer.
Nicotine: Studies from the Royal College of Physicians have shown that nicotine, when isolated from tobacco smoke, is not considered a carcinogen. The primary cancer-causing substances are associated with the combustion and by-products of tobacco smoke, rather than nicotine itself.
What steps does Beco take to ensure product safety?
Now that we have discussed the comparative risks of smoking and vaping, it’s important to acknowledge that the reduced risk profile of vaping assumes that an individual is using a legitimate vaping product, from a brand that maintains high standards and complies with all regulations.
At Beco we take compliance and manufacturing standards very seriously. Beco is fully compliant with all major international standards, including CE and RoHS in Europe, UKCA in the UK and KC in Korea. During the manufacturing process, each product must pass through 10 specialised tests, including chemical tests, battery protection tests and cartomizer function tests, ensuring a high-quality product and consistent performance every time.
In addition, we submit our testing data and toxicology reports to relevant governing bodies in all countries where this framework is available. For example, in the UK all our product test reports are sent to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency as part of the TRPR framework before those products become available to customers.
Although vaping isn’t entirely risk-free, we follow every possible step to ensure our products are thoroughly inspected by third parties and compliant with all regulations. This transparency is at the core of the Beco brand.
When comparing the risks of smoking and vaping, the evidence suggests that vaping is likely to be significantly less harmful than smoking. Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians have provided valuable insights through their studies, indicating that the potential long-term risks associated with vaping are lower due to the absence of combustion and reduced exposure to harmful chemicals. However, it is important to note that vaping is not risk-free. While it appears to be a safer alternative to smoking, there are still potential health concerns associated with vaping, such as the inhalation of potentially harmful substances in e-cigarette aerosols. Long-term studies are ongoing to fully understand the health effects of vaping.
Turning our attention to nicotine on its own, it is crucial to clarify that nicotine is not without risks. Nicotine is an addictive substance that can lead to dependence and can have adverse effects on cardiovascular health. However, when isolated from tobacco smoke, nicotine itself is not classified as a carcinogen by the Royal College of Physicians. The cancer-causing substances are primarily associated with the combustion and by-products of tobacco smoke rather than nicotine.
Smoking remains a major public health concern due to its well-documented association with various diseases, including cancer. Nicotine, when isolated from tobacco smoke, is not classified as a carcinogen. It is important for individuals to make informed decisions about their health and consider the available evidence. Consulting healthcare professionals and staying updated with the latest research is crucial in understanding the risks and potential benefits associated with smoking, vaping, and nicotine use.