Anti-tobacco groups and the mainstream media have fostered widespread misconceptions about the nature, benefits, and risks of e-cigarette use. Yet researchers have consistently found that vaping isn’t as dangerous as the media would have you believe, especially when compared to cigarettes. Despite this, a recent Johns Hopkins study found that the number of people who view e-cigarettes as less harmful than cigarettes is actually decreasing.
The truth is that the nicotine in vaping liquids does not cause cancer. Rather, it’s the tar and toxic gases released from burning tobacco that lead to serious illnesses like cancer and lung disease. Nicotine is only dangerous because it is addictive, causing people to get hooked on cancer-causing cigarettes and tobacco products. While inhaling a cigarette, smokers are taking into their lungs not just nicotine but also tobacco smoke, which contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including tar and carbon monoxide. E-cigarettes, on the other hand, are tobacco-free.
So why are so many people confused about the relative risks of vaping and smoking cigarettes? To set the record straight, here are the facts:
Vape juice and e-cigarettes allow people to satiate their nicotine cravings without inhaling tobacco smoke, tar, and other carcinogens. Not only are vaping liquids free of all those dangerous substances that cause fatal diseases, they also include much lower nicotine levels than traditional cigarettes. While a tobacco smoker takes in about 2 milligrams of nicotine per cigarette, five minutes of e-cigarette use leads to the absorption of only one-fourth the plasma nicotine levels one would get from a cigarette. In other words, vaping can give a smoker their nicotine-fix while simultaneously reducing their dependence on the drug.
And the facts back this up. In 2015, at least 18,000 smokers in England quit tobacco with the help of e-cigarettes. And in yet another recent study, researchers reported that 61% of people who used e-cigarettes to quit smoking were actually able to kick the habit over a 24-month period. On the other hand, only 23.1% of smokers who did not use e-cigarettes were able to quit smoking during that time period. Furthermore, the Public Library of Science reports that 18% of individuals who used e-cigarettes were able to quit cigarettes for at least six consecutive months.