Vaping is a relatively new activity and incredibly the vape business is already worth over £1 billion in the UK. In the next two years, that’s set to reach a staggering £2 billion. It has proved immensely popular as the process of vaping is so similar to that of smoking a cigarette. Compared to those smokers attempting to quit using other methods, the practice of vaping has been an almost easy switch for many wannabe ex-smokers.
And entrepreneurs have invested heavily in the arena; the lure of almost endless flavours, vape merchandise to cash in on, the possibilities of cafes and pop-up shops – everything to entice the vaper.
But is vaping really as good as it sounds? And are there any health risks?
Vaping devices are battery operated and simulate smoking but without the chemicals and tar and minus the toxic effect of tobacco smoke. However, vape liquids, for the most part, still contain nicotine; the addictive substance. Saying that, vaping is considered to be 95% less harmful than traditional cigarette smoking.
It doesn’t sound too bad so far eh?
However, recent research has shown that vaping can suppress the body’s immune system. Through a series of experiments, scientists found that the immune system performed more ineffectively in those who vaped than those who smoked regular cigarettes.
It is also reported that vape liquid can cause irreparable scar build up in the tissue of the lungs. The chemicals are said to destroy the small airways in the lungs.
Worryingly, the levels of nicotine in vape liquid have not been scrutinised as well as they could have been as there are not many measures in place to regulate nicotine levels in vape liquid. Even more of a concern are those vape liquids which are stated as being ‘nicotine-free’. Traceable levels of nicotine have actually been found in these.
And did you know that vaping fluid contains formaldehyde (also known as embalming fluid – eugh!). This chemical has links to cancer. Although traditional cigarettes include this too, it is to a lesser degree than found in vape devices.
Of course it would be healthier not to vape or smoke at all. Both are addictive and can cause permanent damage to the lungs. When comparing like to like, vaping certainly seems more favourable than smoking. At least vaping, unlike smoking, is not harmful to others. Although not entirely emission-free to those around vapers, there is not the concern of passive smoking that has dominated anti-smoking campaigns over the years.
However, because vaping in itself is quite a new pastime then so is the research that goes with it. Things are still being discovered every day about the habit. Some even believe that cigarette smoking should be deemed safer than vaping until adequate research has been carried out to dispute this.
Until then, I think I’d still rather be around vapers than smokers but time, and research, will tell …