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Smoking Vs. Vaping

Updated on August 19, 2015

With E-cigarette use growing in popularity over recent years, especially among teens, many people are concerned about the potential health consequences associated with their use.

A report by the CDC came out earlier this year showing that E-cig use had tripled among teens in just one year. The growing popularity of E-cigs is alarming to many people given how little is known about the long term use of some common chemicals found in liquid vapor solutions. Experts say that teens are likely turning to E-cigarettes as it is easier to conceal from parents.

So just how popular are E-cigs? E-Cigarette users now account for 10% of the U.S. population in 2015, and over 20% of teens between grades 6 to 12 had reported using E-cigarettes.

Vaping and Smoking Explained

Proponents of Vaping (The act of consuming a substance (Often tobacco) by vaporizing the psychotropic compounds and inhaling.) advertise E-cigarettes as a healthier alternative to sucking down smoke, but is it really any safer than smoking? After all, you're still consuming the addictive compound 'nicotine' each time you inhale.

Vaporizing or Vaping

Vaporizers work by heating a substance to a specific range of temperatures hot enough to sublimate the active compounds you wish to consume, such as nicotine, which vaporizes at around 477 degrees Fahrenheit. Because the temperature does not achieve a high enough temperature for plant matter combustion substances such as tar are left behind.

Vaporizers come in various shapes and sizes, some no larger than a pen. Making them easier to conceal.

Proponents of vaping also claim that because combustion isn't taking place the second hand vapor poses no risk to anyone. Because of this, many restaurants who have once banned smoking, have permitted use of small, portable vaporizers. This has contributed to much of the E-cigs popularity as businesses and local government begin to crack down on smoking in public.


When a flame comes into contact with a combustible material it produces smoke. Smoke is a combination of partially combusted plant matter (Tar), and the various sublimated chemicals contained within the material that is being burned.

Much like with vaping the nicotine contained within tobacco is sublimated, where it is than inhaled by the user and whomever is within the range of second hand smoke. The difference being that aside from just nicotine, you are also inhaling hundreds of other chemicals found in tobacco naturally, as well as various chemicals added to cigarette tobacco to make the smoke smooth, or to add flavor.

Tar, or partially combusted plant material is considered carcinogenic and is responsible for an estimated 480,000 preventable deaths per year as a result of tobacco smoking.

Smoking of cigarettes has been on a steady decline in both adult and adolescent populations in the United States as vaporizing gains in popularity.

Pro's of Vaping

  • Price. Once you have your E-cig and an arsenal of batteries, people will often find vaporizing to be far more cost effective. However, vaping can be quite costly in the beginning when you are searching for the right vaporizer and E-liquid.
  • Fewer carcinogens, no tar. Sense combustion doesn't take place and e-liquids contain no plant material there is virtually no tar to be inhaled. Yay!
  • Fewer chemical additives. E-Liquids often contain only a handful of ingredients such as propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine (optional), and food-grade flavors.
  • Convenience. Portable vaporizers can be used in many businesses and restaurants where smoking is banned. Vaporizers can be used in public places designated as smoke-free zones! (Note that some areas have also banned vaping in public areas where smoking is not permitted.)
  • No yellowing of teeth or killing of taste buds.
  • Won't leave you smelling like a smoker! Who wants to smell like a dirty gym sock?
  • Ingredient labels. While not required by the manufacturer, many e-liquids include a list of ingredients to build trust between customers and suppliers/manufacturers.

Con's of Vaping

  • Production NOT regulated by the FDA. Current manufacturers have no regulations dictating what they can and can't put in an E-liquid. This has caused much concern among proponents and opponents of vaping.
  • Potential allergy triggers. While allergic reactions to chemicals found in cigarettes are not uncommon, there have been reports of people having allergic reactions to propylene glycol.
  • Vaping is not effective for weening people off of nicotine. Many people have used E-cigs in an attempt to quit smoking. While it may be effective to getting you to quit smoking itself, it will not aid in ceasing all tobacco use.
  • Initial expenses can be high. E-cig vaporizers aren't cheap.
  • Breathing may become labored if vaping in quick succession.
  • Nicotine overdose is much more likely to occur when vaping than it is with smoking.

Pro's of Smoking

  • Literally nothing.

Ok, so there are some benefits associated with nicotine consumption in general, but such benefits can be achieved through vaping. Sorry smokers.

Con's of Smoking

I could say "Literally EVERYHTING!" but I feel that would just be a cop out. So instead, here is a long list of the con's associated with smoking. *Sigh*

  • You end up smelling like a sweaty gym sock. Some people appreciate it, not my cup of tea.
  • Lung function impairment. Smoking leads to various medical conditions in the long term that will impact lung function, but some of the short term negative effects include: Shortness of breath and mucus build up in the lungs (Phlegm).
  • Smokers cough. I had this myself. It sucks, and just like the stench that follows you, everyone will know you're a smoker the second your lungs begin to revolt.
  • Heartburn.
  • Occasional headaches/migraines. This can also be caused by nicotine withdrawal so it can be experienced by vape users as well.
  • Susceptible to colds, respiratory infections.
  • Elevated heart rate, often accompanied by sweating.
  • Increased risk of developing hypertension.
  • Nausea
  • Unpleasant lingering taste in mouth.
  • Yellowing and blackening of teeth.
  • Anxiety.
  • Shame/embarrassment. As society becomes less accepting of the practice of smoking people may feel ashamed or paranoid, especially if smoking is done in secrecy.
  • Time consuming. With a vaporizer you can take a puff and stop. With a cigarette you aren't leaving until the thing is finished.
  • Constant trips to the gas station or smoke shop. E liquid is convenient to store away so you won't need to make as many trips to the store.
  • Smoking in bad weather because your workplace doesn't permit smoking on the premises.
  • Driving family away. Many people will avoid you when you go to smoke as they don't want to be exposed to second hand smoke.
  • Dry mouth. This also leaves you more vulnerable for developing cavities.
  • Discomfort when taking deep breaths. Nothing screams unhealthy like not being able to breath right.
  • Smoke in your eyes. This sucks.
  • Ashes and dust EVERYWHERE!
  • Accidentally burning holes in on things.
  • Potential fire hazard.
  • Dulled sense of taste.

I'm going to end it their because I will end up repeating myself if I don't. Just know this list could have been much, much longer!

I just want you to know I got a hand cramp typing out those con's.

Q's and A's Time

Your common Questions Answered!

If the article hasn't answered these questions for you already, or you're too lazy to do a double take than this is for you!

Q. Can I use an E-cigarette anywhere?

A. E-cigs don't burn or emit smoke so you can use the just about anywhere. The only exception to this is that some private businesses may decide to ban their use in their establishment.

Q. Can I use vaping to help quit smoking?

A. While vaping still provides nicotine (The stuff that keeps you hooked.), vaping liquids can come in a variety of strengths allowing you to slowly reduce the amount of nicotine you consume over time. Some people have found this to be helpful in their efforts to quit.

Q. Is vaping really cheaper than smoking?

A. In the long run vaping is certainly cheaper than smoking. Assuming you smoke a pack a day, vaping can save you up to 78% of your yearly cigarette costs. (Based on a $3,510.00 yearly cost for smoking.)

Q. What is emitted from an E-cig?

A. The white smoke looking cloud that is emitted from an e-cig is nothing more than a thick cloud of water vapor. This water vapor disperses within seconds of exhale.

Have anymore questions? Leave a comment!

Have you, or are you considering vaping over smoking?

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    • Emma Johnson1 profile image

      Emma Johnson 

      3 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Great piece!


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