Vaping may often be confused with smoking cigarette. However, the two are completely different from each other. Vaping involves the inhalation and exhalation of flavored aerosols through a specialized electronic device. The substance inhaled during vaping, also known as the vape juice, comprises of chemicals that are converted into fine particles before they can be puffed.
However, amidst the blissful feeling that vaping presents, the constituent chemicals in vape juices are known to be very harmful to your body. Some of them have been linked to the development of respiratory problems, cancer, heart disease, to mention but a few.
Where Did It All Begin
Vaping has existed as a practice for many years, actually. However, it was popularized in the 2000s by a Chinese pharmacist known as Hon Lik who took the first recorded vape. In 2006 and through the efforts of Ruyan Group, the first vape was launched in Europe.
Vaping would later make it to America in 2007, and from then, it has only increased in popularity, especially among traditional cigarette smokers. The most common vaping devices include vape pens and the e-cigarettes. However, manufactures have tried to keep up with the rising demand by producing more custom vape devices.
What Makes Up a Typical Vaping Device
First, a vaping device contains a mouthpiece from which you inhale. The mouthpiece is normally designed with a tip that fits into the user’s mouth.
Inside the device is a cartridge whose function is holding the e-liquid. Lastly, there is a heating compartment that contains the battery that supplies power to the device.
In most vaping devices, the battery is normally in-built. Some manufacturers have even incorporated LED settings screen. From this screen, you can monitor the progress of the battery. If you are lucky enough, you might also get vaping devices with controls that enable you to adjust the amount of power flowing through the device.
But even those that do not have such provisions, you do not need to fret as it is fairly easy to replace the batteries. Vaping devices that feature removable batteries are called mods. One advantage that mods have over standard vaping devices is that you do not need to monitor the progress with your battery. Instead, you could seamlessly charge the spare battery and replace the fully-used one.
How a Vaping Device Works
As we have already mentioned, there are three main components of a vaping device, namely the battery, mouthpiece, and e-liquid. As you vape, the battery produces power that supplies heat to the heating compartment. This causes the e-liquid to vaporize. Consequently, the vaporization leads to the formation of an aerosol which you then inhale into the lungs through the device’s mouthpiece, and out through your nose.
From this explanation alone, we can already see a glaring difference between smoking and vaping. While smoking requires you to ignite a cigarette and smoke the tobacco as the cigarette burns, vaping uses the heat from the battery compartment to vaporize an e-liquid that is then smoked as an aerosol. However, there are those vapors that still prefer to use nicotine. In most cases, the nicotine may be added as a flavor to the e-liquid. As there is no combustion in vaping, there is no smoke produced.
Apart from the three basic components highlighted above, most vaping devices also come with an atomizer. An atomizer comes with a coil. It is this coil that is heated and in return, heats up and subsequently vaporizes the e-liquid. Atomizers are designed with openings that allow free flow of air. The role of the air is to blow up the vapor resulting from heating the e-liquid towards the mouthpiece, from where the user can conveniently inhale it. Additionally, there is a tank that holds the e-juice in place during the whole heating process. Between the tank and the coil lies a wick. The purpose of this wick is to deliver the e-liquid from the tank up to the coil where it is then heated.
As we already mentioned, there are vapors that prefer custom-devices. As opposed to standard vaping devices, custom devices are common among vapers that wish to use vaping as a means to quit smoking. In such custom devices, the atomizer is normally removable. This allows the vaper to experiment with different flavors.
What About the E-Liquid
As blissful as vaping is, it is worrying to note that many vapers do not understand the nature of the chemicals that comprise their e-liquids. This explains why there has been a lot of myths and misconceptions around the safety of such chemicals. There have been various obnoxious notions to the origin of most e-Liquids, with some believing it could be an adulterated liquid imported from China. There are those that believed it is a special oil that contains tobacco.
However, vapers need not worry so much of the safety and quality standards of their e-liquids, as most of them are made of vegetable glycerin mixed with propylene glycol. These are two common substances used in various food substances as well as certain FDA-approved drugs. Therefore, it is easy to vouch for their safety, quality, and effectiveness. Even more reassuring is the fact that there are very many licensed e-liquid manufacturers in the US. Therefore, though you can have some imported from other countries, much of the liquid is locally manufactured in well-controlled and highly-regulated conditions.
It is also important to remember that the e-Liquid is mainly flavored using food-grade ingredients. However, as we already mentioned, those wishing to quit tobacco smoking through vaping might benefit by going for small flavors of nicotine. Even then, you need not worry as there is specialized nicotine added to the liquid, in the form of pharmaceutical-grade liquid.
Should You Smoke Or Vape? Uncovering the Differences
First and foremost, it is important to remember that both vaping and smoking come with their fair share of health concerns. They usually affect our bodies in more or less the same manner. However, according to Neal Benowitz, MD, a renowned researcher at the University-of-California, smoking remains the more harmful practice, and there are numerous studies to prove that.
According to statistics, cigarette smoking claims some half a million lives annually in the US alone. And contrary to popular perception, the deaths do not directly result from the inclusion of nicotine in most tobacco products. Rather, it results from the many harmful chemicals produced in the process of combustion.
As there is no combustion taking place, a vaper is already relieved from the possible harmful chemicals given out during smoking. A 2015 study by the Public Health England suggested that vaping could be up to 95 percent less harmful as compared to smoking. However, a University-of-Michigan tobacco policy-researcher named Kenneth Warner took an issue with the above study. According to Mr. Warner, vapes can only be between 80 and 85 percent safe. However, he was still cognizance of the fact that most critics of vaping believe it is only between 50 and 66 percent safe as compared to smoking.
Mr. Warner also remarked that most states, communities, and jurisdictions that impose bans on cigarette smoking in public areas usually include vaping in the ban. According to him, these two should be treated separately. This is because while a cigarette passive smoker is highly exposed to the possible danger caused as a result of smoking, the case is not the same with secondary vapers. Well, Mr. Warner does not adduce any concrete studies to back up his assertions. However, he draws his conclusions from the fact that vaping has been instrumental in helping some people quit smoking.
A classic case of how effective vaping is with quitting smoking is that of Caren Kagan-Evans. According to the 56-year old lady, she began smoking aged 13. At the time, she saw it as a fanciful thing to do, but when the habit completely took over her life, every attempt to stop resulted in total failure. Some of the remedies she tried included using gum, hypnosis, and even nicotine patches.
But after trying vaping, it only took a month for Caren to break free from the habit. Two years and still counting, and the Washington, DC-based lady has not smoked. She claims that aside from ridding her of the foul cigarette smells, her eating and sleeping habits have also improved since she quit smoking.
Caren’s story is clear proof of how vaping can help a chronic smoker quit the habit. However, Benowitz believes that there should be more people coming out with such success stories for vaping to be truly revered. According to him, most smokers in the US are unable to shake off the habit as they normally smoke alongside vaping. He adds that this especially happens when cigarette smokers find themselves in public places where smoking is banned but vaping allowed. In such situations, they deem vaping as the easier alternative to quenching their thirst for smoking. Therefore, when they finally realize that vaping could be a solution to quitting smoking, it becomes difficult for them to vape without incorporating some cigarette puffs in it.
But as a caveat, it is important to remember what regulators say about vaping. According to the FDA, there has not been sufficient evidence to prove that vaping could help quit smoking cigarette. Therefore, it advises anyone wishing to quit smoking to go for approved drugs or discuss with their physicians before vaping.
More importantly, the American Heart-Association advises that vaping should not be used as the last resort for quitting smoking. The body argues that there could be various underlying problems making it difficult for you to quit smoking. And if all other avenues like medication and rehabilitation therapies have failed, then vaping will by no means help.
What Does It Take to Vape Safely
The first safety measure is to refrain from all vaping or smoking if you have never done it before. You do not want to deal with the addiction that comes with either habit.
However, if you must vape, insist on high-quality vaping devices; ranging from the vaping unit itself to the e-liquid. As there is heating taking place, going for a low-quality device could expose you to risks that may not even be connected directly to vaping.
For the e-liquid, opt for one that contains ZERO nicotine concentration. And whenever you are done vaping, keep the vape device out of reach of children and pets. This is because they could get their hands on the device and drink the potentially poisonous e-liquid.
Last but not least, avoid building your mods unless you understand the Ohm’s Law.
Though it may not be as harmful as cigarette smoking is, vaping still has its inherent dangers. It is imperative that before taking to the habit, you think carefully about the possible addiction and any other harm it could cause to your body.