If you are a smoker, quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to improve your health. There is support available to help you quit.
Completely replacing cigarette smoking with a vaping product will reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals.
If you are not a smoker, vaping can increase your exposure to some harmful substances that could negatively affect your health.
- Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling a vapour produced by a vaping product, such as an electronic cigarette. This vapour is often flavoured and can contain nicotine.
- Vaping products consist of:
- Consumables (such as liquid solutions)
- Vaping devices (including any parts used with those devices)
- Vaping products have many names, such as:
- Vape pens
- Tank systems
- Electronic cigarettes
- Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)
- Most vaping devices consist of a:
- Heating element
- Chamber (a tank or reservoir to contain a liquid solution)
- Most devices use electrical power from a battery to heat a liquid solution, which becomes vaporized. The vapour then condenses into an aerosol, which is inhaled by the user through the mouthpiece.
- Vaping devices are now available in many shapes and sizes. Some are small and look like USB drives or pens, while others are much larger.
- Some products are "open," meaning they can be refilled, while others are "closed." If a product is closed, either the whole product, or the part that holds the vaping substances, can't be refilled.
Vaping liquids and substances
Most vaping substances are flavoured and can contain nicotine. Most vaping substances on the market today are liquids, but some are offered as wax, salts or herbs.
In vaping liquids, the nicotine and/or the flavouring compounds are suspended in a liquid mixture. This mixture is typically propylene glycol and/or glycerol (vegetable glycerin).
In the vaping substances that contain nicotine, the level of nicotine can vary widely. Some mixtures have very low levels of nicotine, while others can contain more nicotine than in a typical tobacco cigarette.
Flavouring compounds consist of chemicals and blends of chemicals to simulate different flavours.
Contents of vaping vapour
Vaping products produce a vapour that contains many chemicals. The ingredients typically found in vaping liquids are also found in the vapour. These include:
- propylene glycol
- nicotine (possibly)
Vaping doesn't require burning, unlike cigarette smoking, but the vaping process requires the vaping substance to be heated.
If you are a smoker: vaping vs smoking
Vaping is less harmful than smoking. Many of the toxic and cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco and the tobacco smoke form when tobacco is burned.
Vaping products do not contain tobacco and do not involve burning or produce smoke. Except for nicotine, vaping products typically only contain a fraction of the 7,000 chemicals found in tobacco or tobacco smoke, and at lower levels.
Switching from tobacco cigarettes to vaping products will reduce a person's exposure to many toxic and cancer-causing chemicals.
As a step towards quitting cigarettes, many smokers may go through a transition period when they use both cigarettes and vaping products. Studies have shown short-term general health improvements in those who have completely switched from smoking cigarettes to vaping products.
Vaping as a quit-smoking aid
Quitting smoking can be difficult, but it is possible. Vaping products and e-cigarettes deliver nicotine in a less harmful way than smoking, and may reduce health risks for smokers who are unwilling or unable to:
- quit on their own or
- quit using approved nicotine replacement therapies (such as gums, lozenges and patches) or medication
- quit using counselling
While evidence is still emerging, some evidence suggests that e-cigarette use is linked to improved rates of success when quitting.