Which is more harmful: vaping or cigarettes. Expert opinion - Setafi

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Many users, doctors and scientists are wondering what is more harmful - vaping or cigarettes. Several studies have been carried out on this topic in recent years. Scientists have come to the conclusion that the complete rejection of classic cigarettes in favor of vaping improves well-being. Better yet, don't smoke at all. This article details why.

The content of the article

  • The principle of operation of the vape
  • What is more harmful - a cigarette or a vape: a review of scientific studies
    • 2018 study
    • 2021 study
  • How dangerous are vapes without nicotine?
  • When is vaping useful?

The principle of operation of the vape

To understand what is more harmful than a cigarette or an electronic cigarette, it is worth understanding the principle of action. The device of an electronic cigarette is quite simple. It consists of an atomizer, a heater, a liquid capsule and a battery. During heating, the fragrant liquid begins to evaporate.

But it is not smoke that is formed, as is the case with a regular cigarette, but steam. It contains nicotine, flavoring, fragrances. If you study what is more harmful than an electronic cigarette or a regular one, you can highlight several advantages of vaping:

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  • low vaping temperature;
  • absence of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and other combustion products;
  • carcinogens, free radicals, which are present in large quantities in tobacco smoke, are not formed;
  • no unpleasant odor.

What is more harmful - a cigarette or a vape: a review of scientific studies

However, do not think that steam does not affect health, and therefore it is quite safe. In fact, you need to figure out what is worse than vaping or cigarettes. To do this, it is first of all advisable to rely on the results of scientific research.

2018 study

One of the latest was held in 2018 at the NASEM Academy (USA). The group of subjects was asked to completely abandon regular cigarettes and switch to electronic ones. Thanks to this, scientists were able to find out what is more dangerous than vaping or cigarettes. The researchers concluded that in the short term, a full transition to vaping does indeed have a beneficial effect on health.

The subjects noted that they began to cough less and breathe better. In general, their health improved. And they smoked without restrictions. But there was no choice between vaping or cigarettes, because as part of the experiment, they were offered to use only an electronic device.

However, it should be borne in mind that these conclusions apply only to most people. On the contrary, it is more difficult for some representatives to inhale steam - they begin to suffocate. In addition, liquids for electronic devices also contain nicotine. When wondering what will happen if you smoke a vape, it should be said that there are still health consequences:

  • disruption of the brain;
  • weakening of self-control and attention;
  • increased irritability;
  • increased blood pressure and heart rate;
  • increased load on the heart;
  • the risk of developing vascular diseases;
  • allergic reactions to fragrances.

Studies do not yet take into account the long-term effects of electronic devices on health, since they appeared relatively recently. In this sense, it is difficult to say which is better: cigarettes or electronic cigarettes.


It is also worth considering that if the user continues to use both vapes and traditional cigarettes, the harm to health increases. This is due to the high consumption of nicotine, which has a bad effect on the cardiovascular, respiratory and digestive systems.

2021 study

Recently, scientists again set the goal to study what is worse - cigarettes or electronic cigarettes. This time, an international team of researchers set to work. 3700 volunteers of different ages were selected as subjects. They were divided into 2 groups:

  1. The first is that users have completely switched to vapes.
  2. Second, users smoked both electronic and regular cigarettes.

A few months later, scientists measured the content in the blood of substances that stimulate oxidative processes that are dangerous to health. It was possible to find out that in the first group the number of these compounds decreased, and in the second - increased.

Based on this, we can unequivocally conclude that it is better to smoke - cigarettes or electronic cigarettes. Vapes are indeed safer for health. But in any case, those people who do not smoke at all, the content of hazardous substances in the blood is even lower.

It is also clear that the combined use of both types of products increases the negative health effects. The exact reasons for this have not yet been established. However, there is an assumption that smoking vape and regular cigarettes gets much more nicotine and other harmful substances.

How dangerous are vapes without nicotine?

It is not enough to consider only the question of which is safer - vaping or cigarettes. You should also understand how dangerous a vape is, the composition of the liquid for which does not include nicotine. Unfortunately, they are also unhealthy because they contain propylene glycol and glycerin anyway.

By themselves, they are not dangerous, however, when heated, these compounds form aldehydes and other by-products:

  • acetaldehyde (has potential carcinogenic activity);
  • glyoxal (may lead to mutations);
  • formaldehyde (carcinogen);
  • acrolein (leads to irritation of the surface of the respiratory tract).
vape smoking

It turns out that smoking a vape, even without nicotine, literally poisons the body. In addition, liquids contain flavors (such as diacetyl), which can also adversely affect lung function.

When is vaping useful?

The described studies allow us to unequivocally say which is better - an electronic cigarette or a regular cigarette. Vapes are indeed less harmful, but it is even better not to smoke at all. Thus, there is only one case where an electronic device is more useful. If a person is going to quit smoking, he should go through 2 stages:

  1. Completely switch to vaping, eliminating cigarettes.
  2. Completely abandon vapes, i.e. from smoking in general.

And first you need to use those liquids that contain about the same amount of nicotine. Then acquire less and less strong liquids, then gradually eliminate their use.

In this case, you should not understand what is the difference between a vape and an electronic cigarette. In fact, the principle of operation is the same, but the first models were outwardly completely similar to ordinary cigarettes. That is why they got such a name.

From the presented review, it is quite clear what is more harmful than cigarettes or vape without nicotine. If you arrange all the options according to the degree of harmfulness, you get the following list (in descending order):

  1. Cigarettes.
  2. Vape with nicotine.
  3. Vape without nicotine.
  4. Complete cessation of smoking.

Obviously, it is better to smoke or vape. Electronic devices are not as dangerous as classic products. However, if a person does not smoke, it is not worth starting to do so. And if he wants to quit, an electronic device will just help him.

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