Taking smoke into the body is incompatible with a healthy lifestyle – yet the temptation is strong and difficult to overcome. Those seeking to quit smoking to pursue a healthier lifestyle often either seek out a smoking cessation strategy such as nicotine patches or gum, or alternately, find something satisfying that does not deliver the carcinogens contained in combustible cigarette smoke.
Part of the problem is that the psychological satisfaction a smoker derives from smoking simply cannot be replicated with a nicotine patch, which is why this particular solution often falls short. Some turn to overeating to fulfill their oral fixation, which is harmful in an entirely different way.
Herbal, nicotine-free cigarettes don’t offer a meaningful alternative – while they may lack the nicotine contained in traditional tobacco cigarettes, they still produce smoke – and any type of smoke is harmful. In fact, herbal cigarettes still deliver relatively high levels of carbon monoxide and other toxins.
Very Low Nicotine Cigarettes (VLNC) Are Not Less Carcinogenic Than Traditional Cigarettes
There is also a persistent myth that very low nicotine content (VLNC) cigarettes are less carcinogenic than traditional cigarettes, which has definitively demonstrated time and again to be an inaccurate contention.
Although the decreased nicotine content may render these cigarettes less addictive, the process of smoking them still requires the burning of plant matter, which in turn releases the same level of carcinogens found in traditional cigarettes.
It’s important to note that nicotine is not the cancer-causing agent in cigarettes, but rather the compound that instigates addiction. Rather, the tar, the 4,000 chemicals, and the carcinogens contained in the smoke are what pose the real health hazard.
Is Vaping a Viable and Healthier Alternative?
Whether vaping is a viable and healthier alternative has been subject to some significant debate, and vaping is often incorrectly equated to smoking. E-cigarettes take a liquid made of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, and vaporize it by applying heat. This is a stark contrast to smoking, which requires the burning of matter to produce smoke. As a result, the amount of toxins inhaled into the lungs is significantly reduced.
“Current Generation E-cigarettes Are Less Harmful Than Smoking Cigarettes.”
The FDA notes in a recent position paper that “based on current available evidence, using current generation e-cigarettes is less harmful than smoking cigarettes.” The agency further notes that “switching to the exclusive use of e-cigarettes is preferable to continuing to smoke combustible products.” In fact, in a recent statement, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb stated that “if we can switch every adult smoker to e-cigarettes, it would have a huge public health impact.”The National Academy of Sciences also confirmed that vaping is safer than smoking, and that there are no known long-term health effects.
The report also notes that second-hand vapor is safer than second-hand tobacco smoke, vaping is less addictive than smoking, and that switching from combustible cigarettes to vaping will lessen health risks. Multiple scientific reports clearly contradict the anti-vaping lobby’s contention that vaping is just as dangerous as cigarettes. These agencies do not encourage people who don’t smoke to start vaping – the health risks are significantly less, but not nonexistent.
What About Diacetyl and Popcorn Lung?
Some vaping liquids contain small amounts of diacetyl, the chemical implicated in “popcorn lung,” a respiratory disorder that was seen in workers in microwave popcorn factories where diacetyl was used as a flavoring agent. Recent FDA guidance and industry best practices, however, will implement in-house testing of vape liquids to determine the presence of diacetyl and other chemicals.
Indeed, the majority of reputable e-juice manufacturers offer lab reports for each of their flavors, which depict the levels of diacetyl and other chemical compounds that exist in their products. Vapor Authority, one of the more established online vendors of vape equipment and e-liquids, offers a good selection of vape liquids from companies which already do in-house testing, including the Halo line, which is diacetyl-free.
As a smoking alternative or cessation tool, the science has shown that vaping is a better option when sourced from a reliable vendor, and useful as a tool for those who wish to find a viable alternative to combustible cigarettes.