This is a question that’s been a complete no brainer to vapers for years, and it’s a debate that’s raging not just in the UK but around the world. With all the facts at hand it’s a simple question, with a simple answer, so why is it proving so difficult for everyone to agree?
Over at the BBC they’ve created a nice little iW?nder page that asks this exact question: Should we switch from cigarettes to vaping? Complete with a nice little infographic their argument is this:
- Smoking 20 cigarettes a day costs around £3000 per year.
- Cigarette smokers’ lifespans are around 10 years less than non-smokers.
- 80% of lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking.
- Smokers have a 3 times higher chance of having a stroke.
- Cigarettes contain more than 7000 chemicals, many of them toxic.
- 600,000 people die every year from passive smoking.
They then go on to compare this with vaping:
- E-cigarette vapour contains much lower levels of toxic chemicals. In 2015, Public Health England estimated vaping to be about 95% safer than smoking.
- To date, studies suggest that passive bystanders inhale much less nicotine from e-cigarette vapour than from second-hand cigarette smoke, and hardly any toxins.
- An e-cigarettes starter kit costs £20 or more, and will last considerably longer that a 20 pack of smokes.
- There's no smoke or ash associated with e-cigarettes and the vapour’s odour is much less pungent. Fingers and teeth aren't discoloured, and skin's not aged.
They then go on to detail the criticism of e cigarettes and how long term studies are still unknown. But to us vapers this is a moot point. The long term effects of smoking are known, and the effects are it’s really bad for your health and will probably kill you. So what exactly have we got to lose by switching to e cigarettes? You either keep smoking, get lung cancer and die, or you switch to e cigarettes and what? You might get lung cancer and die, but the chances look much better for a longer and happier life.
They also state that nicotine addiction is bad. Well, it is bad, and cigarette smokers are addicted to nicotine. So again, this is a moot point as smokers are already hooked, so what more harm can switching to e cigs possibly do?
Finally, they round off with the old favourite of anti-vaping communities, that e cigarettes could provide a gateway to smoking. The problem with this theory is smoking has been handed down to us through generations of parents and grandparents. Every smoker in the world was a kid once, so what was their gateway into smoking?
There’s no scientific evidence either way, but to me it seems highly unlikely that someone would start vaping and then decided to move on to smoking tobacco cigarettes. Cigarettes are more expensive, they smell and they’re much more harmful, so who in their right mind would switch from vaping to smoking tobacco. It’s true that many cigarette smokers vape, and have the occasional cigarette. But that’s because they were cigarette smokers first. It’s going to take at least a generation to get a handle on the long term effects of vaping, but for now it just takes a little bit of common sense.
Should we switch from cigarettes to vaping? If you can’t quit cigarettes completely then yes, of course you should switch to vaping!