On the face of it, that’s a simple question. Is vaping better than smoking? Simple yes or no question that should have a simple yes or no answer, right?
Well, sort of. Before we dive in, we’ve got a question for you, the reader.
What do you mean by better?
What are you judging it on? Do you mean better in terms of quality or variety? Better in terms of safety or risk? Or better in terms of affordability and cost?
When it comes to vapes vs tobacco, it’s very rarely the first one. Nobody goes “vaping is better because you don’t get apple crumble flavour tobacco.” When you ask if it’s better, you usually mean in terms of your health, your safety and your pocket.
So in this post, we’re going to look at three criteria to determine once and for all whether vaping is better than smoking. What do we mean by “better?” Simple.
- Is it healthier? Cigarettes cause huge health problems. Does vaping?
- Is it safer? Cigarettes also cause a number of accidents and injuries. Does vaping?
- Is it cheaper? Cigarettes don’t just harm your body, they harm your bank account. Does vaping?
Now we’ve cleared that up, let’s begin.
Is Vaping Healthier than Smoking?
This is the main question that people switching to vaping ask. For most people, “is vaping better than smoking” boils down to a question of health. And quite right too, because smoking is one of the most harmful things you can do.
Smoking related illnesses kill nearly 80,000 people in the UK each and every year. By comparison, less than 2,000 die from car accidents, around 36,000 from strokes (many linked to smoking) and 40,000 from heart disease (again, many of which are smoking related).
It’s difficult to find many things more harmful than smoking. And that short list wouldn’t include vaping. Comparing tobacco smoke to eliquid vapour should show you why.
What’s in Tobacco Smoke?
We won’t list all 5,000 chemicals that are found in cigarette smoke. We won’t even list all 60 cancer-causing carcinogens. Instead, we’ll just list some of the compounds in every single puff off tobacco that you might be familiar with.
This is what kills people in gas leaks. Breathe in carbon monoxide, and less oxygen reaches your heart, your brain, your lungs. No wonder tobacco can make you light-headed.
Ever heard a poem from World War One? The one about people dying from breathing in gas? Chances are that the gas in question was hydrogen cyanide. That’s right, tobacco smoke contains something that’s a literal weapon of war. Enjoy your fag.
There are two ways to get enough benzene in your system to give your cancer. One, work in an oil refinery or chemical works for a few years, ignore all of the safety advice, and inhale as much industrial byproduct as possible. Two, pop down the shops and buy a packet of cigarettes. It’s easier.
Ever wished your lungs had that same glossy black finish as a freshly resurfaced bit of road? Cigarettes are absolutely jam packed with tar, tar that clogs up the delicate tissues of your lungs, tar that gives you an awful hacking cough, and tar that makes it harder to breathe. Oh, and as an added bonus it can give you cancer too.
We’re sorry if this comes across as lecturing, but let’s face it. We all know cigarette smoke is bad. It’s just worth repeating how bad it is and why.
So let’s compare that to what’s in the eliquid that makes the vapour you’ll inhale when you vape.
What’s in Eliquid Vapour?
We’ll list all of the ingredients of an eliquid here for you, just to make sure you’re clear. All of them. Every single one we use.
Propylene Glycol (PG)
This is a food grade chemical that’s been used in the food manufacturing industry for years. It’s safe for people to consume. And it’s also sometimes used to make medicines, including medicine that you inhale, such as the nebulizers that severe asthmatics use.
Vegetable Glycerin (VG)
Do you know where else you’ll find VG? Ice cream. That’s right. To get the chemicals from a cigarette, you go to an oil refinery. To find ingredients in eliquid, you can head to the freezer section of your local supermarket.
Yep. Food-safe. Safe for food. Safe for people. Chances are, you’ll eat loads of these every single day. And in far larger amounts than you’ll find in an eliquid.
Nicotine in very large doses is bad for you. It’s also highly addictive. If you don’t smoke, please don’t buy eliquids with nicotine in them. It’s an addiction you can do without.
So that's a list of what is in our eliquids. But we still get asked questions about other ingredients, compounds and chemicals that might be present.
So for the avoidance of any doubt, our eliquids do not contain any of the following:
- Vitamin E Acetate
Just by comparing the list of chemicals and ingredients in tobacco smoke and eliquid vapour, you’ll get an idea that vaping is far, far healthier than smoking. But we know that ingredients don’t tell the whole story.
So here’s a quote from Public Health England about whether vaping is a cancer risk:
“For the main carcinogen in tobacco smoke, levels in e-cigarette users were close to that of non-smokers.”
And just for good measure, here's a video from PHE which once again states that vaping is "95 less harmful than smoking", along with a physical experiment on what both actions do to the lungs.
And here’s a quote from the NHS:
“Electronic Cigarettes carry a fraction of the risk of cigarettes.”
Okay, you want one more?
Well how about a nice little infographic from Cancer Research UK
That seems pretty clear to us. Is vaping better than smoking? When it comes to your health, it’s not even close.
Is Vaping Safer than Smoking?
Some of you might think this has already been answered. We’ve just decided that eliquids contain less dangerous chemicals than tobacco does, and that doctors have shown people have next to none of the carcinogens that plague smokers after they switch to a vape.
But if you read the papers, you might think that owning a vape will put you in danger because of explosive battery failure. There was a period a few years back where you couldn’t click on a news website without an angry looking customer holding a burned out vape pen and nursing a nasty bruise. Say what you want about lung cancer, but outside of Tom and Jerry cartoons, cigarettes very rarely explode.
Used Safely, Vapes Don’t Cause Fires
Then again, nor do vapes.
The main reason a vape battery explodes is because you’re charging it up wrong. Every single vape pen, pod vape or mod includes a rechargeable battery. By their very nature, rechargeable batteries have to be powered up slowly, over time. That’s why if you buy some rechargeable AAAs, they’ll come with a special charger.
But to make life easy for you, we package our vape kits with a USB charger that’s designed to be used with a PC or laptop. That way your computer doles out a charge over a long period of time to avoid overheating and damage to the battery.
So what do people who suffer from vape battery overloads and failures do? They charge their mod or their pen up using a phone charger and the mains. Exactly what all of our information tells them not to do!
In the vanishingly small number of cases where a vape has exploded or caught fire, it’s usually the case that the vaper in question hasn’t followed these simple safety instructions:
- DO use the USB charging cable supplied
- DON’T use a phone charger
- DO charge from the USB port on your PC or laptop
- DON’T charge from the mains
- DO unplug your battery when it’s charged
- DON’T leave it plugged in overnight
But what about cigarettes. They never explode because they don’t need charging, right?
Right. But there’s something that cigarettes do on a scarily regular basis.
Cigarettes Are the Leading Cause of House Fires
Ask a firefighter. What causes most accidental fires? It’s not forks in the microwave, or spilling soup on a plug socket, or letting off fireworks in the front room. It’s cigarettes.
Almost 3,000 house fires each year are started by cigarettes. Since ecigarettes entered the UK market, the BBC could only find 100 cases of fires started by vape pens.
3,000 per year compared to 100 ever. That’s not even a contest.
Is vaping safer than smoking? When it comes to accidents, injuries and fires, we can pop another yes next to vaping.
By now it’s looking clear that vaping is better than smoking. But there’s one last thing to consider. The cost. So let’s get out our calculators and crunch some numbers, shall we?
Is Vaping Cheaper than Smoking?
Even before we do the maths here, you can probably guess the answer. Packet of cigarettes, £10. Bottle of eliquid, £1. £10 is more expensive than £1. Eliquids are cheaper, therefore vaping is cheaper, therefore vaping is better than smoking, three for three, clean sweep.
Guessing the answer is easy. So let’s ask a more difficult one. How much would you save over a year if you switched from smoking 10 cigarettes per day to vaping? Think of the number. In fact, write it down. If you’re within £50 or so of the actual answer, give yourself a pat on the back.
It’s Very Expensive to Smoke
The NHS tell people that it costs £3,000 a year to smoke. We could take that on trust, but let’s work it out ourselves. A packet of fags costs around a tenner. The most popular brand is £10.35. Most people smoke around ten per day, which equates to a pack every two days.
10 cigarettes per day = £5.17 (and a half) per day. Over four weeks, that’s £144.90, and over a full year that’s £1,883.70. A bit lower than the NHS figure, but they’ll have people who smoke 20 per day dragging the average up.
Anyway, £1,883.70 per year. That’s our figure to beat.
It’s Not Very Expensive to Vape
Straight away you’re thinking you’ll use less than 145 bottles of £1 eliquid per month, so you’re saving some money. But how much exactly.
Let’s take a look at more than eliquid. Because you’ll need an ecigarette.
Let’s get you a nice one. The Deluxe E-Cigarette starter kit. And some coils. And some liquids. Most people go through three bottles a week, but we’ll be generous and give you 15 bottles so you have spares.
Are you ordering online? Yes? Good. If you spend over £10 (which you have), delivery is free.
So let’s add up your month one costs:
Deluxe Vape Pen x1: £9.99
Spare Coils (x4): £7.98
11mg PG Eliquids (x15): £15.00
Those of you who are good at adding and subtracting will already know that’s a saving of £111.93. In just ONE month.
Now we could just multiply that number by 12 to give you a yearly figure, but that’d be daft. You won’t need a new starter kit every month. But you do need to replace them, so let’s say you’re a heavy user and need a new battery and kit every three months.
Here’s your yearly costs (sticking with 15 bottles a month, which means after a year you’ll have loads of spares):
Deluxe Vape Pen x4: £39.96
Spare Coils (x48): £95.76
11mg PG Eliquids (x180): £180.00
Over 12 months, switching to vaping will save you a massive £1567.98.
If you guessed £1500, we’ll let you claim that as a moral victory.
How close were you?
So, is Vaping Really Better than Smoking?
To end this article, we’re really tempted to tell you about our customers. People like Jill, who save nearly a hundred pounds a month thanks to our £1 range of eliquids. Or people in our office, like Alex who finally quit smoking after nearly 20 20 years thanks to our vape pens.
But in the spirit of the article, we’ll stick to the facts. Three questions. Three answers. Three ways to decide if vaping really is better than smoking.
Is vaping healthier than smoking? The NHS says yes. The British Heart Foundation says yes. A brief look at what’s in tobacco smoke compared to eliquid vapour suggests yes. So the answer is definitely yes.
Is vaping less likely to cause an accident than smoking? Despite the odd tale in the papers of a vape pen battery exploding when it’s incorrectly charged, there’s no way vapes match the thousands of fires caused each year by cigarettes. Is vaping safer? Yes.
And finally, is vaping better for your bank balance than smoking? You’ve seen our maths earlier in the article, and you know this one isn’t even close. Vaping saves you not a few pounds, not a hundred or so pounds, but thousands and thousands of pounds each year. Is it cheaper? Yes!So with all that in mind, it’s time for you to make your decision. Is vaping better than smoking? You know the answer.