We don’t “know” the long-term effects per se, since vaping itself hasn’t been around long enough to know with absolute certainty.
Nevertheless, we can come to certain educated conclusions based on what we know of the safety of similar technologies that have existed far longer. We can also treat certain claims and fears with requisite skepticism by recognizing the historical motivation behind them.
The vaping question has become clouded (no pun intended) by the existence of smoking before it. People see the two similarly, despite the fact that they couldn’t be more different.
I’ve been interested in this topic since before vapes were even called vapes. I’ve made my own vaping liquid, coils, etc and read everything there is to read on it.
At its core, vaping technology is not actually anything terribly new. It’s a miniaturized version of novelty fog machines.
What’s more, it uses primarily the same ingredients.
Vaping consists of a heating coil that boils a liquid into steam.
That’s what “vape” means. It means vapor, which means steam. You’re inhaling steam.
Vapor, ie. steam, looks similar to smoke. But it is not smoke. Not by a longshot.
Don’t believe me? Try this little thought-experiment:
Stick your face over a boiling tea kettle and inhale.
Then stick your face over a burning fire and inhale.
This is, in a very literal sense, the difference between vaping and smoking.
We learned this concept in kindergarten, folks: Just because two things look similar doesn’t mean they have anything in common.
Vape liquid contains practically nothing. It’s a very simple mixture of water, the common food/nebulizer/fog machine bases called Propylene Glycol and Glycerin, and food flavorings. If you vape with nicotine, it also contains that.
Otherwise, the “harmful chemicals” people talk about in relation to vaping are simply non-existent. They are a mere assumption born out of lack of understanding of what vapes actually are, and the long and sordid history that smoking has engendered in the population, which due to the visual similarity is all brought to bear when people see puffy clouds and draw simplistic conclusions.
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Even if you vape with nicotine, here’s a shocker: Nicotine is not the component of cigarette smoke that’s harmful.
Nicotine, in the doses delivered by smoking and vaping, does nothing but make a person addicted to nicotine. That’s it, aside from also being a mild stimulant (akin to caffeine in terms of degree). While becoming addicted to anything isn’t smart or convenient, this particular addictive substance is not harmful in any other way.
Nicotine alone does not cause cancer, nor any of the other forms of lung damage we associate with tobacco use.
What’s harmful about smoking is…. wait for it….
Smoke comes from burning plant matter. It contains hundreds of carcinogens that, combined, we call “tar”. It coats and damages your lungs over time. Vapes do not produce these, because they do not produce smoke. They produce something that is similar in looks alone.
This plethora of “harmful chemicals” in vape liquid is nothing but a baseless assumption made by people who do not understand the technology or the ingredients.
Taking a puff of a vape is quite literally like standing next to a novelty fog machine for a few minutes. You get all the same “chemicals” from both (with the exception of nicotine, which, as previously stated, is not the component of smoking that degrades a person’s health).
Were vapes to have come into existence without our long history with the tobacco industry clouding our judgment, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. That long and messy situation has made us hyper-vigilant when judging anything that reminds us of their dastardly practices. Seeing someone puff away so similarly triggers us into hysterics, PTSD-style: “Oh no! Not again!”
Yeah yeah. Calm yourself and educate yourself.
As a cigarette smoker for 10 years who was up to a pack per day, vaping is a godsend. It lets me calm my nicotine shakes without all the detriments to my health that come from smoke. Tens of millions of smokers have been saved by this simple technology.
Vapor is a visually- and tactilely-similar delivery system for a person’s nicotine fix. It lets us dispense with the very difficult prospect of quitting nicotine altogether by delivering the drug much more safely, without the need for the accompanying cancer-causing smoke.
Don’t make snap judgments based on looks. That’s always been a poor method of arriving at truth.