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Jun 13, 2022

Vaping vs Cigarette Smoking – what is the difference?

Is vaping safe?


With so many alternatives to continued smoking on the market today, adult smokers are likely to have heard of vaping and e-cigarettes. Questions that many smokers may have are, what is the difference between vaping and smoking cigarettes, and is vaping safe?


Firstly, none of the nicotine-containing products are safe. The best decision any smoker can make is to quit tobacco and nicotine use altogether. For those adults who would otherwise continue to smoke we will try to explain the key difference between vaping vs smoking. To begin, smoking involves lighting a cigarette and letting it burn. This process of burning, called combustion, produces cigarette smoke.


Vapes, or e-cigarettes, do not burn tobacco. Rather, they use e liquids that are heated to specific temperatures using a battery powered heating component. The vapor from e-vapor products is generated when the e-liquid is heated. There should be no combustion as nothing is lit on fire, and as a result, no smoke is produced. Vaping products are not risk-free, and they provide nicotine, which is addictive.  Vapes must not be used by minors, people who have quit smoking, and never smoked.


All nicotine-containing products should not be used during pregnancy or while breastfeeding and should not be used by people who have or are at risk of heart disease, are diabetic, are epileptic or are experiencing seizures.


Despite all the continued questions, one thing remains clear: cigarette smoking causes serious diseases and is addictive. Without question, the best decision any smoker can make is to quit tobacco and nicotine use altogether. Meanwhile, research conducted by various groups and available online indicate that e-cigarettes and vaping represent an opportunity for harm reduction.


Vaping vs smoking


Adult smokers who would otherwise continue smoking or using other nicotine products and are considering switching to vaping often wonder what is the difference between vaping vs smoking. 


In cigarettes, tobacco is burned. When burning takes place, the temperature in a cigarette can rise above 600°C in the tobacco and even exceed 800°C at the tip when one takes a puff. The high temperatures created by the process of burning (combusting) tobacco cause the production of the majority and high levels of harmful chemicals detected in cigarette smoke. While smoke is an aerosol, not all aerosols are smoke.


Vaping products work by heating e-liquids, many of which contain nicotine.  By not burning tobacco, e-cigarettes in general don’t create tobacco smoke and their aerosols should contain fewer and lower levels of harmful chemicals compared to cigarette smoke. Of course, it is a matter of scientific assessment of each particular vaping product to see if this is actually the case. Vaping products are not risk-free, and they provide nicotine, which is addictive.


Is vaping an alternative to continued smoking?


The best decision any smoker can make is to quit tobacco and nicotine use altogether. Vaping products are smoke-free alternatives to cigarettes for adults who would otherwise continue to smoke. Science and technology have enabled the development of vaping products that do not involve the combustion of tobacco. The absence of combustion is an essential element in the term “smoke-free alternative”. It is combustion that causes the production of many harmful chemicals detected in cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoke contains over 6000 different chemicals, and about a hundred of which are considered as harmful and potentially harmful constituents. The high levels of harmful chemicals in the smoke of a burning cigarette are the primary cause of smoking-related disease.


By comparison, is vaping safe? No, none of the nicotine-containing products are safe. Smoke-free products should not burn tobacco. Although not risk-free, the absence of combustion in vaping products has the potential to significantly reduce the levels of harmful chemicals generated. However, the lack of combustion and the reduction in formation of harmful chemicals should be substantiated on a product-by-product basis.


Are e-cigarettes and vapes the same thing?


What’s the difference between e-cigarettes and vapes? Nothing. They’re the same thing! E-cigarettes and vapes both refer to the same category of electronic smoke-free products that utilize e-liquids and produce vapour, and vaping is the action of using an e-cigarette or vape.


Is vaping regulated?


The way vaping is regulated varies by country. Some countries do not allow the sale of e-cigarettes or vapes at all. Others regulate them in the same manner as cigarettes. There are some countries who have created specific regulations that govern the purchase and usage of e-cigarettes as its own product category. It’s important that if you decide to switch from cigarette smoking to vaping, that you understand the vaping regulations where you live, which will govern how and what you can purchase, and where and when you can vape. In addition, you must be cognizant of what it can mean if you want to travel with your vape and check and adhere to local regulations prior to entering a different country with a vaping device. 


Does IQOS offer vaping products?


IQOS does not currently offer vapes in Palestine. If you are an adult smoker who is interested in learning more about smoke-free alternatives to cigarettes,  you can read about the differences between heated tobacco and e-cigarettes.


This article is for general information and educational purposes. Some of the information in this article is based on external, third-party sources and we make no representations or warranties of any kind regarding the accuracy, validity or completeness of such information.


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