Smoking vs Vaping: Differences & Impact on your Health?

One hand holding a cigarette, the other holding an e-cigarette

Both vaping and smoking have hazards and adverse effects. According to scientists, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are not a safe substitute for smoking. However, the medical community does not entirely understand the long-term health implications of e-cigarettes.

Vapers inhale an aerosol containing numerous compounds through an e-cigarette or other vaping device, including nicotine and flavouring. The various flavours available are why teenagers are becoming more interested in vaping.

According to the AHA, many individuals feel that vaping is a safer alternative to smoking, yet this is not always the case. In addition, vaping appears to be harmful, as per the mounting data. This article will compare smoking and vaping and learn about the long-term impact and risks of both.

What exactly is vaping?

The liquid is heated and converted into an aerosol (vapour) during the vaping process, which the user inhales. Additionally, there are two types of vaping devices, sometimes known as e-cigarettes. More complicated tank devices, as well as discrete pod devices or vape pens, fall into this category.

What is vape liquid made of?

The liquid included in e-cigarettes and vape devices is known as vape juice. An internal coil warms the liquid and transforms it into a vapour which becomes breathable when heated by the device's battery. E-liquids are available in many flavours and may or may not contain nicotine. Tobacco is not present in vape e-liquids. However, they may be engineered to taste like it.

Why is it addictive?

One of the most distinguishing features of vape liquid is the wide range of flavours available. While cigarettes may be flavoured with mint or fruit, tobacco and smoke are still the dominant tastes. E-liquids, on the other hand, may be flavoured in an almost infinite number of ways, allowing customers to choose something that they like that does not taste or smell like tobacco smoke. This is one of the reasons vaping has become a habit in young adults.

What is Smoking?

By far, the most prevalent way for people to consume tobacco and sustain their nicotine addiction is by smoking. Inhaling the vapours of burning tobacco plant material is known as smoking. Tobacco contains nicotine, an addictive chemical with stimulating and soothing psychoactive effects.

What are the forms of smoked tobacco products?

There is a wide range of tobacco products available, and while cigarettes are by far the most common, they are far from the only way to inhale tobacco smoke. Most of these techniques and products date back when cigarettes were not widely available, but they have proven to thrive and maintain a vast user base.


A cigarette is a tobacco roll. Almost all items wrapped in thin paper or something else that does not include tobacco are referred to by this term. Cigarettes are the most widely used nicotine delivery technique in most developed countries, with cigars and other tobacco smoking items taking over only in Cuba and India, where hookahs are favoured.

Menthol and light cigarettes

For some reason, most individuals believe that smoking cigarettes labelled as 'light,' 'mild,' or 'ultra' lower health risks. Unfortunately, there is not a scrap of proof to back this up. The same goes for menthol cigarettes. They include chemicals made to taste like peppermint and spearmint plants, and when smoked, they produce a cooling effect.

Pipes and cigars

Pipes and cigar smokers frequently argue that by avoiding cigarettes, which they believe is the most dangerous nicotine delivery technique, they avoid the most severe health risks associated with tobacco use.

What is the difference between vaping and smoking?

Tobacco is burned to produce tobacco smoke, which can then be inhaled. On the other hand, vaping involves heating a liquid to create an aerosol or vapour, as discussed above. In addition, the chemical structure of the aerosol formed by heating liquid is far simpler than that of cigarette smoke, which can contain up to 7,000 different chemical elements.

As a result, smokers who shift to vaping will significantly minimise their exposure to carcinogens and toxins inhaled. In addition, lower toxicant exposure reduces the risk of smoking-related chronic diseases such as cancer and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and heart disease.

Which is the safer option?

According to the evidence, smoking cigarettes appears to be more dangerous than vaping. This does not, however, imply that vaping is risk-free.

More than 7,000 compounds are found in second-hand smoke, from cigarettes, inhaled by bystanders. Hundreds of these compounds are poisonous, with about 70 of those compounds causing cancer. According to the American Heart Association, although vaping liquids contain fewer toxins than cigarettes, they are not entirely safe.


Unlike vaping, which is still relatively new, years of research-backed allegations proclaim that smoking is harmful to human health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking results in:

  • Damage to the body's organs
  • High risk of having health problems including stroke and heart issues such as heart disease


Vapers may be at risk due to the following factors:

  • Nicotine exposure is known to delay the development of the brain in babies, children, and teens can be found in considerable amounts in e-cigarettes.
  • Adults and children are at risk if they swallow, inhale, or come into contact with the liquid that produces the mist.
  • Vaping also exposes you to potentially harmful chemicals such as carcinogenic chemicals, diacetyl, heavy metals, and Volatile Organic Compounds.

Vaping is less harmful than smoking but it's still not safe

E-cigarettes produce aerosols that can contain nicotine, flavouring or other chemicals. Regular tobacco cigarettes contain many more harmful substances and some are toxic to health. While it's not clear exactly how many chemicals are present in an e-cigarette, it is pretty clear why smoking an e-cigarette is safer. However, there have been a number of lung infections and fatalities reported directly related to vaping. So be careful not to qualify vaping as a 100% safe practice.

Use vaping to quit smoking

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence even suggests that using E-cigarettes can assist smokers in stopping the habit. They claim that research has shown that e-cigarettes are considerably less harmful than cigarette smoking. However, they do not know the long-term effects of e-cigarettes on one's health.

Smoking's long-term effects

According to the NHS, 78,000 people in the UK die from smoking yearly. In addition, many smokers live with debilitating smoking-related illnesses.

Smoking has several long-term health consequences. According to the CDC, smoking:

  • lowers the number of sperm produced
  • raises the likelihood of miscarriage or congenital disabilities
  • risk of developing cataracts
  • affects immune system
  • increases inflammation
  • causes lung, stomach, and kidney cancer
  • induces asthma
  • causes stroke
  • heart disease

Vaping's long-term effects

While research shows that vaping can affect the lungs and other body systems, it has less impact than tobacco smoking. However, as mentioned above, the long-term effects on one's physical health are mostly unknown.

Vaping has the potential to:

  • damage your lungs
  • produce free radicals into the body, which encourage cancer formation
  • affect the immune system
  • slow brain growth in children, babies, and teens

Some users have also reported getting burned while recharging their e-cigarettes because of exploding batteries.

Vaping and COVID-19 Pandemic

After the coronavirus pandemic started in 2019, Reports showed that sales of cigarettes decreased. The rise in the consumption of e-cigarettes in general affects a number of e-cigarette users. The rate of people vaping each day was 1 in 5, however that has increased somewhat which may cause more nicotine addictions. Vaping, smoking, or other lung irritants are known as contributing factors to COVID-19 respiratory conditions.


Smoking and vaping have similar destructive health impacts, including lung damage and elevated cancer risk. According to researchers, the long-term consequences of smoking are better understood than those of vaping. On the other hand, vaping products contain far fewer hazardous chemicals than cigarettes and can be a helpful tool for quitting smoking. While vape devices can help people inhale less tar and other toxins, they can become a more addictive habit.

If you want to learn more about how to quit smoking, see our information page here.

For a full range of blood tests and medications, visit our Welzo Online Pharmacy Page. For more details, click here.

Share article
1 of 4
1 of 4
Get 10% off your first order
Get 10% off your first order

Plus get the inside scoop on our latest content and updates in our monthly newsletter.