If you’re a smoker the chances are you’ve seen a lot of people – probably including some of your friends – switch over to electronic cigarettes int eh last couple of years.
The media has been pretty negative about vaping, though, so you may be wondering why they bother.
After all, the newspapers regularly tell us that e-cigarettes are at least as dangerous as actual lit tobacco, so is there any actual point moving over to them?
Yes, there definitely is.
It’s always a good idea to be sceptical of what you see in the media, and that goes double when they’re talking about vaping.
Most of the negative articles you see are driven by a handful of anti-nicotine activists who just hate electronic cigarettes; most of the health establishments in the UK actually have much more positive views.
That’s because switching to vaping has some serious benefits.
Here are the 5 main benefits we’ll be looking at:
- It’s safer than smoking
- It saves you money
- It’s less messy
- There’s less risk of fire
- You can vape in more places
1. IT’S SAFER THAN SMOKING
Whatever the more hysterical journalists think, vaping is not as dangerous as smoking.
It isn’t “too early to say”, either.
Of course, vaping probably isn’t 100% safe – but what is? Drinking coffee isn’t 100% safe either.
In fact one leading British tobacco expert has said the risks of vaping and drinking coffee are pretty much the same.
The best evidence we have right now suggests that switching to vaping cuts out at least 95% of the harm of smoking. That’s a pretty significant reduction, and in fact it’s even more impressive than it sounds.
Going smokeless eliminates 95% of the harm, not the risk of death; as far as we can tell so far the 95% includes all the heart disease and cancer.
The 5% that’s left is a few cases of dry throats or runny noses – plus the mostly theoretical harm of “nicotine addiction”.
It actually seems that nicotine isn’t very addictive at all when separated from tobacco, but even if you do depend on it, if it isn’t hurting you (it’s not) does that really count as harm anyway?
2. IT SAVES YOU MONEY
A disposable electronic cigarette is the cheapest kind to buy – you can find them for less than £5 – but, because you’ll have to buy a new one every day, they’re the most expensive to use in the long run.
Even so, if you switch to those you’ll save almost half the money you used to spend on smoking.
E-cigarettes that use a rechargeable battery and pre-filled cartomisers are a lot cheaper. Switch to one of those and it works out between 60% and 75% cheaper than smoking.
There’s more of an up-front cost for the starter kit, but that will pay for itself very quickly. If you really want to save money it’s best to go straight for a refillable device.
These are the most expensive to buy, but even then you can get a decent starter kit for the cost of two packs of cigarettes.
Add a bottle of liquid and you’re still looking at a setup that will pay for itself in less than three days.
After that, adding up the cost of liquid and replacement coils, you can be spending less than a couple of pounds a day. Start mixing your own liquids and that will fall even more.
Even a high end vaping device will cost less than a couple of weeks’ supply of cigarettes. As well as the cost of actually vaping, think of the other money you’ll save.
You won’t have to buy lighters or ashtrays any more, and you’ll cut down on dry cleaning and clothing costs, too.
3. IT’S LESS MESSY
Even if you’re careful, smoking scatters ash everywhere.
After you switch to vaping you’ll find that dusting is much less of a chore, and your walls and furniture will stop collecting a yellow film of tar.
You can also say goodbye to little holes burned in your clothes and upholstery. Even most smokers dislike the smell of stale smoke; with vaping that isn’t a problem.
Some liquids produce almost no odour; others are more noticeable – but you’re smelling fruit, chocolate or fragrant pipe tobacco, not smoke.
It’s far more pleasant for everyone.
4. THERE’S LESS FIRE RISK
The media pounce on every case of an electronic cigarette starting a fire, but the truth is this happens very rarely – and, when it does, it’s usually because somebody made a mistake.
Use the right charger, handle batteries safely and there’s almost no chance of anything catching fire or exploding.
The reality is, e-cigarettes can’t catch fire. The batteries can, if they’re mistreated, but they’re exactly the same lithium ion batteries that are used in iPods, mobile phones, tablets and laptops.
Those sometimes catch fire too, but the media don’t seem to make such a fuss about it.
Meanwhile, cigarettes are still one of the most common causes of house fires – and they’re to blame for one out of every three fires that causes deaths.
A dropped cigarette can easily start a fire; a dropped e-cigarette will be switched off by the time it hits the floor.
5. YOU CAN VAPE IN MORE PLACES
Obviously you can’t vape everywhere, and the owners of any property have the right to say you can’t vape in it, but vaping indoors isn’t illegal like smoking is.
If the landlord of a pub says you can vape, you can – it isn’t breaking any law. The same goes for vaping in your car; that’s not illegal either.
The reason it’s illegal to smoke in enclosed public places, like restaurants and pubs, is that some evidence says secondhand smoke can harm other people.
This is not true for exhaled e-cigarette vapor. Repeated studies have found that it doesn’t contain toxic levels of anything; it’s harmless to bystanders.
Be respectful of other people, and if the owner of a place asks you not to vape, accept that. Don’t blow huge clouds in public, because many people find this annoying.
If businesses get a lot of complaints they might bring in a ban to end them, so creating as much vapor as you can just to make a point is messing things up for other vapers.
But vaping isn’t smoking, so unless the owner has banned vaping (if you’re not sure, ask) then a “No smoking” sign doesn’t mean “No vaping”.
Are there any other benefits that you’ve had from vaping? Let us know in the comments below…