Vaping vs. Smoking
Over the past few years, vaping has experienced a dramatic rise in popularity. According to figures from the DailyCaller, the number of Americans vaping (10%) may surpass tobacco smokers (15%) in the near future (1).
Another current trend involves more marijuana smokers using vaporizers, rather than blunts, joints, or pipes.
So what's fueling vaping's popularity? And what makes it different from smoking?
If you're a smoker who's considering the switch to vaping, or you just want to learn more about it, keep reading as we discuss the main differences between the two.
Specifically, we'll cover the following:
- How vaping and smoking differ in their delivery methods.
- Research showing how vaping is "95% safer" than smoking.
- Why smoking wins in the usability department.
- How vaping is cheaper in the long run.
- Why vaping is more socially acceptable.
Differences in Delivery - Vaping Involves Less Smoke
The general public considers smoking and vaping to be interchangeable. But while vaping's end product looks like smoke, it's not.
Vaping differs in its delivery method when compared to traditional smoking, which you can see in the following explanations.
Cigarettes, blunts, and joints change from a solid state to vapors when heated.
This process is particularly harmful concerning tobacco smoking, which is absorbed into your bloodstream from the lungs, leading to restricted blood vessels, faster heart rate, and a spike in dopamine.
Another problem with tobacco smoking is that its active ingredient, nicotine, is a stimulant that increases alertness. Once the nicotine exits your system, you crash and feel sluggish - leading you to crave more cigarettes.
Smoking marijuana follows the same pathway as cigarette smoke, leaving behind respiratory toxins.
But the effect is different from cigarettes because its active ingredient, THC, is picked up by cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2, which are found all over the body. This leads to sensations of euphoria, pain modulation, and relaxation.
Vaping involves heating active components of weed, herbs, or tobacco (e-liquid form or solid form) so that they become aerosolized (converted into a fine spray) - without starting a combustion reaction with the other compounds present.
You're virtually inhaling waterized vapors of the product. The result is that you get the fast effects of smoking, without inhaling smoke and causing significant damage to your body.
Of course, to get this positive benefit, you need a specialized device.
This is where vaporizers come in because they heat tobacco, herbs, or marijuana at a controlled temperature, giving you vapors with minimal combustion and no smoke inhalation.
How do Smoking and Vaping Health Risks Compare?
The biggest division between vaping and smoking is seen in health risk comparisons. Studies have shown that vaping is much safer for smoking herbs, weed, and tobacco.
Here's a look at different research that proves vaping is a safer alternative to smoking:
- Research from Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology at the State University of New York at Albany, shows that vaping cannabis reduces the respiratory problems associated with smoking weed through a pipe or joint (2).
- A study funded by the Spanish Council of Scientific Research shows that exhaled vapor has fewer harmful compounds than normal exhaled breath (3). And this especially means that it has far fewer harmful compounds than exhaled smoke.
- Public Health England published a study showing that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than tobacco smoking (4).
- The Royal College of Physicians noted that any potential harms from vaping are outweighed by its advantages over traditional marijuana and tobacco smoking (5).
While several respected institutions and doctors have come out with favorable studies on vaping, the problem is that the activity lacks long-term research.
"It is really surprising how few studies have been done with vaporizers," said Dr. Ian Mitchell, a physician and assistant clinical professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
Regardless of how small the body of research, Mitchell still thinks that vaping is better than smoking.
"I think the pros far outweigh the cons," he said. "As a physician, I don't condone the smoking of marijuana by anyone. That's what vaporizers are for."
Smoking vs. Vaping Ease of Use
While vaping is better for your health than smoking, the latter holds a big edge with regard to usability.
With cigarettes, you just light the end and start smoking.
Marijuana can either be rolled into blunts or joints, or packed into a pipe. Once you become handy with rolling papers, this is an easy matter.
But vaping feels like a whole new world since you need to figure out your device and its components. Here are simple steps for using a vaporizer:
- Turn your vaporizer on - The first thing you need to do is turn on the battery, so your device is ready to vape. This normally involves pushing a button 3 to 5 times to power on or off.
- Fill your atomizer - Pour e-liquid into your atomizer's fill line. If using a dry herb vaporizer, such as the Hippie Rebel, pack your herb into the heating chamber.
- Push the button to start vaporizing - Most vaporizers have a button you push to start the vaping process. With the Hippie Rebel, all you need to do is wait the 15 seconds it takes the chamber to get to the correct temperature, and once the light turns green, begin inhaling. No buttons to press.
- Set voltage/watts to lowest setting - We recommend starting at your vaporizer's lowest setting and adjusting as needed. This ensures a less-nasty taste until you find the perfect setting.
If you're worried that vaping will be too involved - don't be. All new products come with instructions that make the process easy. No papers or blunt wraps to fuss with.
Even with a little experience, vaping will become very simple.
Costs of Smoking and Vaping
When comparing smoking and vaping, there is no comparison.
Of course, vaping costs more upfront because you have to purchase a device for anywhere up to $250.
The good news is that once you have a vaporizer, you'll save a significant amount over the long run. Here's a look at how this works out.
Vaping vs. Marijuana Smoking Cost
While it doesn't seem like there's a cost difference when it comes to vaping and smoking marijuana, there actually is.
When you smoke weed, compounds inside of the buds continually dissipate, regardless of whether you're inhaling or not. The reason why is because the fire continues burning as long as it has fuel and somewhere to spread.
Contrast this to vaporizers, which preserve most of the THC, even when you're not inhaling.
A study by California NORML (marijuana lobbyist) and MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) found that vaporizers convert 46% of THC into vapor, compared to joints converting only 25% (6).
The extra 21% of THC that a vaporizer preserves will save you a lot of money.
Vaping vs. Tobacco Smoking Cost
An average cost for e-liquid and replacement atomizer coils is around $50 per month.
Now, let's say that you smoke one pack of cigarettes per day at $10 per pack. You'd pay $300 (10 x 30 days) in this case - or a difference of $250.
Why Vaping is More Socially Accepted
Vaping also beats smoking in the social acceptance category for the following reasons:
- Vaporized marijuana isn't as pungent as using a blunt or pipe. You'll still smell it, but the aroma won't hang around as long as when smoking cannabis.
- E-cigarettes smell good, like peppermint, vanilla, or whatever flavor you choose. Smoking tobacco, on the other hand, smells awful.
- E-cigarettes won't stain your teeth, result in second-hand smoke, or make your breath smell bad. Tobacco does all of these things.
Final Thoughts on Vaping vs. Smoking
As you can see, vaping has several advantages over smoking both marijuana and tobacco.
My personal favorite is that you breathe in fewer toxins than smoking joints, blunts, and cigarettes. Of course, lower long-term costs are another reason to vape.
The two catches with vaping include upfront costs and needing instructions to use your vaporizer. But once you have these nailed down, then you should definitely enjoy vaping over smoking.
If you have any questions or concerns whatsoever about any of The Hippie's Vaporizers, or about our newest vaporizer, The Hippie Rebel in particular‚ please do not hesitate to call me personally at (863) 216–5767 or you can reach me by email at [email protected].
Keep Calm & Continue Vaping‚
- Harm Reduction Journal 2007 4:11 DOI: 10.1186/1477-7517-4-11
- J Chromatogr A. 2015 Sep 4;1410:51-9. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2015.07.094. Epub 2015 Jul 29