To vape or not to vape, that is the question.

Good question, are you a smoker or contemplating starting a smoking habit. There might be some questions you want answered before you begin. First of all Vaping by definition is inhaling and exhaling the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.

At first glance its easy to look at someone puffing an e-cigarette and immediately determine that person is smoking, especially if they are vaping a standard sized e-cigarette with a glowing tip. Vapor from an e-cigarette is nearly identical to smoke, at least visually. But because e-cigs are relatively new nicotine-delivery products, there are many unanswered questions about their safety and health impacts, including questions about their long-term use and effectiveness in helping traditional smokers to quit.

Whether you’re taking combusted smoke into your lungs or vapor, there are going to be some quite serious health complications that come along with it. The health implications of smoking are a lot more defined and outlined, with vaping being a little more mysterious in the long term.


The process of smoking includes the combustion of tobacco; created out of thousands of chemicals including at least 70 that have a strong connection to cancer, referred to as “carcinogens”. Some of the well-known chemicals include:

Nicotine- the addictive chemical, gives the user the desire to want more. When people say they’re addicted to smoking they’re addicted to nicotine.

Hydrogen Cyanide





Carbon Monoxide


The main process of vaping removes the need to combust anything, removing a handful of the harmless chemicals listed above. This is where many people get the assumption that vaping is safer than smoking. Studies on the vapor produced from vaping suggest there is a significant difference between the number of carcinogens found compared to cigarette smoke. With over 20+ found in cigarette smoke compared to only a few in the vapor. Here are some of the well-known chemicals found in vaping:

Nicotine-the addictive chemical, gives the user the desire to want more. When people say they’re addicted to smoking, they are addicted to nicotine.

Propylene Glycol (Vegetable oil)

Vegetable Glycerol



And because e-cigarettes have been on the market for only about 10 years. There have been no long- term studies of people who have used them for 30-40 years. Therefore, the full extent of e-cigs effects on heart and lung health, as well as their cancer-causing potential, over time is not known.

But all in all even if e-cigarettes involves some health risks, they are not more toxic than smoking cigarettes and so anything that can get people away from tobacco is moving them in the right direction. Vaping gives people a safer alternative because although users are still getting nicotine, they are getting lower levels of some of the toxic substances and carcinogens found in cigarette smoke.

When comparing vaping and smoking there are many different aspects to take into consideration. In the bigger picture, the only thing throwing a little bit of shade on vaping is the long-term effects, something that only time can unveil.

Jerry Trevino MHA, RRT, LNFA was the interim administrator of Winters Nursing Home. The Health and Wellness Coalition of Runnels County is comprised of health care professionals throughout the county. Members meet on the first Thursday of the first full week of the month.