Powered by the battery, the atomizer heats up the cartridge with the e-juice and chemicals, turning the liquid to vapour. There are many different types of vapes and they can look just like cigarettes or completely different like tube mods or box mods, like a long cylindrical unit or a small box with mouthpieces.
Vapes are still harmful, but far less harmful than cigarettes. Consider the pros and cons below and YOU be the judge.
- Vapes are harmful, but less harmful than smoking commercial tobacco because there is no combustion or smoke.
- Vapes may have the potential to help smokers quit smoking cigarettes, depending on the model, but the finding is weak.2 So, vapes are not a scientifically proven quit aid.
- Vapes are the new kids on the block; only on the market since the 2000s. As such, the long-term health effects are still unknown.3
- The vapour is not water or air – it contains toxic compounds and carcinogens that are found in cigarette smoke (although in smaller quantities), including carbonyl compounds like formaldehyde and tobacco-specific nitrosamines. Traces of heavy metal, including cadmium, nickel and lead are also there.4
- Vapes are not approved or regulated by Health Canada. So, ingredients in the juice may not be listed or they may be mislabeled.5 You never know what you’re getting.
- E-juice can be toxic if ingested, even in small quantities.6 This is a concern especially for children and pets.
- While vapes are likely to reduce smokers’ health risks, in the long-term they are no more effective than other safe and proven cessation aids like the nicotine patch.7 Smokers’ using the nicotine patch to quit should avoid vaping as it has been shown to reduce the likelihood of success.8
- Since vapes can be used in places where smoking is normally not allowed, this could make smoking more acceptable and weaken the efforts of tobacco control.
The verdict is clear. Although vapes may have lower risk than smoking cigarettes, there is no benefit to their use if the consumer does not stop smoking regular cigarettes. Because vapes still contain toxic ingredients and may contain nicotine, they should be avoided, especially among non-smokers and individuals trying to quit.
- CAMH Monitor, 2015
- Malas, M., van der Tempel, J., Schwartz, R., Minichiello, A., Lightfoot, C., Noormohamed, A., et al. (2016). Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation: A systematic review. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 18 (10), 1926-1936.
- Callahan-Lyon, P. (2014). Electronic cigarettes: human health effects. Tobacco Control, 23S2, ii36-3340.
- Goniewicz, M.L., Knysak, J., Gawron, M., Kosmider, L., Sobczak, A., Kurek, J., Prokopowicz, A., Jablonska-Czapla, M., Rosik-Dulewska, C., Havel, C., Jacob, P., & Benowitz, N. (2014). Levels of selected carcinogens and toxicants in vapour from electronic cigarettes. Tobacco Control, 23 (2), 133-139.
- Health Canada. (2009). Drugs and Health Products. Notice – To All Persons Interested in Importing, Advertising or Selling Electronic Smoking Products in Canada. Retrieved June 9, 2014 from hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodpharma/applic-demande/pol/notice_avis_e-cig-eng.php.
- Center for Public Health and Tobacco Policy. (2013). E-Cigarettes Fact Sheet. Retrieved June 9, 2014 from tobaccopolicycenter.org/documents/CPHTP%20e-cig%20fact%20sheet%2010-17-2013%20(2).pdf.
- Bullen, C., Howe, C., Laugesen, M., McRobbie, H., Parag, V., Williman, J., & Walker, N. (2013). Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation: a randomized controlled trial. The Lancet, 382, 1629-1637.
- Zawertailo, L., Pavlov, D., Ivanova, A., Ng, G., Baliunas, D. & Selby, P. (2017). Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 19 (2), 183-189.