According to the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, approximately 4 million Americans now use battery powered cigarettes -- also known as electronic cigarettes or "e cigs." While some may start using e cigs (also called vaping) because of the many flavors and varieties available, many use these devices as an alternative to smoking. Because cigarettes can be incredibly addictive, many smokers eventually begin to weigh the pros and cons of vaping vs smoking.
And it's not just a last ditch effort -- this method has been proven effective by current research on the subject. One study found that people who vaped using e cigarettes or vaporizers were 60% more likely to succeed in quitting than those who used nicotine gum or patches. Another study, from Belgium, found that 44% of participants were able to reduce their tobacco consumption or eliminate it altogether after eight months of e cigarette use.
Check out this breakdown of vaping vs smoking to find out what you're getting when you make the switch:
Choices:Smokers are often bound by the type of cigarettes they want, and although they have many different brands to choose from, there are few differences. Tobacco and menthol (with tobacco) tend to be the only flavors available. There are differences in nicotine strength, but all cigarettes contain this addictive substance.
Benefits:Many people take up smoking because they say it reduces their stress. With the health risks that smoking presents however, even in the short term, the risks far out-weigh any supposed benefits.
Risks:Early on, smokers will experience "smokers' cough," have stained fingertips and teeth, and usually smell like tobacco. That's not the worst of it, though: smoking can also lead to lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease, and a host of other health problems.
Choices:Perhaps one of the biggest draws for e cig users is that they can vape with just about any flavor. On average, vapers will use three different e liquid flavors on a regular basis, and former smokers, especially will switch between flavors more often than current smokers. Around three-quarters of vape users prefer flavors besides tobacco, especially in the fruit, bakery/dessert, and savory/spice categories. Vape users also have a number of devices to choose from -- from e cigs that resemble tobacco cigarettes to rechargeable vapor pens.
Benefits:Vaping gives users the physical satisfaction of smoking. Users of rechargeable electronic cigarettes not only get the choices of using different vaping flavors but can also save money, too. All they need to purchase are vaping liquid refills. By keeping the rechargeable e cigarette clean and charged, they can vape again and again without having to worry about buying another device. Users can also choose the amount of nicotine they want in their e liquid, and they can even buy varieties that contain no nicotine whatsoever. There is no lingering tobacco odor either and the vapor disappears leaving no odor that clings to hair and clothing. Imagine not having to be isolated from the crowd anymore. Life is better for you and anyone around you.
Risks:The only thing that new users may need to be mindful of is choosing the right nicotine concentration for their e liquids. For instance, a light smoker may only want between about six to eight milligrams per milliliter of nicotine to start with. Heavier smokers may start with a higher dose (24 to 36 mg/ml), but can eventually work their way down to lower amounts.
Still weighing the pros and cons of vaping vs smoking? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section.