Traditional cigarettes (called analog cigarettes by e-cig users) are made of tobacco, which contains nicotine, the addictive ingredient that has kept you smoking. Burning tobacco produces heat that vaporizes the nicotine. Burning the tobacco leaf also vaporizes the resin (tar) and the thousands of chemicals that are either naturally present or added by the tobacco company. The tar that is produced by the combustion adheres and coats anything it comes into contact with, along with all those chemicals. If you have ever smoked for any length of time in a room or your car, you know what this tar coating is a brownish-yellow film. Now imagine that on your lungs €“ not the prettiest of pictures, and not good for your health.
Electronic cigarettes vaporize nicotine by heating a liquid base that contains a small percentage of pure nicotine extract in a propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerin liquid base. The liquid base is available in a wide variety of flavors and nicotine strengths.
The vapor produced by electronic cigarettes does not contain the burned resins and chemicals that are in traditional cigarettes. Since ecigs are not burned, they don’t produce smoke, ash, or the burning odor that the combustion of tobacco produces. Because of the added food flavoring, the vaping gives off aromas that are familiar and pleasant to most people.
Vaping vs Smoking: Similarities
Vaping vs Smoking: Differences
- Both smokers and vapers (people who use electronic cigarettes) use a sucking action to breathe in. When inhaling an analog cigarette, the smoker will feel a hit in the back of their throat. This is called a throat hit. E-cigs also provide a throat hit. The stronger the nicotine strength, the stronger the throat hit provided.
- Both smokers and vapers exhale remnants through their mouth and/or nose.
- Analogs create a burning sound, while e-cigs mimic that sound with a crackling sound made by the e-liquid being heated.
- Analogs produce visible smoke, while ecigs produce a vapor.
- Analogs have a bright red flame on the tip when sucking in, while some ecigs come with a red LED on the tip that lights up when sucking in.
- White is most often the main color of analogs, and there are white-colored ecig batteries.
- E-cigs provide hand-to-mouth simulation, just like analogs. This means that the act of vaping simulates smoking – because the motion used is the same. The user inhales, feels a throat hit in the back of their throat, swallows, and then exhales vapor.
What’s the difference between ecigs and regular cigarettes?
- Analogs contain tobacco leaf, whereas e-cigs do not.
- E-cigs are battery-powered, whereas analogs are combustion-powered.
- Many e-cigs are reusable.
- Analogs produce smoke, whereas e-cigs produce vapor.
- Smoking is smelly, and its odor lingers on clothing, fingers, hair, skin, and in air long after the cigarette is done. Vaping does not produce odors.
- Smoking produces second-hand smoke, whereas vaping does not.
- Analogs cost much more than e-cigs, about 50-70% more, in fact.
- Analogs stain fingers, teeth, and walls, whereas e-cigs do not.
- Analogs typically only come in tobacco-flavored or menthol-flavored. E-cigs come in hundreds of different flavors, including fruits, desserts, coffees, and cocktails.
Smoking is to traditional tobacco cigarettes, as vaping is to e-cigs. When you use a cigarette, you’re smoking. When you use an electronic cigarette, you’re vaping. Here's some more info about vaping vs smoking.
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- SMOKE: Ecigs produce no smoke or second hand smoke, only water vapor
- SMELL: Ecigs do not burn, and have a very light scent. Cigarette smoke lingers and stains hair, fingers, teeth, clothing walls, furniture
- COMPONENTS: Ecigs contain 4 ingredients (PG, VG, flavoring, optional nicotine), all FDA approved except nicotine. Cigarettes contain 7,000+ chemicals (including ammonia, arsenic, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, lead tar)
- FLAVORING: Ecigs come in a variety of flavors, helping smokers customize their experience, cigarettes are either tobacco or menthol flavored
- NICOTINE: Ecigs come in different nicotine levels including none at all, cigarettes all have nicotine
- COST: Ecigs are 50-70% cheaper than cigarettes
- ENVIRONMENT: Many ecigs are rechargeable and can be recycled, cigarette butts are toxic and the #1 pollutant on earth