Vaping is No Better than Smoking

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People do not understand exactly how dangerous vaping is to their bodies. Some believe it is completely harmless. Most believe it is better than smoking, and vape without thinking twice about what they are inhaling into their fragile lungs. This is because vaping has been falsely advertised by vaping associations. They lie about the contents of an e-cigarette, but in reality vaping is just as dangerous as tobacco. Not only is it life-threatening, but vaping has slowly given rise to a youth-vaping crisis around the world. This paper will explore the origins of vaping along with its contents and the deadly effects it has brought into an oblivious world.

E-cigarettes are “devices that operate by heating a liquid solution to a high enough temperature so that it produces an aerosol that is inhaled” (E-cigarettes: Facts, Stats…). Vaporizers have been around longer than one would expect. In the 1930’s, Joseph Robinson’s old-fashioned device was the first documented reference to be considered an e-cigarette. However, Herbert A. Gilbert is presently given the most credit for having created the first device in the 1960’s, which looks very much like the current e-cigarette today (A Historical Timeline…). As the years went by, technology and the e-cigarette design advanced. Eventually, the modern e-cigarette was introduced.

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The modern e-cigarette was born into the world by then fifty-two year old Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik. His own father had died from lung cancer due to heavy smoking, and Lik had an addiction to it as well, smoking one to two packs a day. However, he did not wish to die the way his father did and wanted to get rid of his horrible habit. He created the e-cigarette as a better alternative for himself and others, sharing it around the world in order to put an end to tobacco inhalation (A Historical Timeline…). The world accepted, and inhaling chemicals from e-cigarettes and other similar devices rapidly transformed into a trendy thing to do among people.

However, what vapers do not realize is how destructive vaping is to their bodies and major organs. They think vaping is harmless because it has been falsely advertised by vaping associations. In fact, Michigan was just one of the states that banned vaping advertisements that used words such as “clean”, “safe”, and “healthy” (How Juul Hooked Teens…). E-cigarettes actually contain several destructive chemicals which the body was not designed to inhale. E-liquids, which are the solutions put into the device, contain nicotine, a highly addictive stimulant. Most vape products contain the oil vegetable glycerin as well. Propylene glycol, a type of humectant people would find in bread and dairy products, popcorn, and many other foods is included. However, where several people go wrong is that although the FDA approved propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin for oral consumption, these chemicals were not approved for inhalation (E-cigarettes: Facts, stats…).

Another shocking factor of the e-cigarette is THC, the high-inducing compound which is found in marijuana and is in some vaping devices (Teen Vaping Linked...). Vapers inhale very unhealthy chemicals when using an e-cigarette, and they do not acknowledge this fact because vaping institutions have not been honest with what they are putting in their products. Cinnamaldehyde, the aldehyde that gives cinnamon its flavor and color, is also a chemical that is found in the thousands of available e-liquids. E-cigarette ingredients differ depending on what device a user is vaping from, but all of its contents are harmful.

When one compares vaping and smoking, smoking is believed to be much more dangerous. And yet, a study found that people who only use e-cigarettes increase their risk of lung cancer by 30%. At the same time, the risk of developing lung disease was higher for adults who both vape and smoke at the same time (Teen Vaping Linked…). And so, although e-cigarettes do not produce as many cancer-causing chemicals as cigarettes do, research suggests they raise the risk of heart and lung diseases.

Vapers are told that vaping is 95% safer than smoking tobacco. However, American scientist Mark Olfert states that they are 95% harmful (What the Science says…{youtube}). He is confident in this statement because, while most scientists examine vaping's side effects to the lungs, Olfert focuses on what vaping does to an individual’s heart over time. He demonstrated what he meant by using two rats for a scientific experiment. After exposing one rodent to e-cigarette vapor and another to cigarette smoke for eight months, which is the equivalent of twenty-five human years, the results were astonishing. He observed that the animal’s arteries exposed to e-liquid vapor stiffened 2.5%, almost as much as the other arteries exposed to cigarette smoke which stiffened 2.8% (What the Science Says…{youtube}). Olfert then explains that stiffened arteries means a greater risk for a stroke, heart attack, aneurysms, and atherosclerosis as well as any other amount of vascular effects. He and I believe the same statement: there is simply no way e-cigarettes are safer than cigarettes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised people to avoid e-cigarettes after a nationwide outbreak of severe lung injuries they believed to be linked to vaping. This newly named disease called EVALI, which stands for “e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated injury”, has caused more than 2700 hospitalizations and 64 deaths as of February 2020 (Lungs, Heart, Brain…). The symptoms an individual would show of EVALI could include minor ones like cough, chest pain, and shortness of breath. Or, it could show more serious symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and fever.

Not only is vaping just as harmful to the body as smoking is, but it has also slowly given rise to a youth-vaping crisis around the world. Research shows that e-cigarette flavors are more appealing to young people than adults. This does not classify as odd, considering there are more than 7,700 e-juice flavors including menthol, cotton candy, creme, Dr. Pepper, gummy bear, bubble gum, cinnamon, vanilla, and thousands of others (How Juul Hooked Kids…). Without a doubt teens and middle schoolers would be attracted to these various choices. Caring only about the several flavors provided and not on what is actually being inhaled into their lungs, most teens who vape are not knowledgeable of what their vape product contains. A study that focused on vaping middle and high school students recognized that 43% of youth who have used e-cigarettes tried them because of the attractive flavors (E-cigarettes: Facts, stats..). The disturbing fact is that the majority of young people think vaping is harmless.

The thousands of daily-vaping teenagers, completely unaware of the dangers they hold in their hands, simply think of it as a fun thing to do. However, one former teen vaper found out the hard, painful way about how much e-cigarettes destroy the body. Eighteen-year-old Maddie Nelson used all sorts of vaping products from several different vape shops across her state. She tells viewers she thought of vaping as fun, as well as practicing the neat vapor tricks and posting them on social media. She vaped every single day for three years. But in late July of 2019, she became mysteriously ill, with a high fever of 103 and her brain completely shut off. She was put into a medically-induced coma and stayed in the ICU for four days. The doctors would discover that she had fat particles growing inside her lungs which were related to the glycerin in vape juice. Her lungs were also filled with fluid. Doctors marvelled at the fact that her chest x-rays were one of the worst they had ever seen. She explained to viewers the cause of her hospital stay, “When you inhale the moisture, that is just creating the perfect environment for bacteria to grow inside your lungs and for infection to start. It’s very scary because the doctors don’t know the long term effects of this… after going through that, I would never touch a vape again” (Vaping Linked to Mysterious…).

As of 2018, the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) discovered that approximately 3.5% of high school students–more than 525,000 teenagers–vaped every or almost every day (How Juul Hooked Teens…). In the year 2019, NYTS found that more than five million middle and high school students had currently used e-cigarettes, which is 3.6 million higher than 2018’s numbers. Another shocking fact is that 21% of highschool students have vaped or are vaping, opposed to just 3% of adults.

In recognition of the alarming amount of teen vapers due to the appealing e-juice flavors available, the FDA suggested a ban on selling flavored products in non-age restricted retail stores in March of 2019. San Francisco became the first major U.S. city to pass an outright ban on e-cigarettes, flavored or otherwise. Michigan was the first U.S. State to ban the sale of flavored nicotine vaping products (How Juul Hooked Teens…). Just recently, the federal age limit was raised to 21 in all 50 U.S. states.

People are finally realizing there is not much difference in e-cigarettes and smoking. They are just as toxic as tobacco. They are capable of bringing destruction to the lungs, heart, and brain; the organs we need to survive. Inhaling water and oils, as well as drugs, and allowing them to sit inside the lungs and create bacteria and infection, is going to destroy the body just like smoking tobacco does. Sadly, Maddie Nelson is not alone in the thousands of mysterious cases and deaths brought by vaping illnesses. Vaping was brought into the world as a better alternative for people rather than smoking. But in reality, it has brought nothing but fatalities and uncertainties into the world, just like smoking tobacco did.

Works Cited

  1. Daley, John. “Lungs, Heart, Brain: The Health Risks Of Vaping That Doctors Know - And The Ones They Don't.” Colorado Public Radio, Colorado Public Radio, 12 Feb. 2020,
  2. Ducharme, Jamie, and Ang Li. “How Juul Hooked Teens on Vaping and Ignited a Health Crisis.” Time, Time, 19 Sept. 2019,
  3. “E-Cigarettes: Facts, Stats and Regulations.” Truth, Truth Initiative, 11 Nov. 2019,
  4. “Historical Timeline of Electronic Cigarettes.”, CASAA, 18 Nov. 2019,
  5. Raven, Kathleen. “Teen Vaping Linked to More Health Risks.” Yale Medicine, Yale Medicine, 18 Dec. 2019,
  6. “Vaping Linked to Mysterious Lung Illnesses.”, Student News Daily, 4 Sept. 2019,
  7. “What the Science Says About the Safety of E-Cigarettes.” CBS This Morning, 20 Sept. 2019,
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