Hector Osorio 13 Feb 2020

In the last decade, the use of e-cigarettes and e-vaporizers among young people has increased dramatically (1000% since 2011), with many instances of exposure to tobacco products at a young age [1]. Since this trend is likely to continue and because of the recent incident in the U.S where in October of 2019 the deaths of around 30 young people due to respiratory illnesses were linked with vaping products, we consider appropriate to address the facts about the health risks of vaping [2].

First, we should clarify the terms we’ll be using in this article. Vaping is simply the practice of inhaling and exhaling vapor with the help of an electronic device, the vapor itself can have a great number of chemical compositions. E-cigarettes (E-cigs) are devices designed to simulate the look and feel of a normal cigarette, they use batteries and have interchangeable e-liquid cartridges. Vaporizers have rechargeable batteries, refillable e-liquid tanks and are usually bigger than e-cigs (not meant to look like cigarettes) [3].

Vaping was originally intended as a strategy to help people quit tobacco. The idea was to provide an alternative that could be used as a transition method in the process of quitting, however, its popularity increased and new markets formed around it in order to provide the public with e-liquid of different flavors, nicotine content, etc [2].

Is vaping better than smoking?

The amount of nicotine absorbed through vaping is generally lower than the amount absorbed while using cigarettes, however, this doesn’t mean that vaping has no negative consequences over your body [2,4].

E-liquid still can’t be considered as “safe”. Some of the most noteworthy components of this type of product include: Propylene glycol, glycerol, acetaldehyde, acrolein, formaldehyde, etc. All of these have harmful effects over the respiratory system and your overall health. The fact that traces for most of them are present every time you vape is problematic and decidedly not healthy [5].

What should I know about vaping?

Here are a few important things you should know if you choose to vape:

  • E-cigarettes have been associated with a greater risk for bronchitis, emphysema and obstructive pulmonary disease. A 2020 study found a higher risk (75%) of developing these conditions when comparing e-cigarette smokers with non-smokers [6].
  • Some studies found than people who vape and use e-cigarettes are more likely (~36%) to develop cardiovascular diseases than people who smoke normal cigarettes [7].
  • If you are just looking for an alternative to smoking, there are other alternatives in the form of nicotine replacement therapies, for example: Patches, gum, inhalers, nasal sprays, etc [8].


Vaping is a valid alternative to quit smoking, however, it does have negative consequences in the long run even when used responsibly. 

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About the Author:
Hector Osorio is a cell biologist, research assistant and science/health content writer. He loves complex topics related to life sciences like cancer, viral infections and aging. He graduated from Central University of Venezuela Faculty of Sciences and worked as a research assistant for the Center of Experimental Medicine of the Venezuelan Center for Scientific Research (IVIC) for 5 years.


  • [1] Kuo, T., & Kuo, A. (2019, September 23). E-cigarettes and Youth in LA County. Retrieved from
  • [2] Manolis, A. S., & Manolis, T. A. (2019). Vaping and Puffing: Know your Risks/Your Life is in Danger. Rhythmos, 14(4), 67-70.
  • [4] Thanavala, Y., & Goniewicz, M. L. (2019). Vaping-induced severe respiratory disease outbreak: what went wrong? The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, 7(12), 1014-1015. doi:10.1016/s2213-2600(19)30350-9
  • [5] Papaefstathiou, E., Stylianou, M., & Agapiou, A. (2019). Main and side stream effects of electronic cigarettes. Journal of environmental management, 238, 10-17.
  • [6] Osei, A., Mirbolouk, M., Orimoloye, O., Dzaye, O., Uddin, S., Benjamin, E., Hall, M., DeFilippis, A., Bhatnagar, A., Biswal, S. and Blaha, M. (2020). Association Between E-Cigarette Use and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease by Smoking Status: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 2016 and 2017. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. [online] Available at:
  • [7] Osei, A. D., Mirbolouk, M., Orimoloye, O. A., Dzaye, O., Uddin, S. I., Benjamin, E. J., … Blaha, M. J. (2019). Association Between E-Cigarette Use and Cardiovascular Disease Among Never and Current Combustible-Cigarette Smokers. The American Journal of Medicine, 132(8), 949-954.e2. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2019.02.016
  • [8] Using Nicotine Replacement Therapy. (n.d.). Retrieved from