Vaping: Effects, Risks, Facts and Statistics

Author: Thomas C. Weiss
Published: 2015/06/17 - Updated: 2021/08/13
Peer-Reviewed: N/A
Contents: Summary - Main - Related Publications

Synopsis: Information regarding vaping, inhalation of vapor from e-cigarettes or electronic cigarette devices. With thousands of e-liquids available and greater than 400 unregulated brands of vaping devices on the market, there remains no real way for a person to know for sure what they are buying. From the tobacco company's perspective, it did not make any sense to produce a healthier and less addictive alternative when so many people were buying tobacco cigarettes.

Main Digest

Vaping, or to Vape, is defined as to inhale vapor from E-cigarettes. Used because "smoking" an E-cig doesn't apply as there is no smoke only vapor. A vaporizer or vaporizer is a device used to vaporize the active ingredients of plant material, commonly cannabis, tobacco, or other herbs or blends for the purpose of inhalation. However, they can be used with pure chemicals when mixed with plant material (e.g. tobacco-free nicotine). An electronic cigarette (e-cig or e-cigarette), personal vaporizer (PV) or electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) is a battery-powered vaporizer that simulates the feeling of smoking.

Herbert A. Gilbert was the first person to file a patent for an electronic cigarette in the year 1963. An interview with Mr. Gilbert found him saying that it is pretty obvious that inhaling burnt materials such as tobacco was gross. So Mr. Gilbert used logic to create a smoking alternative that did not rely upon the need for combustion.

Examine the patent he filed and it is apparent that it seems exactly like the electronic cigarettes you might see in advertising. Upon further examination, you will find familiar concepts in his patent such as heating elements, flavor cartridges and smokeless flavored air. Yet if electronic cigarettes have been around since the early 1960's, why don't people remember them being around

The reason why people do not remember electronic cigarettes in the early 1960's is because they were not really around. Undoubtedly, they are a good idea; the world simply was not ready for them at the time. Manufacturers presented Mr. Gilbert's idea, but did not choose to manufacture them until Mr. Gilbert's patent expired. Cigarette companies were not in a hurry to find an alternative to cigarettes during this time period; cigarette advertising was still permitted on television and people smoked everywhere in society.

Personally, I remember people smoking cigarettes in places that included airports, restaurants and even hospital waiting rooms. From the tobacco company's perspective, it did not make any sense to produce a healthier and less addictive alternative when so many people were buying tobacco cigarettes. Mr. Gilbert's idea was thrown to the side and his patent rotted in the archives until the year 2003.

Vaping Safety

The fact is - vapor from electronic cigarettes is far safer than cigarette smoke. Even though it is most likely healthiest not to inhale anything at all, electronic cigarettes are close to being safe. Electronic cigarettes will not immediately harden a person's arteries like tobacco cigarettes do. They also do not get in the way of oxygen reaching a person's heart. The most common ingredients in, 'e-liquid,' are not really a health issue. E-liquid vapor contains just trace elements of the e-liquid, although it is not anywhere near as dangerous as second-hand smoke from tobacco cigarettes.

Vaping and Lack of Regulation

One thing concerning both tobacco cigarettes and vaping is that nicotine is a very serious addiction. With thousands of e-liquids available and greater than 400 unregulated brands of vaping devices on the market, there remains no real way for a person to know for sure what they are buying. If people want to try vaping for harm reduction; however, there may be value in vaping because it can help a person to change their smoking behavior.

Many people have been making the switch thinking that vaping is smokeless and devoid of carbon monoxide. Still, transitioning from vaping to not smoking at all remains rare. Use of both tobacco cigarettes and vapor perpetuates the person's habit and addiction. Some people; for example, will go from smoking two packs each day to smoking one, yet vape for the remainder of the day.

Risks Associated with Vaping

Vaping has a different risk profile than tobacco cigarettes do, so it is not appropriate to compare the two products, according to Professor Stanton Glantz at the University of California, San Francisco. Professor Glantz is a Professor of Medicine. The fact that vaping does not burn anything means it exposes people to a lower risk profile in relation to cancer-causing chemicals, says Professor Glantz. He went on to say that cigarettes are most likely the most toxic consumer product ever developed and that vaping is meeting a, 'low bar.'

The cloud emitted from vaping is not simply water vapor. It is an aerosol with propylene glycol, nicotine, fine particles and flavorings. The fine particles emitted are 1/50th the size of a human hair. People who vape may increase a, 'hit,' to raise the temperature of coils in the device. As the coil gets hotter, more formaldehyde is released.

Health Effects of Vaping

Where the health effects of vaping are concerned, little is known. Professor Glantz said there is more science to be done during a research briefing on an RTI International study of the second-hand effects of vaping. Not much is known about the long-term effects of using electronic cigarettes, simply because there has not been enough time to study the topic.

It is; however, well-established that exposure to ultra-fine particles has a negative effect on a person's blood vessels because they prevent the vessels from becoming enlarged when they need to. The particles are small enough to go from a person's lungs to their bloodstream and trigger an inflammatory process. When vapor users exhale the aerosol, it is put out into an environment where bystanders are exposed to those particles, which is a strong justification for integrating electronic cigarettes into clean-air policies and laws. Professor Glantz said that in the end, what we are going to find out is health risks related to non-cancer lung disease and heart attacks.

Tobacco Cigarettes and Chemicals

Let's take a moment to examine just some of the chemicals in tobacco cigarettes. There are a great many chemicals in cigarettes available for sale to this day in stores. The chemicals in tobacco cigarettes include:

  • Lead
  • Nickel
  • Cresol
  • Phenol
  • Styrene
  • Toluene
  • Pyridine
  • Acrolein
  • Acetone
  • Nicotine
  • Benzene
  • Catechol
  • Isoprene
  • Polonium
  • Ammonia
  • Cadmium
  • Chromium
  • Quinoline
  • Resorcinol
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Acrylonitrile
  • Acetaldehyde
  • Hydroquinone
  • Formaldehyde
  • 1,3-Butadiene
  • Butyraldehyde
  • Benzo[a]pyrene
  • Crotonaldehyde
  • Propionaldehyde
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Hydrogen Cyanide
  • Methyl Ethyl Ketone
  • NNN, NNK, and NAT
  • 1-aminonaphthalene
  • 2-aminonaphthalene

The chemicals above are just a start - there are thousands of other chemicals in tobacco cigarettes. Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki, an Australian scientist, says the polonium released in tobacco cigarettes is the equivalent of enduring 200 chest X-rays per year for those who smoke a pack of cigarettes each day.

Chemicals in Electronic Cigarette Vapors

Now let's compare the partial listing of chemicals in tobacco cigarettes with the list of chemicals in electronic cigarette vapor. The list associated with electronic cigarettes is far, far shorter. The chemicals in electronic cigarettes includes:

The only other chemicals in electronic cigarettes are in the flavorings, which are food grade and generally recognized as being safe. By volume, flavorings make up a very small percentage of e-liquids. It is important to note that food flavorings are meant to be digested, not vaporized and inhaled. The effects of using food flavorings over a long period have yet to be established. With this in mind, very few carcinogenic chemicals have been found in electronic cigarette vapors and the ones that are present only appear to be in trace quantities; much less than in burning tobacco and similar or less than in recognized nicotine replacement therapies. Unlike cigarette smoke, almost all of the nicotine is absorbed in vaping.

Vaping Facts and Statistics

Author Credentials:

Thomas C. Weiss is a researcher and editor for Disabled World. Thomas attended college and university courses earning a Masters, Bachelors and two Associate degrees, as well as pursing Disability Studies. As a Nursing Assistant Thomas has assisted people from a variety of racial, religious, gender, class, and age groups by providing care for people with all forms of disabilities from Multiple Sclerosis to Parkinson's; para and quadriplegia to Spina Bifida. Explore Thomas' complete biography for comprehensive insights into his background, expertise, and accomplishments.

📢 Discover Related Topics

👍 Share This Information To:
𝕏.com Facebook Reddit

Page Information, Citing and Disclaimer

Disabled World is an independent disability community founded in 2004 to provide disability news and information to people with disabilities, seniors, their family and/or carers. See our homepage for informative reviews, exclusive stories and how-tos. You can connect with us on social media such as and our Facebook page.

Permalink: <a href="">Vaping: Effects, Risks, Facts and Statistics</a>

Cite This Page (APA): Thomas C. Weiss. (2015, June 17). Vaping: Effects, Risks, Facts and Statistics. Disabled World. Retrieved March 2, 2024 from

Disabled World provides general information only. Materials presented are never meant to substitute for qualified professional medical care. Any 3rd party offering or advertising does not constitute an endorsement.