One thing we all wish for is the ongoing health and happiness of our family and friends. But yes, sometimes, they have little habits which could turn damaging in time. Maybe there’s the aunt who’s overly fond of a gin and tonic (before 6pm!), the sedentary little brother who’s addicted to both gaming and takeaways, or the uncle who’s been smoking a pack a day for decades.
Knowing what we know now about smoking, it seems almost insane that it still hasn’t been banned all over the world. However, the advent of vaping has helped people make the transition to a less harmful habit. Tobacco smoking is bad for us in all sorts of ways: according to the NHS, it’s one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK, and every year around 78,000 people die as a result of doing it. Smoking also increases your risk of developing more than 50 serious health conditions, including several cancers (not just lung cancer), heart attack, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPB).
Vaping site GoSmokeFree.co.uk, surveyed 900 respondents to find out whether we would encourage a loved one to switch from tobacco smoking to vaping for the sake of their health, and nearly 3 in 4 of us (71%) would do so. When vaping came into the mainstream around 2006, it was ultimately seen as a great stepping stone for smokers to cut down on their unhealthy habit; a healthier, safer way of ingesting nicotine as vaping devices use fewer toxic chemicals (as a comparison, there are around 7,000 chemicals in the average regular tobacco cigarette), and the liquid used doesn’t leave any residue, such as tar, in the lungs. By no longer smoking tobacco, vaping can help reduce blood pressure, improve immunity, ease breathing and make lungs function normally.
Reformed smokers would agree: GoSmokeFree.co.uk, also asked what those who used to smoke tobacco, and who switched to vaping, have found to be the biggest benefit of quitting. Nearly half (42%) said they felt healthier, most likely thanks to the reasons outlined above. In addition, by no longer smoking tobacco, vaping can help reduce blood pressure, improve immunity, ease breathing and make lungs function normally.
The second-best benefit former smokers found was that it was safer; 1 in 5 believed that it was less dangerous than the risks of leaving a lit cigarette lying around. A vaping device has no fire associated with it; it runs off a battery, and doesn’t need to be ignited with a flame. 1 in 4 found it to be cheaper; smokers have seen the price of a packet of cigarettes creep up over the years in the UK, and currently, it stands at around £13.80; pretty steep, you’d probably agree. It would take a significant difference in price to lure smokers over to vaping, you might think.
Gosmokefree.co.uk also wanted to find out what people thought a vaping device cost, and on average, they quoted £32. In fact, a basic vaping starter kit can cost as little as £4.99. Okay, so it might not last more than a few weeks – although some devices can last up to 6 or 7 months – but it will work out cheaper than getting through a packet (or more) of cigarettes per day, which can only be a good thing. In addition, over a third – 37% – said that they believed vaping should be available on the NHS.
That said, the study also found that nearly half of us – 47% – have no idea how vaping works. There is a lot of complicated equipment within these little devices, after all, and compared with a traditional cigarette – which you just have to set fire to, and then suck on – it can seem baffling if you’ve never done it. E-cigarettes are powered by batteries, and they contain a liquid inside which is heated until it becomes an aerosol of vapour which the user inhales, then exhales.
This liquid typically contains nicotine, just as in a regular cigarette and other tobacco products, which may be one of the main reasons it can be a good way to help smokers give up, as at least they’re still getting their ‘fix’. There are other ingredients in the liquid too, including propylene glycol, glycerin, flavorings, and other chemicals. The devices come in different shapes and sizes; the biggest ones are called ‘mods’, and have a refillable tank, longer lasting rechargeable batters, and variable power. There are also ones which resemble a traditional cigarette by being long and tubular, and ones which are short and flat, more like a USB stick (and which are known as ‘pods’).