It’s a common question, and the short answer is: yeah, probably. Public Health England the Royal College of Physicians agree that the harm potential from vaping is around 5% of the harm associated with smoking tobacco.
That’s not to say that vaping is 100% safe (more on the risks below). But because smoking is so overwhelmingly bad for your health, public health experts – particularly in the UK – are increasingly of the view that it’s still worth encouraging smokers to switch to vaping as an effective method of quitting.
However, many experts remain cautious. Some of the materials used in vaping haven’t been studied much in terms of their effect on the body when heated and inhaled.
What’s more, the very fact that vaping delivers less nicotine than smoking – which for many is seen as a positive, as it cuts the risk of addiction – means that many vapers in the process of quitting smoking will be using the vaporizer more often, and for longer, than they would with a cigarette. Some users may also augment their cigarette use by vaping in places where smoking is not allowed: this is what’s known as the ‘dual use effect’. Related is the ‘gateway effect’: the fear that young people who may never have begun smoking at all might be drawn into doing so by way of vaping.
So what about for cannabis?
The effects of vaping cannabis have been particularly under-scrutinized – as has everything to do with cannabis – because, of course, it was illegal almost everywhere until so recently that a body of scientific evidence is only now, slowly, being built up. However, what we can say is that if you currently smoke marijuana by rolling it into a joint with tobacco, vaping is almost certainly better for you.
As a lifestyle choice, the jury might be out on whether vaping is a safe option: but as a smoking cessation aid – or as a replacement way to consume cannabis, if you previously smoked it – it’s clearly the healthier choice. We look forward to more data becoming available, but in the meantime we’re still excited to help more people discover how vaping can benefit them.