Vaping Vs Smoking – How Do They Compare?

By Eina Panayotova

image of vapes devices

Smoking involves the burning of tobacco which produces smoke containing nicotine. This is then inhaled, delivering nicotine to the body. By contrast, vaping heats up an e-liquid (often containing nicotine) which is vapourised and inhaled by the user.

No doubt, the best option for any smoker is to quit tobacco and nicotine use altogether. The negative effects of smoking are well-known and the process of burning tobacco produces over 6,000 chemicals, of which about 100 have been identified as causes or potential causes of smoking-related diseases.

With vaping, the process of ‘burning’ or combustion is taken out of the equation. This reduces many of the toxins associated with the smoke produced from cigarettes. Consequently, vaping is widely regarded as a better choice than continued smoking. However, vaping is not risk free and without question, the best option for any smoker is to quit tobacco and nicotine use entirely.

What is the difference between vaping and smoking?

Features Vaping Cigarettes
Contains nicotine Yes. (However, nicotine-free options are available) Yes
Contains real tobacco No. (Tobacco-flavoured options available) Yes
Burns to create smoke No Yes
Heats to produce vapour Yes No
Uses an electronic device Yes No
Lingering smell The smell can dissipate faster than with cigarettes depending on the ingredients contained in the vape Yes
Affected by the menthol ban No Yes. Flavoured and/or mentholated cigarettes are now banned
Risk free No No
Addictive Yes. However, nicotine-free options are available. Yes

Other alternatives to smoking

Vaping has become an extremely popular alternative to cigarettes both globally and within the UK. Many smokers have been able to remove cigarettes from their lives completely by switching to vaping.

However, some smokers find the experience of vaping too different from cigarettes and simply do not get used to the taste, flavour or ritual. It is worth knowing then that in the UK, for those smokers who can’t quit or do not want to, there are a variety of alternative products available. Alongside vaping, these include heated tobacco products and nicotine pouches which are also widely commercially available.

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This website is restricted to adults in the United Kingdom who would otherwise continue to smoke or use nicotine products. Our nicotine and tobacco products are not an alternative to quitting and are not designed as cessation aids. They are not risk-free. They contain nicotine, which is addictive. Only for use by adults. Please visit the Important Information page for further risk information.