Vaping vs Smoking: Health Risks and Benefits


Published on 2 Jan, 2023

If you are trying to quit smoking, you may have considered switching to vaping, but you are unsure whether e-cigarettes are a safer alternative.

Several studies and reviews have shown that vaping poses fewer risks than cigarettes. However, e-cigarettes are not entirely safe. Let’s dig a little deeper and find out the risks and benefits of vaping and how e-cigarettes compare with smoking traditional cigarettes.

How Vaping Works

Vapers use e-cigarettes (also known as e-cigs or vapes) to vaporize substances into an inhalable aerosol.

Different vape brands work uniquely to deliver the vaporized substance to the lungs.

E-liquids take the highest percentage of products vaporized, although dry herbs have their fair share. E-liquids are made of Propylene Glycol, Vegetable Glycerin, or both, as diluents. These carry flavorings and nicotine for nicotine-based vape products.

A battery, either activated by inhaling or by a button, heats the coil that warms up the e-liquids and converts them into an aerosol. The user inhales the vapor from the mouthpiece of an e-cigarette into the lungs. Some of the constituents of the vapor are absorbed into the bloodstream and the residuals are exhaled, just like smoking cigarettes.

Read more about how vaping works.

Vaping Vs Smoking


  • Both vaping and smoking involve drawing vapor or smoke by inhaling from cigarettes or vapes.
  • Both vapes and cigarettes contain nicotine, although there are some nicotine-free e-liquids.
  • Both vaping and smoking give the user a throat hit - a throat sensation experienced by smokers and vapers.
  • Both have some degree of health risks.


  • Cigarettes burn tobacco into smoke, producing tar and other chemicals, while e-cigarettes vaporize e-liquids into an aerosol with fewer chemicals.
  • E-cigarettes have flexible flavor profiles made using different flavorings while smoking cigarettes have particular flavor profiles without much flexibility.
  • Vaping requires an electronic gadget called a vape or e-cigarette with a battery and e-liquids to operate, while smoking involves burning tobacco using fire.
  • Smoking is associated with bad breath and unpleasant smoke odor, while vaping produces vapor with sweet aromas imparted by different flavoring agents.
  • Smoking causes more health risks than vaping.

Smoking Risks and Benefits

Health Risks

There have been years and years of research on smoking that strengthen claims that smoking is harmful to human health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), secondhand smoke contains over 7000 chemicals. Over 70 of these cause cancer and hundreds of others are toxic to humans. CDC further informs that smoking harms almost all organs and causes many other diseases and general weakening of the immune system.

90% of lung cancer deaths are associated with smoking. It also causes cardiovascular diseases, affects reproduction, the respiratory system, skin, eyes, throat, circulatory system, and many cancers.

CDC, WHO, and other world institutions say the following about smoking:

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco kills over eight million people globally per year. 8100 deaths per year in Kenya are associated with smoking cigarettes.
  • Smoking causes an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • The American Lung Association estimates that smoking causes 80% of deaths from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
  • Smoking causes low sperm count.
  • Smoking can terminate a pregnancy and cause congenital disorders.
  • In the long term, smoking can cause blockage of veins and arteries and increases general inflammation.

Benefits of Smoking

  • Most smokers claim that smoking helps them reduce stress, relax and concentrate better. However, the risks outweigh the benefits. More so, there are better ways to manage stress and relax, like meditation or using safer products.

Vaping Health Risks and Benefits

Vaping hasn’t been around for a long time compared to smoking, at least not as popular to get scientists to study it more. However, for the past few decades, vaping has caught the attention of researchers. Statistics have been released informing us of the health risks and benefits of vaping.

Vaping Benefits

  • Vaping is a better alternative to smoking. We mentioned earlier that cigarettes have over 7000 chemicals. This number is significantly reduced by vaping and reduces chances of health risks by 95% compared to smoking.
  • Vaping does not produce smoke, which has both tar and carbon monoxide. Both are toxic compounds. E-cigarettes convert e-liquid into an aerosol that does not cause the harmful effects that tar causes.
  • You won’t get bad breath from vaping. E-liquids have delicious flavors infused that give a pleasant aroma. It builds self-esteem and avoids stigmatization associated with smoking.
  • Health services in the UK recommend vaping as an effective smoking cessation tool. The FDA also approved some vaping products citing their potential in helping people quit smoking.
  • Unlike smoking, vaping allows you to choose the type of e-liquid to use. This means you can control the amount of nicotine you consume, or opt for nicotine-free vape juice altogether.
  • E-liquids are available in different flavors. You can choose your favorite vape flavor and the type of diluent to use (PG, VG, or AG).
  • Vaping saves you money. Apart from the initial setup of KES 3000 to KES 12000, vaping is relatively cheap. Vaping saves you 93% of the total cost of smoking at least twenty cigarettes daily.

Vaping Risks

While vaping is relatively safer than smoking, it has several health risks that every vaper should be aware of.

  • E-cigarettes are addictive, a risk attributed to nicotine. Research suggests that nicotine is almost as addictive as cocaine and heroin. Moreover, vapers are at risk of consuming more nicotine than they would from regular smoking. This is attributed to the flexibility of vaping where you can choose e-liquids with high-strength nicotine or adjust e-cigs voltage to get greater nicotine hit.
  • Vaping may cause damage to your lungs and heart. Recent data associates vaping with chronic lung disease, asthma, and lung injury. Nicotine also increases blood pressure and spikes adrenaline levels, which sets your heart racing and the risk of suffering a heart attack.
  • Spilling e-liquids on the skin or swallowing can be harmful to adults and children.
  • Vaping exposes users to harmful chemicals like diacetyl, volatile organic chemicals, heavy metals, and some cancer-causing chemicals.
  • There are not enough studies to give conclusive evidence on the potential risks and benefits of e-cigarettes and the long-term effects of chemicals used in e-liquids. There could be a future threat that hasn’t been identified yet.

Does Vaping Help to Quit Smoking

What happens when you quit smoking and start vaping? Is vaping an effective smoking cessation tool?

Most people start vaping in an attempt to quit smoking. While evidence shows that vaping is much safer than smoking, using e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool is not the best choice.

Although some health research institutions recommend vaping as a tool to quit smoking, CDC warns that the available evidence is insufficient to suggest that vaping is effective.

People who quit smoking and start vaping end up getting hooked on vaping instead. Nicotine is addictive, and without quitting nicotine, the addiction will not go away. However, by quitting smoking and starting vaping, you prevent greater risks associated with smoking cigarettes.

Is Vaping Safer than Cigarettes?

Referring to available studies on vaping and smoking, we can say that vaping is safer than smoking. However, vaping has a range of health risks as discussed earlier.

Cigarettes expose you to 7000 toxic chemical compounds and more than 70 types of cancers.

With vaping, you can control what you consume. For instance, you can use nicotine-free e-liquids or e-liquids with low nicotine strength. You can also choose between PG and VG diluents. However, there are more chemicals used in e-cigarettes whose effects are yet to be known.

Is Vaping Safe Without Nicotine?

Nicotine is associated with several health risks. Vaping without nicotine eliminates those risks. However, e-liquids contain other chemicals that have potentially harmful effects on health.


The evidence available suggests that vaping is safer than smoking. Vaping products contain fewer chemicals and can be an effective tool to help quit smoking.

There is more evidence of the harmful effects of smoking than vaping. More research is needed to ascertain the safety of using e-cigarettes.

Health risks such as lung injury and heart diseases cut across vaping and smoking cigarettes.

Vape Lab is an online vape shop in Kenya offering e-cigarettes delivery in Nairobi and other locations in the country. We have a variety of vaping devices, e-liquids, and vape accessories available for sale at all price points.

Check out our various categories by navigating to the menu at the top of this page. Explore our available options.

Our Resource Center

Check out our resource center to learn more about vaping. We have prepared shopping guides, informational blog posts, and recommendations on vaping and vaping products.

Besides our blog posts, we have experienced staff who are ready to answer questions you might have regarding our products and services. Contact us at +254716505798 via WhatsApp, SMS, or Call.


Published on 2 Jan, 2023