Vaping vs Smoking: The Difference Between Cigarette and Vape Consumption

Feb 12, 2024

young man blowing smoke from a vape into the air

In recent years, the landscape of nicotine consumption has shifted significantly, with vaping emerging as a popular alternative to traditional cigarette smoking. But what really is the difference between cigarette and vape consumption? 

In this blog, we dissect and compare the two, focusing on their composition, how they work, their health impacts, and more.

A Bit of Background on Cigarettes

Cigarettes have a long history that dates back to the early 9th century when indigenous peoples of the Americas began rolling tobacco in corn husks or other plant leaves. The modern cigarette, however, evolved in the 19th century with the advent of machine-rolled papers and the commercialization of tobacco farming, which made it widely accessible. 

But the composition of cigarettes extends beyond just tobacco; they contain thousands of chemicals, many of which are added during manufacturing to enhance flavour, control moisture, and ensure even burning. These additives include many potentially harmful substances, such as formaldehyde, arsenic, and lead. The combustion process also generates harmful carcinogens, which contribute to the myriad of health problems that stem from smoking tobacco. 

The Transition to Vapes 

Vapes, or electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), represent a modern innovation in nicotine delivery systems. Unlike cigarettes, which burn, vapes, as their name suggests, heat substances to their vaporization–not combustion–point. 

This shift from smoke to vapour makes vapes a less harmful option for those seeking their nicotine fix. The e-liquid used in vapes is typically a mixture of nicotine, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and other flavourings. 

There are a variety of vape products out there. From sleek, discreet pod systems designed for simplicity and convenience, to more advanced personal vaporizers (mods) that offer extensive customization of vaporizer parts and features like adjustable power settings, airflow control, and refillable tanks. 

This versatility allows users to tailor their vaping experience, including the strength of nicotine and flavour profiles, providing a level of control that traditional cigarettes cannot offer. As vaping technology and electronic nicotine delivery systems evolve, so too does its appeal to users.

Comparing the Experience - Cigarettes vs Vapes

The effects of tobacco smoke and vapor manifest differently in the body. 

Smoking cigarettes, with their harsh chemicals and tar, can cause a strong sensation in the throat and lungs, alongside a rapid nicotine hit that may lead to light-headedness and a heightened sense of alertness. Vaping, in contrast, tends to deliver a smoother inhalation experience, with a more controlled release of nicotine, leading to a subtler, sometimes more pleasant effect.

Can Cigarette Smokers Quit Using Vapes?

When it comes to quitting smoking, the so-called “e-cigarette” has emerged as a contentious but promising tool. Many smokers have successfully transitioned to vaping as a step towards quitting nicotine altogether, leveraging the ability to gradually reduce nicotine concentration in e-liquids.

While the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as a cessation aid varies among individuals, they offer an alternative nicotine delivery method that can mimic the act of smoking, potentially making it easier for some to quit traditional cigarettes. 

Health Impacts of Cigarettes and Vapes

Cigarette smoking can lead to increased heart rate, tightened blood vessels, nicotine addiction and decreased oxygen to the heart, along with the well-documented risk of developing chronic bad breath, yellowed teeth, and a reduced sense of taste and smell. 

Long-term, the stakes rise with cigarette smoking. It's unequivocally linked to an elevated risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), various forms of cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. This is attributed to the thousands of chemicals produced by tobacco combustion, many of which are carcinogenic. 

Vaping, while not producing these combustion byproducts, is not without its concerns. Emerging research suggests potential health risks, including impacts on lung function and cardiovascular health, though the full extent of these effects and their comparison to traditional smoking is still under investigation.

The distinction in health risks between the two practices largely hinges on the chemicals involved. Tobacco smoke's harmful constituents are well-established, whereas the health implications of the chemicals in e-cigarettes are less understood. 

Other Key Differences

woman with bandana exhaling smoke through her nose

The social and environmental impacts are also a point of difference between the two. Socially, smoking traditional cigarettes is increasingly stigmatized, partly due to the lingering odour and secondhand smoke concerns. 

Vaping, which is less intrusive, often enjoys greater social acceptance, though it's not without its detractors. Environmentally, cigarette butts are a litter problem, while vaping's environmental impact centers on the disposal of batteries and plastic pods.

From a cost perspective, the economic implications of smoking versus vaping can be substantial. Initially, vaping often requires a higher upfront investment for the device, but the recurring cost of e-liquids and coils can be lower than the continuous purchase of cigarette packs. 

Over time, along with being a useful stepping stone for those looking to quit smoking, vaping may present a more cost-effective option for nicotine users, though prices can fluctuate based on consumption patterns, device maintenance, and local tax policies.

Canadian Vaporizers - Your Source of High-Quality Vaping Products

At Canadian Vaporizers, we're all about helping you find a better way to enjoy your smoke-free journey or dive into the world of cannabis with style. Our online store is packed with desktop and portable vaporizer options, and a whole lot more. We make it easy to find exactly what you're looking for! 

Whether you're trying to quit smoking or just want to experience your favourite cannabis flower and concentrates in a new way, we're here to make sure your vaping experience is top-notch and tailored just for you!