Smokers watching a shocking video of smoking compared to vaping might be tempted to form a New Year's resolution that involves switching to vaping or another type of smoking cessation aid in order to quit. Wales Online reports that the video provided by Public Health England (PHE) is an eye-opener and shows stark results between the two vices.
PHE researchers demonstrated that one of the methods was visibly more harmful by simulating what smoking, vaping, and normal air do to recipient's lungs after one month of inhaling them. Standing in for the lungs were cotton balls placed in three bell jars.
The three jars were hooked up to a diaphragm pump that provided a "continual and equal draw of air through each bell jar - one set up to 'smoke' tobacco cigarettes, another to 'vape' e-cigarettes and the third used as the control with only air drawn through it."
You can watch the smoking vs. vaping video and lab test results in this BBC video.
Those watching the footage will notice that smoking comes out visibly as the clear loser of the three by the time the experiment concludes. The damage inflicted on the cotton balls by the pollutants illustrates what smokers are physically doing to their lungs and the rest of their body.
The cotton balls that absorbed the cigarette smoke are dark brown, and the air pump is coated with sticky tar. One of the health experts, Dr. Rosemary Leonard, is shown in the video removing the polluted wool from the tobacco jar and smearing it on a clear substrate. She later alludes to the residue saying, "It's just so revolting."
Whether the porous material is a cotton ball or your lungs, it's demonstrated at the end of the video how the cigarette smoke is physically absorbed like a sponge. The tubing also shows residual tar that Dr. Leanard tries to scrape off.
One of the doctors conducting the study, Dr. Lion Shahab, said that the dark material was tar and that it is not found in e-cigarettes. Dr. Shahab said that his research shows that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful than cigarettes and said that tar is the material that's most harmful to smokers.
Dr. Lion Shahab also said that the sticky substance leads to serious health issues such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Cigarette byproducts are tar and a cocktail of carcinogens and other toxic chemicals such as hydrogen cyanide, lead, formaldehyde, benzene, arsenic ammonia, and even radioactive particles such as uranium.
However, before you go put out that cigarette and rush out to buy a vaping device and all the expensive accessories that go with it, it's important to know that vaping comes with harmful byproducts and risks, as well.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, nicotine and youths don't mix, and the habit can affect them adversely. That's because young adult's brains develop until the age of 25, and nicotine exposure during these formative years can harm their developing brains. The head of the government health agency additionally stated that vaping can lead to addiction.
E-cigarettes, which are also known as vape pens, e-cigs, tank systems, and mods can also contain "potentially harmful ingredients" in addition to nicotine, the surgeon general went on to say.
E-cigarettes' main byproducts are nicotine, glycerine, propylene glycol, and sometimes flavorings. On the other hand, they can additionally contain "ultrafine particles" that can make their way into the deepest part of your lungs. One flavoring, diacetyl, has even been linked to a serious disease of the lungs.
Vapers, the surgeon general added, can also be exposing themselves to "volatile organic compounds" and some heavy metals such as lead, nickel, and tin. And, as the BBC reports, e-cigarettes have exploded, especially when they've been incorrectly used. In some cases, the explosions have led to serious injuries.
Public Health England provided the video to the public as part of a campaign that shows the dangers of smoking traditional cigarettes and demonstrates how e-cigarettes are less so. PHE states that smokers that want to quit can search "Smokefree," and get the NHS's advice on how to stop.