Vaping vs Smoking

Our comparison between vaping and smoking.

Vaping vs Smoking
Vaping vs Smoking


Since the dawn of time, man has always had this fixation with smoking tobacco. Today we understand how dangerous it is to our health but yet we still do it. There are also a list of additives and chemicals that are found in most modern tobacco products.

Once upon a time, an American man by the name of Herbert Gilbert invented the first ever smokeless non-tobacco cigarette. The idea was to replace burning paper and tobacco with flavored steam, or vapor, that contains nicotine. It wasn’t until 2003 that this product actually hit the market thanks to a man by the name of Hon Lik from China who was able to successfully market the product.

The jury is still out as to whether or not vaping is safe or healthy, however most people would agree that it is a much healthier and safer alternative to traditional cigarettes. Let us discuss a few points about vape vs. smoke and you can make your own decision.

Vaping vs Smoking: Round 1 – Tar

One main factor would be tar. There is none present in vapor whereas smoking anything will produce a thick and toxic byproduct. If you blow cigarette smoke out on a napkin it will turn yellow instantly however with vape smoke it will remain white. This gives us an idea as to what it may be doing to the inside of our lungs.

Vaping vs Smoking: Round 2 – Cost

Some smokers say they can’t afford vape gear to help them quit but let’s do the math. A pack of cigarettes costs almost $15 so that means you could buy a complete setup for $105, the price of smoking a pack a day for a week. The price of juice varies greatly but $15 would buy you a bottle that could last anywhere from 1 day to a couple of weeks, of course depending on how often you vape and what kind of juice you are buying. Some people such as our very own Alex Kendell saved about $100 dollars per week since switching over to e-cigs vs. cigarettes!

Vaping vs Smoking: Round 3 – Unknown Chemicals

Chemicals in E-Liquid
Chemicals in E-Liquid

One important thing to note is that when we are talking about e-liquid, we are only recommending that you use trusted companies that produce their liquid in sterile environments in the USA and other countries with similar regulations.

There are only four main ingredients in every bottle of e-juice. The first one being glycerin, which is an organic compound found in vegetables. (It was also a popular song in the 90’s by a band called Bush.)

The second ingredient is propylene glycol, a substance found in asthma inhalers. Next there is food grade flavoring which actually gives the juice its distinct taste.

We still do not know the effect of inhaling these flavors over a long period of time, but so far there has not been any studies done showing major adverse long term side effects. If you think about it, anytime we smell anything we are inhaling that “scent” into our lungs and bloodstream. Also keep in mind that flavoring only makes up a small percentage of the actual e-liquid.

Last but not least is nicotine, which is actually not a carcinogen, although it can be highly addictive. For that reason, many juices are also available without any nicotine.

In cigarettes there are a number of lethal additives such as Hydrogen Cyanide, Carbon Monoxide and Formaldehyde, just to name a couple. There has been a recent article showing the formation of Formaldehyde in e-liquid at high temperatures. This study has been debunked many times and even disputed by the actual scientists that conducted the experiment. The major argument being that vapers would never need to reach those dangerous temperatures in order to enjoy their vaping experience. In other words, nobody would be able to endure the taste of the conditions set forth in the experiment. Interestingly enough, even when used properly, cigarettes still contain Formaldehyde, so keep that in mind while being lectured about toxic substances by tobacco smokers.

Cigarette Chemicals

Cigarette Butt
Cigarette Butt

Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, including 43 known cancer-causing (carcinogenic) compounds and 400 other toxins. This includes nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide, as well as formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic, and DDT. Here is a more exhaustive yet incomplete list. Keep in mind the list goes even further.

  • Ammonia: Household cleaner
  • Angelica root extract: Known to cause cancer in animals
  • Arsenic: Used in rat poisons
  • Benzene: Used in making dyes, synthetic rubber
  • Butane: Gas; used in lighter fluid
  • Carbon monoxide: Poisonous gas
  • Cadmium: Used in batteries
  • Cyanide: Deadly poison
  • DDT: A banned insecticide
  • Ethyl Furoate: Causes liver damage in animals
  • Lead: Poisonous in high doses
  • Formaldehyde: Used to preserve dead specimens
  • Methoprene: Insecticide
  • Megastigmatrienone: Chemical naturally found in grapefruit juice
  • Maltitol: Sweetener for diabetics
  • Naphthalene: Ingredient in mothballs
  • Fungicides and pesticides: Cause many types of cancers and birth defects.
  • Cadmium: Linked to lung and prostate cancer.
  • Benzene: Linked to leukemia.
  • Formaldehyde: Linked to lung cancer.
  • Nickel: Causes increased susceptibility to lung infections.
  • Methyl Isocyanate: Its accidental release killed 2,000 people in Bhopal, India
  • Polonium: Cancer-causing radioactive element also used in the “Fat Man” implosion type nuclear warhead used on Nagasaki
  • The list goes on. . .

E-Cig Chemicals

  • Glycerin: Found naturally in vegetables
  • Propylene Glycol: Used commonly in asthma inhalers
  • Nicotine: A stimulant
  • Food Grade Flavoring: Used in many foods

Vaping Vs. Smoking: Round 4 – Safety

Nicotine Safety

Safety is also a major concern for most people who want to make the switch to vaping. It can be dangerous if not educated about the proper usage of batteries, especially when using sub ohm atomizers on mechanical and unregulated mods. Please note that sub ohm tanks should not be used with mechanical mods that have hybrid top caps. (I don’t know why, but I heard Rip Trippers say this so it must be true) Forums are also a great way to ask questions about safety and learn through other people’s experiences.

Brands such as Aspire and Innokin make it one of their top priorities to produce the safest possible high-quality devices. Unless you are using extremely low resistance sub ohm builds with over 50 watts of power, battery safety will probably never really be a major concern. Like any lithium battery, proper care must be taken in order to ensure safe usage of the product, whether we are talking about vaping or any portable electronic devices such as laptops and cellphones. Nothing can be 100% safe but relatively speaking, vaping appears to be much safer than those deadly cigarettes. Not to mention the countless accidental fires that have been started by smoking vs vaping.

If you still are not sure which devices are right for you then check out our homepage for “Best E-Cigarettes of 2017”. This will help you find the perfect setup quickly and easily.

When it comes to long term effects, it is worth mentioning that e-cigs have not been around long enough for us to make conclusions. However, we do know for a fact that about half of the people that smoke analog cigarettes will die directly due to smoking.



Despite the overwhelming evidence that has been presented, it is important to mention that vaping is neither safe nor healthy. (Huh!?) Relatively speaking, vaping is a much safer and healthier alternative to traditional smoking, in our opinion. In addition, vaping has been proven to be one of the most effective devices for getting off the “stinkies”. I was in a vape shop just the other day and a worker was saying that he believes that the growing popularity of e-cigarettes will inevitably replace the tobacco industry. Many of the big tobacco companies are already starting to make their own electronic cigarettes, which have been pretty dreadful, but this might be an indication as to where the industry is heading. I guess only time will tell who will win the battle of e-cigarettes vs. cigarettes.

Dave Kriegel
Dave hails from New York City and is committed to providing high quality reviews and the most up-to-date vaping news coverage. His goal is to save vapers time and money. He is passionate about keeping people off the cigarettes, which is how he ended up on our team. When Dave is not working for Vaping360, you can find him producing music or educating the youth of tomorrow.
  • Bryan

    What i don’t understand is why i never read the ingredient of polonium 210 in cigarettes.. It’s there right? Or am i misinformed..

  • Joseph

    E-cigarettes and the real deal is the method of nicotine delivery. A regular cigarette burns tobacco and the user inhales the resulting nicotine-rich smoke, along with any associated nastiest. E-cigarettes, however, produce a vapor by heating a solution of nicotine mixed with polypropylene glycerol or glycerin. This method of nicotine delivery means that users still get the desired effect from the vapor but, without many of the toxic side effects associated with cigarette smoke.

    [email protected] results

  • Maddie Reeze

    Vaping very well could be safe and an effective smoking cessation tool. I would agree that they are probably safer than conventional cigarettes and other tobacco products.

    • Definitely. There is something about vaping that you can’t get from the patches or gum.

  • rafay

    Admin Please give the reviews longmada Vapore ecig, Im currently using this product (

    • Very interesting! We will look into that product. It looks like a nice 3-in-1 vape.

  • Mazibul Haque

    The vaping is apparently much safer than those dangerous cigarettes. Not to mention
    the countless accidental fires which were started by smoking vs vaping and see more at:

  • Jazz Rivera

    Hi, Can you tell me when this post was dated? I would like to use this as a reference for a speech

  • katryn

    Who are the authors of this awesome article? I would love to use it in a paper I am writing!

  • ML

    What is the effect of the nicotine on those nearby who are not vaping

    • Dave @ Vaping 360

      Hey ML, that is a great question that we will have to look into. As far as I have seen, so far the research points to the fact that second-hand vapor is a lot safer than second-hand smoke due to the absence of tar and carbon monoxide. However, there may still be trace amounts of nicotine in that vapor, which can be inhaled by non-vapers so I don’t really know the answer to your question, but I do agree that further research on the topic is necessary.


    • Sharon Hall

      Nicotine is nicotine. What would you expect? Check out the science on it. Don’t depend on those who are promoting it.

      • Janak Raj

        Yeah, nicotine is nicotine .. Take it with the help of a vaporizer. No need of sticking 4000+ chemicals + tar + carbon monoxide. Thank you for enlightening all.

    • Sharon Hall

      You can do that research for yourself. You might be surprised.

  • Sharon Hall

    Nicotine is a poison. Why don’t y’all ask the Surgeon General what the effects of nicotine are on the body of the people ingesting it first or second hand. it will kill you. My mother just died of lung cancer from smoking NICOTINE, and had end-stage COPD and emphysema. You wind up gasping for air and when you die your mouth is wide open and your head thrown back because that’s how hard you were struggling for air. My dad did that too. Do not inhale nicotine in any form, or dip or chew it, and don’t hang around with people who do that. The shit is cancer causing. Check out the SCIENCE.

    • Jorge Antonio Pérez

      FYI, Nicotine is NOT carcinogenic, most of the illnesses/symptoms you listed are caused by all the other chemicals that the cigarettes have, like polonium, tar, phosphorus etc. Nicotine itself its only an addictive stimulant, and it’s generally considered as safe by itself (hence nicotine gum and nicotine patches) I’m really sorry about your mother, but it seems like you are assuming that Cigarette = Nicotine, when in reality is much more than only that.

      • Sharon Hall
        • Pål Basso

          So people should not use NRT’s according to you?

          • Sharon Hall

            Do it or not. I could not care less if you do or don’t. Just do the real scientific research and make your own decisions.

          • Pål Basso

            So you have no valid arguments? When your “science ” is flawed, you don’t care anymore? Well, I use the science about it and I care even less about what you think. I don’t need anyone making my choices for, last of all a misguided person. Thanks for letting us all know that you don’t care or really know what you’re talking about. You are here to troll, not help. Because you comment on things you don’t even care about or seem to have any real interest in. Wish more trolls was this honest.

    • Seth

      Sharon, even though Jorge Perez is correct in his assertion that the nicotine alone did not cause your mother’s death, my heart still goes out to you and your family. I too, have lost too many friends and loved ones from cancer and emphysema directly related to tobacco smoking. Big tobacco companies have known about the negative health effects long before it was revealed to the public. Cigarette smoking is so addicting that every time there was a crises in my life, I started smoking again. I remember I started smoking in high school to impress a crowd of older kids. The bus that picked us up to go to school was filled with thick smoke, to the point that it was almost comical.

      In college, I remember complaining to my French professor because he used to chain smoke in class. I just asked him to open a window. I was a runner, then, and the smoke was irritating my lungs. He was actually in disbelief as he asked me several times, “You really feel the smoke from my cigarettes?” I suppose I may have been more sensitive because I was an athlete. We eventually became good friends. We used to sit around and have long philosophical discussions. He was absolutely brilliant. Then, I had to transfer to another school to do graduate work. A few years later, I was heart-broken when I found out that he had died from lung cancer. I never had a chance to say goodby.

      He grew up in a generation that had no information about the dangers from tobacco use. Would you believe that my grandmother became a heavy smoker when her doctor advised her to smoke cigarettes for a sore throat? She was up to 4 packs a day and suddenly quit cold turkey. She was one tough woman. She was lucky that she suffered no ill effects from her smoking.

      • Sharon Hall

        Bless you! I worked for the law firm that brought big tobacco down and made them pay out huge settlements for their lying, evil ways.

    • Lindzy Sima

      Nicotine is no different than caffine, it’s a stimulant and it is the tar and carcinogens that are harmful to your body. The nicotine itself is no more toxic than a Starbucks latte.

      • Sharon Hall

        The sad thing is that we are learning that is a bunch of hooey.

    • William Arsenault

      so is caffeine your more like to die from an overdose of caffeine then cocaine in its pure form nicotine is about as dangerous as coffee in the small amounts that are in E-juice

      • Sharon Hall

        What kind of reasoning is that? Poison is poison; your science is specious. Why don’t you try out the cocaine/caffeine theory you proposed and if you live through it, get back to us on that. And, it’s “You’re” (short for you are) instead of “your” (which means, belonging to you). I don’t trust anybody’s statements that can’t distinguish between that.

        • William Arsenault

          Fluoride is more poisonous then nicotine and people drink it everyday and I don’t see everybody dropping dead

          • Sharon Hall

            Plus, the act of heating nicotine makes it break down into components which include the same chemical makeup as embalming fluid. It’s not safe to ingest into the lungs, as more advanced scientific studies in the field are proving. There is no completely safe thing on earth, if taken to any extreme, which I think is what you have been trying to say. Now we are learning that the chemicals in the liquid affect reproductive ability as well as have deleterious effects on the lining of the lungs. You’d think you’d want to avoid that if you could, but if you enjoy that kind of thing, please, go help yourself to it.

          • William Arsenault


          • Bludlust

            The silence is deafening!

            I’m not even a smoker and I prefer vaping to cigarettes – other people doing it, that is.

            I’m a winner all round. I don’t care what people’s habits do to them – the fact is, vaping is far less intrusive than cigarettes, which is a big plus for me.

        • William Arsenault

          Oh yeah why don’t you look up caffeine ods and if you like I’ll even look up some links so yo can get some if you think its so safe

          • Sharon Hall

            Honey, I am a scientist with several degrees. I know about all this. I did NOT say caffeine is completely safe. The point is that your reasoning is flawed on all these aspects, without taking into effect amounts consumed, degrees of poison, etc. But you can’t argue with those who are unable to posit reasonable theories, supported by real science, or to draw vaguely reasonable conclusions and who just argue from emotion.

          • William Arsenault

            First don’t call me honey I’m not your honey so you’re talking to someone that knows people can use coke all night but if you even attempted to do the same with caffeine you would be dead then you just contradicted yourself and said that poison is fine in small amounts then you claim that the nicotine in e-juice produces formaldehyde when the coils don’t get anywhere close to that level of heat and you know I never said weren’t any risks at all all I said is you don’t have any clue about how nicotine works and I’ll be damned if I’m going to go back to smoking cigarettes just cause you’ve been brainwashed into believing that my E-juice is just as bad as cigarettes I don’t know where you got your degree but maybe you need to go back for some refresher courses

  • Seth

    I used vaping to quit smoking. That was my intention from the start. Switching from cigarettes to vaping caused no withdrawal effects. When I stopped cigarettes and started vaping, I immediately was able to breath more deeply without coughing. After about a year of vaping, though, I started working out at my local health club. I definitely had trouble with deep breathing that I attribute to vaping. This was my subjective experience, of course. But I had to stop vaping in order to make progress at the gym. I felt that the smoke from vaping was irritating my lungs. My exercise actually increased my desire to stop vaping completely. It wasn’t too difficult to gradually stop vaping. The endorphins from exercise made me lose my desire to inhale smoke. But a comment made by a scientist on television, some years ago, was the common sense advice that stuck in my mind. He said, “The lungs are not made to inhale vegetable matter.” This statement is rational and simple. It applies to the inhalation of any kind of smoke.

    Another serious vaping issue is the custom made vaping devices that allow the smoker to inhale a tremendous amount of smoke in one breath. The first time I saw someone use one of these devices, it looked impressive–The smoke exhaled resembled a small hydrogen bomb. When I tried one, I couldn’t inhale the smoke without feeling pain in my lungs. Then I thought that inhaling so much smoke in one breath must cause a sudden rise in blood pressure, as nicotine is known to increase blood pressure. I then spoke with several people who habitually use those atomic blasters. They spoke about staying awake all night at vaping parties. It was obvious that they were using their custom vaping devices to get very high doses of nicotine–Enough to keep them awake all night. This activity may not cause a catastrophic health event in a healthy young person. But if one considers the sudden pressure put on the heart and blood vessels, common sense dictates a danger from strokes and heart attacks.

    My own conclusion would be to only use conventional e-cigarettes as an aid to quitting cigarettes. There is a vaping culture that encourages the use of custom made vaping devices that allow the smoker to take in massive amounts of nicotine. It seems like a contest as to who can exhale the most impressive bomb of smoke, the way swimmers try to make the biggest splash by doing cannon balls.

    I am personally against government regulation, as it has repeatedly proven to increase demand for the illegal substance. We already have too much of a nanny culture. What we put into our bodies should be our responsibility as individual adults. Again, this is my own opinion.

  • K Les

    Has anyone ever thought of the chemicals used to process meat, vegetables, milk and water? I knew of people who did not smoke and have died of cancer. Sad thing is, cancer is all around us. Its in our everyday consumption. We jump on band wagons and the newest health craze, I.e.”gluten free” . Stop, no one truly has the answer. Just remember anything man made is just that. We “add” to what is natural. If you must smoke, smoke only raw tobbaco. Ijs.

  • Sharon Hall

    So go smoke your pure nicotine. Maybe we should all try pure arsenic. Hell, it’s natural, isn’t it? Play in traffic. Inhale whatever you want. When the time comes and you are sorry you put all that shit into your body, don’t ask for sympathy or tears.

    • Janak Raj

      What are you here for? “In your own words” you don’t care. Then Fk off! This article is about the differences between Smoking and Vaping. If I’m to take nicotine, it is better that I take it with the help of vaping. The choice is between which is lesser harmful. You can stick your degree certificates between your butt-cheeks, honey!