Vaping: Is It A Better Alternative to Tobacco?

I started smoking when I was 19 and in the beginning stages of my active alcoholism. In the crowds that I ran with, everyone smoked. Drunk and stumbling outside of the bar, it was only natural to light up a cigarette.

Then, when I got sober, it seemed like everyone STILL smoked. You could always tell where the meeting was being held by following the cloud of smoke to the entrance.

But then, as I got sober and my lifestyle started to change, smoking didn’t really make sense anymore. I started to care more about my health. I started to feel the effects the cigarettes were having on my lungs. I started to seriously think about quitting, but any time I tried to stop cold turkey, the cravings would always lure me back.

I started asking my friends who had quit how they did it, and a lot of people pointed me in the direction of using a Vaporizer (or “Vape”).

What Is Vaping?

Vaping involves filling an personal vaporizor with liquid (usually with a Propolyene Glycol or Vegetable Glycerin base) that contains nicotine. The vaporizer turns the liquid to vapor that is then inhaled. The user gets both the hit of nicotine and the ritual of inhaling without actually inhaling any smoke.

The Good

  • Vaping works for a lot of people, this girl included. I haven’t had a cigarette in nine months.
  • Vaping eliminates 4000 carcinogens and chemicals that are found in actual cigarettes.
  • Although it requires an initial investment of purchasing the vaporizer, vaping is significantly cheaper than smoking.
  • Most doctors agree that if the choice is between vaping or smoking cigarettes, vaping is a healthier choice.

The Not So Good

  • Vaping liquid still contains nicotine, which is an addictive substance. Eventually, you will need to address it or you will likely smoke again.
  • Since vaping is so new, there is little scientific data on the long-term effects of vaping on the lungs. While most health professionals agree that it is a better alternative to smoking, most also agree that it is not entirely safe and that we won’t be sure of the potential damage until further studies have been performed.

Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about vaping as a whole. I think that it has helped a lot of people, in the sober community and beyond, to give up one of the unhealthiest habits in the world. Like I said, I’ve been vaping for 9 months and haven’t had a cigarette since. But I’m also not comfortable with the idea of vaping for the long term. While most are saying that it’s safe, we really don’t have any way of knowing what this vapor is actually doing to our bodies. I feel confident that it’s not as bad as smoking, but I also feel confident that it’s worse than doing nothing at all.

I have been slowly decreasing the amount of nicotine in my liquid, from 18mg down to 3mg, and by the time my 1 year no smoking anniversary rolls around, I will be off nicotine completely. Once that happens, I am going to give up vaping as well.

What do you think? Is vaping a better alternative to smoking?


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