There are lots of people with their own takes regarding vaping vs. smoking. The two are easy to conflate. Australian law certainly does, as e-cigarettes are classified as smoke products, governed by the same laws as tobacco products and illegal to sell if they contain nicotine.
However, this discussion needs a bit more nuance, as there are some key differences between the two. As vape enthusiasts ourselves, we want to try and clear this subject matter up as much as possible. That is why we’ve created this guide to vaping vs. smoking, outlining the differences for you.
What are vaping and smoking?
Vaping and smoking both involve using heat to inhale chemicals. They are also legally recognised under the same regulatory acts. Both are illegal for people under 18 years of age in Australia because they both carry possible health risks. However, that is where the similarities largely end.
When it comes to vaping vs. smoking, both might share a similar purpose and method, but they are not the same. Practically everything; from their feel and the experience of using them, to the cost, to the associated health risks, is radically different between the two. Defining vaping and smoking will make this abundantly clear.
Smoking involves using a lit flame to heat up a processed plant extract and then inhaling the resulting smoke. There are various different kinds of tobacco smoking paraphernalia, such as cigarettes (which can come pre-rolled or be rolled by the user using rolling paper), cigars, pipes, etc.
The most common plant used for smoking is tobacco, an American plant with highly addictive properties thanks to its high concentration of nicotine. However, other plants can be smoked such as marijuana and opium. Cigarette smoking is the most common form of tobacco use worldwide, despite it being a major risk factor for both lung and cardiovascular diseases.
Vaping is the act of heating up e-liquid using a vapouriser (or e-cigarette), and then inhaling the ensuing vapour. Vape juice consists of two main components - Propylene Glycol (PG) which thins out the consistency of the vapour and Vegetable Glycerin (VG) which thickens the consistency of the vapour. The texture of the e-liquid is determined by the different concentrations of PG and VG.
While vaping offers a similar sensation, it also allows the user more control over their experience than a cigarette. Because most vape juice does not contain nicotine, it is also not addictive like tobacco, which has made vaping a tool that tobacco smokers can use to help them quit.
Vaping vs. Smoking: Key Differences
So, as you can see, while vaping and smoking might be recognised similarly under current Australian law, they are demonstrably different. However, the differences go deeper than just their plain definition.
Feel and Experience
One of the major advantages that vaping has over smoking is that you have more freedom with your vaping experience than you do with smoking. When it comes to smoking, your choice is limited to:
- Your smoking method (cigarette, cigar, pipe)
- Your brand of tobacco
Sure, there are differences with tobacco brands, but these differences are relatively small. You’re still, at the end of the day, just smoking tobacco. It will have the same taste, consistency and throat feel.
On the other hand, vaping offers you these decisions:
- Your choice of vapouriser (e-cigarettes, pod vapes, box mods, vape pens, desktop vapes, etc.)
- Your vaporiser parts and accessories
- Your choice of vape juice brand
- Your flavours of vape juice
- The PG/VG ratio
- The amount of heat that your vapouriser uses
No two vaping experiences are the same. Not only do you have a wide variety of flavours to choose from, but you have direct control over the consistency and texture of the vapour. You can tailor the texture, consistency and throat feel of your vape to your sensibilities.
Vaping vs. Smoking: Monetary Cost
Cigarettes are notoriously expensive, particularly when you factor the addictive nature of nicotine, as well as the fact that Australia has the highest prices for cigarettes in the world. The price of cigarettes has inflated so significantly that; at today’s prices, you would spend over $130,000 if you smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for ten years. That’s $13,000 a year!
It’s a lot easier to budget for vaping, as vaping is significantly cheaper than smoking. A vapouriser is typically $35-50. Then a bottle of vape juice is approximately $20. As a result, the cost of vaping ends up amounting to an average of $1,150 per year. That’s 0.088% of how much a smoker would pay.
Vaping vs. Smoking: Health Risks
Let’s be clear, both vaping and smoking carry some form of health risk. However, vaping is a lot less harmful to the user. In fact, the available data suggests that vaping is approximately 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco.
There are many reasons for this, such as;
- The lower concentration of harmful chemicals in vaping, which are at levels below 1% of what they are in cigarettes
- The significantly lower amount of carcinogens that have been discovered in the biomarkers (blood, saliva and urine) of those that vape as opposed to smoking
- The much lower risk of conditions such as heart attacks, high blood pressure, asthma and emphysema
- In fact, the risk of cancer from vaping is estimated to be less than 0.5% the risk of smoking tobacco
So, what are the facts?
When it comes to vaping vs. smoking, vaping not only offers a better experience and feel thanks to its customisability, but it is also a lot cheaper and a lot less risky to one’s health than smoking tobacco.
If you’re looking to switch from smoking to something superior in every conceivable way, try our premium vape juice today.