Ah, vaping; it's pretty much the younger, sexier, arguably cooler cousin to smoking. Despite all of the regulations put in place to monitor, restrict, and outright ban the use of e-cigarettes, vaping is still a hot topic. It makes sense, everyone and their kid have an opinion on vaping; from "is it healthy", "does it help you stop smoking", "is that cotton candy smelling second-hand vapor dangerous to others"… there's so much to talk about. Today, we're going to dig into the nitty-gritty of where exactly vaping fits into the world of smoking and if it's really as bad as people make it out to be.

The Pros and Cons of Vaping

Vaping Pros

Vaping does offer some benefits over smoking and is generally the less perilous habit of the two. It is less hazardous than smoking (which we'll get more into later) and it does allow for better oral hygiene - meaning better breath and your teeth don't yellow dramatically. Your senses of taste and smell remain strong, and your skin stays healthy. When you vape, you can control how much nicotine you inhale according to the levels contained within the e-juice and how much you put into the vape. You can completely forgo nicotine altogether if you choose to do so.

E-juices come in a variety of different flavors too; fruit, candy, menthols, drinks, and tobacco. You'll likely never run out of flavors to try. You don't need to have any prior experience with cigarettes or vapes to know how to smoke one either. Many of them are draw-activated, just puff and there you go. Vaping is also easily accessible and pretty cheap if you look in the right places. You can purchase vapes most anywhere they sell tobacco products for as little as under ten bucks, depending on the kind of vape you want.

Vaping Cons

Vaping can still be fairly unhealthy for those that do it, but how bad is it compared to smoking? As it turns out, good ol' tobacco is still more dangerous. Even so, vaping has led to an outbreak of lung injuries and deaths - many of which were in underaged people - so it's definitely not the healthiest thing in the world you could choose to do. The caveat to that, however, is that many of those deaths and injuries were due to vapers modifying their vape devices or using unregulated, black market e-liquids (a lot of which use tetrahydrocannabinol or THC).

Vaping may also be a no-go for the heart and lungs. Although there has yet to be any conclusive data, e-cigarettes do still contain nicotine, which has already proven to be highly addictive and bad for...your everything, really. It increases blood pressure, raises adrenaline, and can lead to heart attacks. We're not really sure if vaping can harm the heart and lungs, but it's best to at least be aware of the possibility.

It's also been found that e-cigarettes may not really decrease your chances of quitting smoking. If anything, some adults that tried them to stop just vaped alongside traditional smoking. Secondhand vapor may also be as dangerous as secondhand smoke; what a lot of people seem to forget is that the vapor from e-cigarettes contains hazardous substances like diacetyl (a substance that can cause an irreversible lung disease called obliterative bronchiolitis), many carcinogenic chemicals, and nicotine.

How E-Cigarettes Can Affect Smokers

Perhaps one of the most intriguing things about vaping comes from how it can affect them. We'd kind of mentioned that many smokers use vaping as a stopgap between weaning themselves off of cigarettes and stopping altogether.

Again, the somewhat inconclusive nature of vaping research crops up, as results ping-pong between vaping actually helping people kick the habit, making people who've stopped smoke again, and making some smoke and vape. There is also some evidence that newer e-cigs can prevent smoking relapse as they deliver higher doses of nicotine.

The Collective Opinion on Vaping

The general consensus on vaping...well, honestly speaking, there isn't really a general consensus. People within the age group from 18 to 38 think that vaping is totally harmless and non-addictive. While evidence as to whether e-cigarettes are addictive or not is inconclusive, there have, as we've said, been people who've suffered from lung injuries and illnesses, meaning that it's definitely not harmless.

This attitude towards vaping has also carried over to teenagers who were the ones who suffered the most from the aforementioned lung complications. From a purely objective standpoint, it's not really hard to see why people think that vaping is harmless. Much of the health warnings about it haven't been proven without a doubt and given that e-juice comes in different, admittedly amazing sounding flavors, it can be difficult to see vaping presents a problem.

This lack of concern on the part of many has led to a growing concern on the part of teachers who've found that vaping has become normalized among their students as many of them poke fun at the subject. Teachers have also reported a growing number of disruptions of instructional time due to vaping.

Parents, needless to say, aren't fans of vaping either. Many of them have warned their children about the dangers of e-cigarettes, but some teens still manage to vape anyway. This has led to much worrying and frustration among parents.

The teen vaping epidemic has resulted in some states wishing to ban vaping and all associated products. There is an argument against that, saying that e-cigarettes should simply be treated like normal ones; restrict and regulate their usage while making the packaging less "child-friendly". For whatever our two cents might be worth, we feel that it's a valid and sensible argument. You don't have to make the product illegal for everyone, just make it difficult for under-aged people to access.

Whatever your perspective on the whole vape debate, it's place in the smoking debate is difficult to decipher for many. This could be partially due to how differently it's treated from smoking and that there is so much we just don't know.

If you vape or smoke - and of the proper age, we are not advocating underage smoking or vaping - do so responsibly. Know the risks and make an informed decision. You can join the conversation in the comments below because we never get enough of your perspectives and stories! And make sure that whatever you do, you're keeping safe out there.