E-Cigarette Ban in India: Vaping Vs Tobacco Smoking, Which is Safer?
Vaping vs Cigarette Smoking (Photo Credits: File Image)

The Indian government has won plaudits for its blanket ban on e-cigarettes in the country. The move comes after a global backlash against vaping and its many health concerns. As per the ban, the production, import and distribution of e-cigarettes and vaping products will be proscribed. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters that the decision was taken keeping the health of the youth in mind. However well-intentioned the move, Indian Twitter users can’t help musing about the fact that tobacco-based cigarettes aren’t banned in the country. Vaping is considered a lot “safer” than smoking tobacco. But how different are the two? Here’s everything you need to know about the difference between vaping and smoking tobacco. E-Cigarettes Banned In India, And As Expected, Funny Memes and Hilarious Jokes Go Viral on Twitter.

What is Vaping?

Vaping refers to the use of electronic cigarettes to inhale and exhale vapours. The device heats the e-liquid, turning it into a vapour, which is then "smoked." Vaping is considered to be safer than smoking tobacco and was initially introduced as a tool for smoking cessation. Smokers use e-cigarettes to make an easy transition from smoking to non-smoking sans the withdrawal symptoms.

How is It Different From Tobacco Smoking?

The point of difference between vaping and smoking is that the former doesn’t involve burning any substance. E-cigarettes produce vapours or aerosols from e-liquids. They contain propylene glycol, glycerine, nicotine and flavourings.

The reason why they are considered safer is that e-cigs don’t involve tobacco, which is linked to many a health hazard. Years of research have established that diseases like cancer, COPD, cardiovascular diseases and other serious illnesses are caused by tobacco smoking.

Is Vaping Safer Than Smoking Tobacco?

Vaping is considered safer than smoking tobacco, but there's more to its risks than what meets the eyes. Burning a regular cigarette with tobacco will produce poisonous gases like carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide. It also creates tar and other carcinogens, the hazards of which are well-known.

Vaping doesn't produce the 7,000 odd toxic substances inhaled routinely by cigarette smokers. Also, there's no established link between vaping and cancer.

Although e-cigs are a safer alternative, they do have their share of negatives. One is that the e-liquid contains nicotine. Prolonged exposure to nicotine may cause insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Breathing in nicotine through the aerosols may cause increased heart rate and blood pressure.

Flavoured e-liquids contain diacetyl, a chemical that causes permanent damage to bronchioles. Propylene glycol and glycerol in the liquids breakdown into a dangerous chemical formaldehyde, which is also a carcinogen.

The fruity flavours of the aerosols often help in masking their dangers, making teens and children believe vaping is a harmless alternative to smoking.

Recent vaping-related deaths bear testimony to the fact that e-cigarettes may be more dangerous than we thought. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already raised concerns of “chemical exposure” and the resultant vaping illnesses. In USA alone there are six confirmed deaths caused by vaping as per CDC observation.

AFP reports that several US teens who were routine vapers complained of breathing difficulty and chest pain. Many were placed in medically-induced comas and one teen also needed a lung transplant.

Also, there is no documented evidence of the long-term effects of vaping since e-cigs were introduced only in 2006. Although the evils of tobacco smoking are well-established, we don’t have years of observational data to say for sure whether vaping is safer for sure.