Rather, vaping is (from what we know so far) legitimately a far, far healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes. The biggest health risk by far isn't the nicotine, it's the smoke, which vaping doesn't have.
It's been framed as a public health question since the very beginning: do the population-wide large health benefits of smokers who can't quit then switching to vaping, outweigh the (as currently understood) much smaller potential health problems with vaping, but which may be taken up by many people who otherwise wouldn't smoke at all? It's a balance of harms.
What I've heard about Juul addiction among college-age kids sounds a little scary. (But then in my generation it was scary binge drinking, and that's fallen significantly over the past 10 years.)
But at the same time, I've seen friends finally be able to give up smoking for vaping, which can only be a good thing given what we know right now.
Youth Who Use Vaping Products Are More Likely to Smoke Cigarettes, Increase Use of Both Over Time
Of course this doesn't solve any potential other problems with the practice (the popcorn lung scare from a while back comes to mind) but in theory, if you simply must smoke, it's possible to do so without any nicotine at all.
Cigarettes kill 50% of long-term users. It's reasonable to use that as the comparison if you're discussing smokers switching to vaping but it's crazy to use that as the basis of comparison for new vapers.
PS: I still think that nicotine alone isn't responsible for the addiction, but the warming, though consequently chilling effect, and the oral stimulation, that may affect neural pathways related to eating and drinking. And, arguably this counts all the more if it can be made to taste like apple, though cigarettes get flavors add from vanilla over cinnamon, honey, licorice and I don't wanna know what else, too.
> given what we know right now
You are making assumptions and drawing conclusions based on what you don't know. That's exactly what doctors used to do when they smoked in hospitals and what vocalists did when they claimed that smoking gave their voice a rich, deep sound.
Cutting off your finger is not as bad as cutting off your arm. But I prefer not cutting off my finger.
Should I stop showering and going in steam rooms too?
The "common knowledge" around vaping is dramatically different on each side of the Atlantic
It's fair to say vaping has had huge and surprising impact on smoking in the UK, it's now become really rare to see a smoker. It's now an occasional surprise when you catch a whiff of tobacco in the street.
It helped that cigarettes have been progressively taxed to nearly unaffordable (not sure, but I think a pack of 20 is now comfortably over £10). At the same time tobacco has been hidden in ugly packaging and no visibility is allowed in stores.
I will confess that I do still smoke if I find myself in a country where vaping is illegal and the cigarettes are 50p a pack, as I am still a nicotine addict, but I would much rather vape. Cigarettes make my lungs hurt. Vaping doesn’t.
So, unless it turns out that vaping is somehow worse than smoking, this is a resounding public health policy success. My behaviour and the scarcity of smoking you note underscores this.
Taxation helps, but states are loathe to tax so much that they actually decrease demand more, they are addicted to the extra revenue and don’t want to see that go down. But society still loses out in the long run, whereas in the UK and Australia, the costs of smoking are all socialized, so sin revenue isn’t as appealing.
Note that the UK has active public health campaigns to quit smoking  and tougher laws on advertising than some parts of the world . Having said that, an awful lot of UK teenagers have smoked e-cigarettes, so perhaps we're just complacent.
2017: 16 to 24 year olds: 32% had experimented, 17% had previously smoked e-cigs, 5% were current users.
Edit: I forgot to add that there are different limits on nicotine content.
That's not so surprising - when vaping was newer, even many non smokers tried a hit or two of that strange blackcurrant flavoured thing a friend was using. Without taking up the habit later.
> 17% had previously smoked e-cigs, 5% were current users
Compared to something like 20 or 25% UK school leavers smoking previously? That seems like a clearer win than would have been predicted, or even hoped for as best case. Wouldn't surprise me if 5% is lower than weed use in the same age group. Zero is surely unachievable, as some kids are always going to use something - ecigs will be far better than tobacco or sniffing solvents.
That's quite a claim. Based on what? Can you point to any deaths reasonably believed to be caused by nicotine consumption from vaping?
The first is the direct effects of nicotine (and possibly the vaping mechanism). The figure being bandied about on this thread is that vaping is probably 5% as directly dangerous as tobacco.
The second is that teenagers and young people who vape (with nicotine) will get addicted to nicotine and are more likely to smoke tobacco.
Smoking currently kills more than five million people a year, 5% of that would be more than 250,000 deaths a year and so a million deaths every four years. If vaping is taken up by young people on the scale that smoking tobacco is then millions of premature deaths is a conservative estimate, given what we know now.
And we all know that Juul styles itself as a tech brand that looks cool for a reason, and they're being investigated by the FDA for their teen targeting social media campaigns already.
So really there is a false dichotomy in this discussion where vaping risks are compared to smoking. They should be evaluated in the light of not inhaling toxic substances at all.
Are you just pointing out that since some activity that didn't exist before has a non-zero risk, one class of risks are going up? This is not a good argument for saying that total risk is going up, or that that activity should be suppressed.
> And we all know that Juul styles itself as a tech brand that looks cool for a reason
Starbucks tries to loop hip and trendy, but really they're just selling an addictive drug too: caffeine. And they sell it to children. They even sell hot chocolate, which is a sweet drink that appeals to children who wouldn't normally drink coffee, but is served very similar to coffee and is derived from some of the same ingredient. Once Starbucks gets them in the habit of getting hot chocolates, they graduate to coffee as they get old.
> They should be evaluated in the light of not inhaling toxic substances at all.
Caffeine and nicotine are both addictive stimulants, and nicotine is stronger, but neither are "toxic" in any reasonable sense.
PHE publishes independent expert e-cigarettes evidence review
This video demonstration from PHE provides a striking comparison between smoking and vaping. Perhaps unintentionally, the video might make people who vape to view it as a relatively safe practice (it's much safer than smoking, but still detrimental to health):
They're telling smokers that vaping is much better than smoking. They're telling shops not to sell vaping supplies to people who were not previously smokers, and that self-regulation while inconsistant seems to be working okay at the moment.
To be honest a number had a rather surprising view: if it has nicotine in it then it must be bad.
I formed my own opinion back then: the researchers did not seem that inretested in the effects of vaping and preferred to instead just associate it with cigarettes.
This article talks about us not knowing the long term effects (which is true) but then goes on to regulating vaping. Why not advocate for more research instead?
I don’t think vaping is without side effects but it’s my personal view and I have no scientific basis for it. But we should be doing more research before we clamp down on it.
And cigarette smoking is one of the worst public health hazards.
Yes, it's probably much better for you to not inhale hot smoke particles in your lungs and all the other ancillary chemicals from cigarettes, but if vaping is undermining decades of hard-fought progress against the single largest preventable cause of death globally (responsible for ~30% of cancer deaths) by bringing in new smokers and reducing the urgency to quit among current smokers I can see how public health officials would be cautious about embracing it.
Smoking is worse than getting nicotine from other than tobacco related substances like a juul. But n. on it's own is a deadly substance. Please see this article:
Increased clotting tendancy, atherosclerosis, enlargement of the aorta, passes into the milk to infants, also: (didn't copy all the references)
"Nicotine induces both behavioral stimulation and anxiety in animals. Nicotine addiction involves drug-reinforced behavior, compulsive use, and relapse following abstinence. Nicotine dependence involves tolerance, sensitization, physical dependence, and psychological dependence. Nicotine dependency causes distress."
Someone wants this?
Whoever smokes and doesn't consider quitting as an option should try switching to vaping, whoever vapes should consider quitting as whoever smokes should, whoever doesn't smoke and doesn't vape should better avoid starting either.
The levels of diacetyl found in (certain) vape liquids are probably not a concern. Cigarette smoke contains much higher concentrations of diacetyl and popcorn lung doesn't appear to be endemic in smokers.
Indeed most of the cases in medical literature seem to involve factory workers who were exposed to high amounts of diacetyl, plus a handful of people who consumed massive amounts of microwave popcorn. Are there any observed cases of popcorn lung in smokers?
If vaping is just as bad as cigarettes than you probably want to make vaping really expensive and hard to get. If it's completely risk free you'd want to subsidize vaping and make sure it's available at every store. The best evidence looks like it's 5%-10% as deadly as smoking which means we probably don't want to restrict it too much.
Both alcohol and meth are harmful to health, but the degree makes one manageable and the other not.
Cigarrets are so strong and disgusting that it is really hard to start. You really need to want to look cool as a teen to start smoking cigs.
Juul is just so easy to smoke, and the flavors make it awesome. It's insane how different the two products are in term of awesomeness.
So if juul is bad for health, the next generation is in deep deep trouble
Heart disease is the leading killer in the US. Are you saying the number of excess deaths among smokers (over the baseline in the non-smoking population) is roughly equally distributed between heart disease and lung disease? Can you give a cite?
Overall though, cancer is what I’d be by far the least concerned about with respect to vaping.
Combustion in general produces a bunch of nasty chemicals.
It basically works as an accelerant, stimulating and encouraging tumor growth and metastasis.
"Nicotine, which is the addictive component of tobacco smoke, is unable to initiate tumorigenesis in humans and rodents; at the same time, nicotine has been shown to promote tumor growth and metastasis by inducing cell cycle progression, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), migration, invasion, angiogenesis, and evasion of apoptosis in a variety of systems (8–13). In addition, nicotine has been shown to induce secretion of growth factors and cytokines altering the physiology of multiple organ systems (8–13). These observations suggest that nicotine likely contributes to the progression and metastasis of tumors that are initiated by tobacco carcinogens."
my understanding of the risks of heart disease and stroke affiliated with smoking is that they’re primarily due to the fact that regular smokers are living their lives in a permanent state of mild carbon monoxide poisoning. CO has a time course on the order of about 10
hours, so if you have more than two smoke breaks a day, your hemoglobin supply is semi-permanently compromised ...
Here, I found this after approximately 15 seconds of research
"Nicotine poses several health hazards. There is an increased risk of cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal disorders. There is decreased immune response and it also poses ill impacts on the reproductive health. It affects the cell proliferation, oxidative stress, apoptosis, DNA mutation by various mechanisms which leads to cancer. It also affects the tumor proliferation and metastasis and causes resistance to chemo and radio therapeutic agents. The use of nicotine needs regulation. The sale of nicotine should be under supervision of trained medical personnel."
The ease of locating this leads me to believe it would be simple to find additional support for the idea that nicotine is not entirely benign. I am not going to take the time to do this, even though that risks a downvote on HN.
Could I code/work one more hour per day? Yes, usually.
But the trade-offs were insomnia, irritability, and anxiety.
It wasn't until I quit cold turkey that the effects of nicotine withdrawal really kicked in. I felt like crap for days.
Sure, e-Cigarettes are a far better alternative than their counterpart. But the addictive quality, and recurring financial investment are very real.
You can justify anything if you have something worse to compare it to. Now it's weed or vaping, in the future it may be something else.
So please don't reject sincere opinions for not having scientific evidence when none is available.
My view - just like my view with marijuana - we need to do a better job of quantifying the negative impacts of addiction. It is fundamentally a bad thing for your body to be addicted to something, and we normalize that view by engaging in whataboutism; oh, it's just coffee, it's just sugar, it's better than cigarettes and on and on.
There hasn't been enough research on it, it's certainly more opaque for consumers to really know where the ingredients are being sourced and how much nicotine they're actually receiving. These are all bad things, even if it's "better" than combustibles.
That's of course in addition to the extreme shittiness of these companies blatantly advertising to kids, but that's another argument altogether.