Vaping – Good or bad?

Vaping – a recommendation and discussion

Recommended for helping her quit vaping which had become as annoying as her smoking habit Lynn had previously helped with.

I regularly get calls for help to stop smoking (see a great case study here). I am now increasingly being asked to help people to stop vaping (see the Facebook recommendation).

Vaping is generally a good thing but while it might help you stop smoking, it is, itself, not an entirely healthy habit. Indeed, the UK Health Security Agency advice on this is:

Our advice remains that people who smoke are better to switch completely to vaping but if you have never been a smoker, don’t start to vape.


In this article I address some of the issues associated with vaping.

How big is vaping?

Worldwide growth of vaping projected forward on an exponential curve

Vaping was first introduced to the UK in 2007 at which time there were about 7m users worldwide. By 2014 that had jumped to 25 million and was estimated to be as high as 82 million last year! Clearly numbers are growing exponentially.

We see evidence of this growth daily in the streets both pedestrians and drivers alike with their vape permanently locked in their ‘spare’ hand. Oddly, the only year in which vaping reduced in Great Britain was in 2020 (Lockdown year):

Growth of Vaping in Great Britain between 2012 -2022

What are the known goods of Vaping

  1. It has proven very effective helping smokers to kick the habit.  Even vaping nicotine is much healthier than smoking it because it’s the by-products of smoking that are so dangerous.

  2. A bit of a two-edged sword this one – so far it seems to not carry the same level of risk for long-term use.  This uncertainty is because the components used have not been in common use by this method of delivery before.  Indeed, in 2020, the European Heart Journal published two articles whose conclusions display the level of uncertainty:

    We agree that studies of short-term effects suggest that switching to e-cigarettes may be less harmful than regular smoking but these findings have also not been corroborated by long-term data on clinically meaningful endpoints. These findings do not contradict the interpretation of our results. By no means do they demonstrate the safety of vaping as recent chronic studies on vaping demonstrate an association with respiratory disease and myocardial infarction.


    In conclusion, while more research is certainly needed to identify the long-term effects of switching from smoking to e-cigarette use on the cardiovascular system, the acute effects of delivering a stimulant (nicotine) on vascular function cannot be used as a prognostic marker for cardiovascular risk.

    What are the known bads of Vaping?

    1. If still used with nicotine, it remains addictive. Even without nicotine it is habit-forming and, potentially, will become a financial problem.

    2. It has its own side-effects, which you might be unlucky enough to experience, such as:
      1. coughing, dry mouth and throat,
      2. mouth and throat irritation,
      3. shortness of breath, and
      4. headaches.

    3. If government reverse current regulations carried forward from EU membership, we might see manufacturers re-introducing diacetyl. This was banned in EU some time ago but continued in use in the USA for a while where we saw troubling reports of a condition called ‘popcorn lung’.

    4. Following on from 3, Vaping started to take off in 2007 and diacetyl wasn’t banned until 2016 – that means a dangerous element of the product was around for 9 years before it was controlled. What else do we not know about yet?


    It is clear that Vaping is a very useful tool to kick the smoking habit. It is also one that many smokers don’t realise could remove the biggest dangers of smoking which isn’t nicotine but all the by-products associated with smoking. However, it is itself, by its nature, habit forming in the same way as thumb-sucking is for children which has its’ own consequences.