Is Vaping Addictive?


There is evidence to suggest that vaping is far less addictive than smoking. A study [1] by Jean Francois Etter in 2015 showed e-cigarettes to be similarly or less addictive than nicotine gum, both being far less addictive than traditional cigarettes.

Vaping is an alternative nicotine delivery system. An e-cig is a battery powered electronic device that is used to heat e-liquid into an inhalable vapour. The e-liquid usually contains four ingredients, propylene glycol (PG), Vegetable Glycerin (VG), nicotine and flavouring.

What e-liquid doesn’t contain is any of the 4000+ chemicals [2], carcinogens and toxins found in cigarettes.

Nicotine and vaping

More and more people are switching to vaping to stop smoking. With public health bodies such as Pubic Health England [3] and Cancer Research UK [4] now encouraging smokers to take up vaping instead of smoking, this number will increase further.

Traditional cigarettes contain thousands of chemicals, one of these is nicotine. But this is not one of ‘harmful’ chemicals.

Nicotine is a stimulant that a smoker’s body can ‘crave’ after they quit smoking. Nicotine replacement therapies have been on the market for years, in the form of patches, gum, sprays and lozenges. Vaping is another alternative way to deliver nicotine.

But vaping is different, as it doesn’t rely on solely nicotine to help a smoker move away from cigarettes. It also covers all of the other ‘smoking’ triggers.

Not all smokers will be craving nicotine. Some have formed a habit over many years that can be difficult to break. Vaping allows smokers to cover all of their triggers, from inhaling and exhaling to hand to mouth action.

Is nicotine addictive?

Nicotine is a stimulant and as such can be mildly addictive to some people. When people try to quit smoking ‘cold turkey’ they can crave nicotine. If there are addictive qualities to it, but they are far less harmful than smoking, then is this really an issue?

During the USA [5] e-cigarette summit in 2017 Ray Niaura; Director of Science and Training at the Schroeder Institute, asked the question about nicotine: “What does addiction mean if there is little to no harm?”

Many in Public Health in the UK have equated vaping with coffee. Coffee is widely accepted and many are ‘addicted’ to it in the very loose sense of the word. True addiction wrecks lives. We have yet to hear of a coffee addict going on the rampage to get their morning fix of joe.

But this isn’t the only hurdle for smokers. Ex -smokers, have to battle against ‘euphoric recall’ and for some this never goes away. It’s the warm fuzzy feeling when you think back to that first cigarette of the day, but it is a false memory because we know smoking is bad for us. Some smokers are addicted to the habit.

Nicotine is as addictive as caffeine. So much like a coffee drinker needs a cup first thing in the morning, smokers can have the same feeling.

Is nicotine dangerous?

Due to its association with tobacco cigarettes however nicotine is in fact NOT one of the many harmful or potentially harmful constituents of cigarette smoke. Nicotine is a stimulant so therefore will have some effect on the body, in a similar way that other stimulants such as caffeine would have.

While studies are cited that supposedly show the negative effects that nicotine has on the body, that it can increase the risk of heart attacks with chronic exposure.[6] These studies are exposing cells from the human body to such astronomical quantities of nicotine, that no human would ever be exposed to that level in everyday circumstances.

The research so far seems to point to nicotine and vaping being as dangerous as drinking cups of coffee.

Is vaping nicotine worse than smoking?

A quick Google search will flag up pages of articles that talk about the dangers of vaping nicotine. The adverse side effects and how vaping in public opens up the forum for other drug use.

The problem is that the ‘side effects’ that they are talking about, are true. However, only when someone vapes too much nicotine.

We have spoken openly about this, in fact it is in our support section advising new vapers what to do if this happens.

Vaping delivers the nicotine in a different way to cigarettes and smokers can take a day or two to get used to this. Also, as you tend to have your e-cig on you all the time and enjoy none of the unpleasant aspects of smoking, such as smell and taste, you can vape too much. Some of the ‘side effects’ mentioned in these articles are dizziness, increased heart rate, mild nausea or headache. These are the short-lived effects of vaping slightly too much.

Stop vaping and they dissipate very quickly. Then it’s simply a case of vaping less, or lowering your nicotine strength.

There isn’t a comprehensive study that proves that vaping nicotine has long term negative effects to health. There are many studies disproving this negative claim.

In the first long-term health study of a group of vapers that had never smoked, conducted over a period of three and a half years, Professor Riccardo Polosa of the University of Catania and his research group concluded in 2017 that rather than just being far safer than smoking, long-term vapers who had never smoked were identical in respiratory health to those who neither smoked nor vaped.

Need a little more evidence that vaping is less harmful than smoking? Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians state that e-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than tobacco and in 2017 electronic cigarettes were recommended during the UK government’s ‘Stoptober’ campaign as a legitimate quitting aid.

Is vaping addictive?

The research currently available leans towards the idea that vaping is actually less addictive than smoking. Note that there are never articles sensationalised in the media about nicotine patches and how addictive they are!

Smokers aren’t only ‘craving’ the nicotine in cigarettes, they are also caught in a habitual routine, battling euphoric recall and not to mention the 4000+ chemicals in cigarettes of which many are addictive.

Vaping addresses the other ‘smoking triggers’ that traditional nicotine replacement therapies don’t. They allow a smoker to get nicotine delivered, as well as covering hand to mouth action, inhaling and exhaling and throat hit.

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