Dating back thousands of years, smoking is now ingrained as a dark stain in recent human history. Initially thought to have spiritual and medicinal properties, the act of smoking traditional tobacco became popular in Europe in the 16th century. The invention of automated cigarette manufacturing machines around the turn of the 20th century made smoking convenient and accessible, and cigarette smoking soon became a popular social pastime. Although enjoyed by millions worldwide, by the 1950s the correlation between smoking and lung cancer had been confirmed, and the first anti-smoking campaigns were born.

In the late 1970s, smokers in the developed world were encouraged to stop. A limited range of products that aided quitting was brought to market; initially just nicotine gum, but later patches, lozenges and inhalers. Although aiding smokers by giving them a dose of nicotine, they did little to imitate the sensation of smoking, and this meant the success rate for quitting was and is still low.

This is where e-cigarettes and vaping came in. Imitating the sensation and feeling of traditional smoking, vaping filled a much needed gap in the market. It offered a less harmful alternative to smoking for people who had previously struggled to give up cigarettes.

A question we get asked quite often is, “What are the main differences between smoking and vaping?” Below are some of the standout differences between the two.


Traditional cigarette smoke has a very thoroughly researched chemical content. Contained within the smoke from each cigarette are over 5000 chemicals, 150 smoke toxicants, and 44 known carcinogens! Some of these have been added to aid nicotine delivery and to preserve the cigarettes before they are used.

test tubes with colorful chemicals

Below is a very small selection of the chemicals contained within the smoke from traditional cigarettes:

Acetone – A flammable solvent

1-aminonaphthalene – Used in weed killer

2-aminonaphthalene – Banned for industrial use due to its carcinogenicity

Ammonia – Used in cleaning products and common cause of inhalation injury

Benzene – Known carcinogen/mutagen with restricted use in the chemical industry

Cadmium – Known heavy metal carcinogen

Arsenic – Known heavy metal carcinogen

Catechol – Used in oils, inks and dyes

Hydrogen Cyanide – Poisonous gas used in chemical warfare

Carbon Monoxide – Poisonous gas that reduces blood’s ability to carry oxygen

Tar – A thick resinous gloop of cancer causing chemicals that remains in the lungs

The list above are 10 out of over 5000 chemicals…most of these are bad, normally used in a restricted industrial setting and all have adverse effects on your health.

On the flip side, contained within every bottle of our e-juice is:

Propylene glycol – Found in asthma inhalers, pharmaceutical grade

Glycerine – Vegetable derived organic compound, pharmaceutical grade

Water – Not always included, but if it is, it’s pharmaceutical grade

Nicotine – A stimulant, pharmaceutical grade

Flavouring – Food grade, screened for inhalation suitability

There are five ingredients in our e-liquid, of the highest quality on the market, and either pharmaceutical or food grade.

Don’t fancy nicotine in your e-liquid, go for zero nicotine, one less ingredient in your e-juice and you get all the sensation of smoking, exhaling vapour etc. just without the throat and nicotine hit. We have an entire range of zero nicotine e-liquids to ensure those not looking for a nicotine hit are catered for.

At Totally Wicked all our e-liquids are backed by our guarantee of e-liquid excellence and are tested for inhalation suitability, there are hundreds of flavours to choose from and a range of different nicotine strengths.

Remember buy your e-liquid sensibly, use a reputable company and ensure they have the correct clean room and testing protocols in place. If you are in doubt about an e-liquid and its quality, ask.


One thing that you do not notice when you are a smoker, you stink. Cigarettes have a strong, unpleasant, lingering smell that is difficult to detect when you smoke yourself. But everyone around you can and be honest guys, no one wants to smell unpleasant.

E-cigarette vapour can sometimes have a slightly sweet smell, but this dissipates quickly and does not linger in clothes and hair.

This one is truly a no brainer: you smoke, you stink.


Tobacco or menthol…that’s it; when you smoke your choice is extremely limited and anything you do choose contains cancer causing chemicals! Yes there are hundreds of colours of lighter to choose from, but when you think about it, cigarettes actually taste awful.

One of the best parts of vaping is the choice. Hundreds of flavours of e-liquid with everything from caramel tobacco to raspberry menthol exist, and hundreds of combinations of e-cig set ups means you will always be able to find your all day vape.

When you make the switch you are also making the most important choice: to not smoke. That is the main goal of most vapers, to get away from traditional cigarettes, vaping makes this possible for people who have struggled in the past.


Once again, honesty is the best policy, smoking is one of the least social pastimes (apart from competitive raw onion eating). Non-smokers do not want to be around you while you are puffing away on your fag. The fear of passive smoking and smelling as a smoker does is enough to drive even your best friend away.

Being social when you are a vaper is much easier. No passive smoking, no disgusting smell, and much happier friends and family.


This one is slightly controversial, as your health and wellbeing should be number one priority, but as always money talks and boy do you save when making the switch.

Going off the average cost of a pack of 20 cigarettes, you can save over £2600 a year when you make the switch to vaping. Just take that in for a minute, that’s a car or dream holiday. Yes there are some running costs with your e-cigarette as you will need to buy e-liquid, atomizer heads and other accessories, but these are minuscule in comparison.

As with everything there can be an exception to this rule, we’re looking at you, hobbyist vaper! We know you are always on the lookout for your new shiny fix. The latest vaping kit is released and you just have to have it. The chances are you will not be saving as much as regular vapers do, so you need to get over to our Totally Wicked Vape Locker and have a nosy at some of the great value new products we have in. You are sitting there missing out as we speak!

Public Health England stated last year that vaping is 95% safer than smoking. These are just a small selection of differences between vaping and smoking that highlight the reasons why. If you are sitting here reading this, waiting to light up your next fag, go back and read it again, it really is a no brainer.

If you have already made the switch to vaping, fantastic! Browse our hundreds of flavours of e-liquid and our e-cig kits and mods right here.