Vaping is not a risk-free alternative to smoking, and here’s why

Digital Originals

In this April 23, 2014 file photo, a man smokes an electronic cigarette in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

If you think electronic cigarettes are a safe switch from regular cigarettes, think again. Recent studies on the use of e-cigarettes, or vaping, have found that it can cause severe health problems in the long term.

An October 2018 report published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that daily vapers could double their risk of a heart attack. Another study in 2018 by the American Chemical Society found that smoking e-cigarettes can alter or damage a user’s DNA, increasing their risk of oral cancer.

In this Oct. 13, 2018, photo, e-cigarette devices are displayed at a shop In Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

The World Health Organization has also warned against using e-cigarettes, noting that the level of certain cancer-causing agents, like formaldehyde, are often just as high as in regular cigarettes.

China is the world’s largest supplier of e-cigarettes, making up nearly 95 percent of the global supply. Despite that there are currently no laws regulating e-cigarettes in the Chinese Mainland.

Hong Kong has already announced a complete ban on vaping and other tobacco products, and Macao has banned the sale and advertising of e-cigarettes.

On this July 24, 2015, file photo, vapers in Beijing participate in the farthest smoke distance race with electronic cigarettes. (Photo: VCG/Li Jiangsong)

The Beijing Tobacco Control Association has said that second-hand smoke from e-cigarettes is harmful and have called for regulations, such as prohibiting its use in public places.

In this Oct. 13, 2018, photo, Jamie Tsang, 20, smokes an e-cigarette In Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s leader says the semi-autonomous Chinese territory plans to ban e-cigarettes and other new smoking products such as heat-not-burn products and herbal cigarettes to protect public health. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

But while vaping can cause major health problems, some studies show that it can be less harmful than smoking. A March 2017 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that smokers who switched to vaping showed less toxins in their systems, compared to people who continued smoking conventional cigarettes.

Even so, the nicotine content in e-cigarettes still poses a high risk of addiction and additional health risks.