How is vaping different to smoking?
Vaping is different to smoking, which burns tobacco leaf creating smoke. Both vaping and smoking deliver nicotine, but it is the burning of tobacco that causes most of the harm. Vaping, however, is not completely harmless.
What’s in vape liquid?
The vaping liquid (also called e-liquid) typically contains propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, plus flavours and the option of nicotine.
- Propylene glycol creates a throat sensation similar to smoking.
- A higher ratio vegetable glycerine gives more vapour.
- Different flavours are added for personal preference. These are regulated under the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.
- Nicotine is optional, and comes in different levels of strength.
What is a vape device?
Vape devices are also known as e-cigarettes. There are two types, both of which need charging:
- Discreet pod or pen devices are mouth-to-lung devices. Pod devices have a battery and a disposable e-liquid cartridge. Pen devices have a battery, a tank that refills with liquid, and a coil that heats the vapour.
- More complex tank devices are direct-to-lung devices and are the ones that can make big clouds.
How vaping helps smokers
A note on heated tobacco devices
Tobacco companies have developed devices that heat, rather than burn tobacco. These are different to vaping devices which heat a liquid that may contain nicotine. Because these devices heat, rather than burn tobacco they are likely to produce far fewer poisons than regular cigarette smoking. They are marketed as less harmful than smoking. Compared with vaping products, there is relatively little research on the risks and benefits of many of these heated tobacco products.
For more detail, view the Evidence Review of E-cigarettes and Heated Tobacco Products 2018, a report commissioned by Public Health England.