This week, our Paycare Partners, Medstars, share their expert insight into the debate around vaping vs. smoking, and whether the former is really the lesser of two evils.

“A study conducted by YouGov on behalf of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) last year shows an estimated 2.9 million adults in Great Britain are using electronic cigarettes (also known as e-cigs or vapes). But is vaping worse than smoking?

What is vaping?
E-cigarettes come with a rechargeable battery and barrel where you can insert e-liquid, usually containing nicotine and flavourings, which when powered, becomes a vapour. With smoke mirroring that of a normal cigarette, vapes were designed to give smokers the nicotine hit that they need to beat their cravings. Unlike traditional cigarettes however, vapes do not contain the same harmful combination of chemicals found in tobacco smoke.

In 2017, a research conducted in a University College of London showed the quitting success rates at their highest for at least a decade, up to 19.8% for the first six months of the year1 – significantly higher than the average for the last 10 years (15.7%). Smoking…
• Is a leading cause of cancer
• Increases the risk of serious health problems such as heart attack and lung disease
• Causes nearly 100,000 people to die from smoking-related illnesses each year
• Decreases the average life expectancy by ten years, compared to a non-smoker

Like many new trends influencing public health, vaping has been the subject of intense international debate among researchers and health professionals. However, unlike the dangers of smoking cigarettes (which have been well publicised for many years) the potential health risks of vaping are still not fully known.

So what can we believe?

A study funded by Cancer Research UK which involved UCL in London and the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) in the US found that the risks of vaping paled in comparison to the carcinogenic cocktail people ingest every time they smoke a cigarette.

Vaping was found to be useful in helping smokers give up harmful tobacco and reduce their risk of contracting chronic or terminal diseases over the course of their lives. This study is considered so influential, that it is published on the NHS website.

So, should we all start vaping to quit smoking?
No, this doesn’t mean vaping is harmless. Although a vape does not contain any tobacco, it still contains nicotine which is the addictive substance found in cigarettes, and what often drives smokers to buy a packet. Research suggests that nicotine in liquid form as part of a vape, can be absorbed rapidly into the blood stream, through the skin, and cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

That said, nicotine’s biggest risk to health is as an accessory to the damaging carcinogens found in tar. On its own, nicotine does not cause cancer. Like all addictive substances, nicotine can affect an individual’s heart rate. Then again, so can caffeine, yet many people drink several cups of coffee every day without considering the health ramifications of their favourite beverage.

But remember…
The biggest problem with vaping is that the long-term effects of are unknown because it’s not been around long enough for extensive studies and research to be done. In 50 years’ time, research may reveal devastating effects of vaping, but the truth is for now we just don’t know. Lack of research not only makes it impossible to comment on the long-term effects of vaping, it also makes it difficult to argue that vaping is more dangerous than smoking. There is now an overwhelming amount of evidence proving that smoking is bad for our health compared to next to no research about vaping and health.”

Thanks again to Medstars for sharing their insight into vaping vs. smoking with our policyholders. To read the full article and learn more about the research that’s been done around vaping, please visit Medstars.

And don’t forget that with Paycare, you can access hypnotherapy as one of our professional therapies benefit, which has been successful in helping many individuals quit smoking for good (amongst other negative habits). To find out more about how it works, click here.

Medstars, one of our fantastic Paycare Partners, is a curated community of trusted health professionals.

Their free online booking platform features individual practitioner profiles, displaying expertise, prices, location, availability and patient testimonials to ensure you can make an informed decision and choose the right health professional for you.

For more information, visit