One of the biggest selling points of the vape industry is that it is a better alternative to smoking and can help people quit nicotine altogether. But is vaping really as harmless as people say, and is it really a better choice than smoking?
In 2016, the number of smokers in the UK hit an all time low, with only ONS recording only 16% of people smoking cigarettes regularly. At the same time the amount of people giving up smoking hit an all time high, meaning that more and more people are making the choice to quit smoking each year.
In recent years, this decline in regular smokers has been attributed to the rise in popularity of e-cigarettes. In 2017, 47.8% of UK ex-smokers said that they have used e-cigarettes to help them stop using tobacco products and the NHS have even come to recommend e-cigarettes as a useful substitute for cigarettes with the understanding that they are less harmful.
But, as the use of vapes and e-cigarettes goes up, it’s time to wonder whether they really are as great as everyone thinks. Are they as safe as everyone thinks and do they help smokers save money?
We’re here to find out.
When it comes to the long-term health effects of smoking and vaping, it is a bit difficult to make an accurate comparison. This is because the scientific world has collected decades data about the negative, long-term effects of smoking, but vaping is only a recent trend that has taken off. This means that we have yet to see what the long-term effects are.
Two of the main and most harmful toxins that are produced by cigarettes, carbon monoxide and tar, are not found in e-cigarettes. But, like cigarettes, vaping liquids contain certain chemicals that when consumed in large quantities, have been known to cause health problems. One now banned ingredient, diacetyl, for example, has been known to cause a condition called Popcorn Lung.
However, while e-cigarettes do still contain some potentially harmful chemicals similar to those that are found in cigarettes, they are found be present in far lower levels. With fewer toxic carcinogens, vapour from an e-cigarette is also safer than cigarette smoke for those who inhale it second-hand.
While it would be ideal for vaping to be a cheaper option for those who want to quit smoking, that may not always be the case. The vast options you’re given in terms of vapes and liquids means that costs can vary extensively. In addition, the frequency with which you use your vape will directly impact the cost of your habit. Using it more often means spending more on liquid and replacement components.
While you can buy cheap vape pens and liquids, especially online, they are not always a safe option. Regulations around vaping aren’t fully realised in the UK, which means that in a flooded market you may find that some companies are not thoroughly testing their products to ensure they are safe.
When it comes to other costs incurred by these habits, insurance is one of the biggest financial commitments that are affected. For some time, insurers have not been particularly forgiving when it comes to the use of nicotine products, which includes vapes. Having a smoking or vaping habit generally greatly increases the cost of some insurance products. Buying Life Insurance as a smoker or e-cigarette user means that you might even see your premiums double in cost simply for your habit. However, attitudes do seem to be changing and while some insurers are still standing firm on their policies, others are learning to be a bit more lenient.
AIG is one of the UK insurance providers that have decided to cut vapers a bit of slack. While vapers that use liquids that contain nicotine will still get the same rate as a traditional smoker, individuals that use nicotine-free liquid and have not smoked or used a vape liquid with nicotine in it for the last 12 months can receive the same premium rates as a non-smoker.
Other insures are happy to go a step further and will offer non-smoking premiums regardless of whether you are using e-cigarettes that contain nicotine.
Insurers often aren’t very public about their opinion on vaping, which makes it difficult to know which are more likely to give you the better premiums. To learn more about insurers that don’t increase their premiums for the use of a vape, contact us today.
Head of Protection Advice at Drewberry
It’s great that e-cigarettes are helping people cut back and quit for good the deadly habit of smoking, but the reality is that it’s not just smokers that are using these alternative nicotine products.
Studies have found that people that have never smoked before are picking up vaping as a habit because it is considered to be safer. Non-smokers (i.e. individuals that have not and never had a regular smoking habit) have given a number of reasons to explain their use of e-cigarettes.
The most popular among these is that they consider e-cigarettes to be less harmful, which is technically true. Studies have revealed that on a long-term basis, vaping is ‘not as dangerous as smoking’. However, this doesn’t mean that vaping is ‘safe’, which is a common misconception and has been known to encourage people to pick up vaping for enjoyment as opposed to using it as a supplement for cigarettes.
Nicotine used in vape liquids is still addictive, there are still harmful chemicals in the vapour produced by e-cigarettes, and there is still a lot we have yet to learn about their long-term effects. While e-cigarettes may be a less harmful alternative, one shouldn’t pick up the habit of vaping thinking that they are completely harmless.
In the end, vaping may help you quit smoking, but your end goal should be to give up both entirely. Giving up nicotine products for good is the best way to properly protect your health and your wealth.
When it comes to buying insurance, quitting nicotine products altogether will insure that you get the best deal on your monthly premiums – saving you more than just what you’d spend on cigarettes or vaping.
Director at Drewberry