What is Vaping? Are Vapes or Heated Tobacco Safe and Cost-Effective?

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Vaping includes two main types: e-cigarettes (which produce and inhale a water vapor without harmful substances like nicotine or tar) and heated tobacco products (which use electrically heated tobacco to deliver nicotine). Both of these fall under the umbrella term of vaping.

Since Philip Morris International introduced the iQOS in 2015, vaping has gained considerable attention in the media. Many people have likely heard of vaping, but might not know exactly what it is and how it differs from traditional smoking. In this article, we'll delve into the basics of vaping.

1. Vaping Produces Water Vapor

So, what exactly is vaping? Vaping involves inhaling water vapor produced by an electronic device.

When a traditional cigarette is lit, tobacco burns, creating smoke. However, with vaping, when the power is turned on, the heating element is activated, producing water vapor instead of smoke. This means that vaping produces water vapor, which is then inhaled as if it were smoke. Essentially, the water vapor produced by vaping doesn't have the same smell as cigarette smoke. This reduces the annoyance caused by secondhand smoke to those around you and mitigates the risk of being bothered by the smell. Additionally, the vapor from vaping does not contain as much nicotine or tar as cigarette smoke. In other words, concerns about the harmful effects of these substances on health can be alleviated by switching to vaping.

2. Heat Source is Electricity

Another key difference between vaping and traditional smoking is the way they are heated. Vaping devices do not burn tobacco leaves; instead, they use electricity to produce vapor. This means you can enjoy vaping without needing a lighter. Specifically, rechargeable or battery-powered devices supply power to a heating unit, which then heats a specially made stick containing tobacco or e-liquid to produce vapor. By using an electronic device that doesn't require a flame, you also benefit from not having to worry about fires or burns.

Types of Vaping Devices

1. Heated Tobacco Products

As of June 2020, the market mainly offers four types of heated tobacco products, including the well-known iQOS. Let's take a closer look at each one.

1.1. iQOS

iQOS is a heated tobacco product sold by Philip Morris International that quickly gained popularity in Japan. It's often the first choice for cigarette users transitioning to heated, non-combustible tobacco products. Initially, when iQOS was released, it was difficult to find due to high demand, but as of February 2021, supplies have stabilized, and the sticks (heating sticks) and main units can be easily purchased from convenient stores. iQOS allows you to intake nicotine in a similar way to regular cigarettes but with less smoke or vapor emitted and less odor compared to cigarettes.

2. Vaping Devices (E-cigarettes)

Vaping devices come in a variety of shapes and sizes, often referred to as e-cigarettes or vapes. These devices work by heating a liquid (e-juice or e-liquid) to create an aerosol, which is then inhaled. The liquid typically contains nicotine, flavorings, and other additives. Here are the main types of vaping devices:

2.1. Pod Systems

Pod systems are compact, easy-to-use devices that use pre-filled or refillable pods. They are often preferred by beginners due to their simplicity and portability. These devices are typically draw-activated, meaning you just inhale from the mouthpiece to activate the heating element.

2.2. Vape Pens

Vape pens are cylindrical devices that are slightly larger than pod systems. They come with a tank (or cartridge) that holds the e-liquid and a rechargeable battery. Vape pens offer more customization options compared to pod systems, allowing users to adjust settings like wattage and airflow.

2.3. Box Mods

Box mods are larger, box-shaped devices that offer advanced features and customization options. They typically have removable batteries and allow users to adjust settings such as wattage, temperature, and coil resistance. Box mods are popular among experienced vapers who enjoy experimenting with different setups.

Safety and Health Considerations

1. Safety of Heated Tobacco Products

While heated tobacco products contain nicotine in their vapor, reports from experiments suggest that harmful substances like tar are reduced by 90% to 99% compared to cigarettes. However, these experiments have been conducted by research institutions of the companies developing them, leading to some skepticism about the reported results.

2. Safety of Vaping Devices

Vaping devices are generally considered to have a lower impact on your health and the health of those around you. They can be used as leisure smoking products or aids for quitting smoking. The purposes of using a vape are varied, such as trying to quit smoking, enjoying the refreshing and relaxing sensation of the vapor's aroma, or using it as a tool for weight loss.


In conclusion, vaping offers an alternative to traditional smoking with potentially reduced harm and a variety of options for customization and flavor. Whether you're looking to quit smoking or simply want to explore a new way to enjoy nicotine or flavors, vaping devices provide a range of options to suit different preferences.

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