Is vaping a healthier alternative to cigarettes?

Posted at 6:22 PM, Nov 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-09 18:30:57-05

E-Cigarette companies have only days left to meet the Food and Drug Administration's newest guidelines to deter young people from picking up the habit and keeping it out of their hands.

In the middle of the crackdown, News 5 asked the question: Is vaping a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes?

In short: that's still up in the air. 

Dr. Humberto Choi is in the pulmonary medicine department at the Cleveland Clinic. He said there has not been enough long-term research done on vaping since it's still a fairly new trend. 

Either way, he said while vaping is a healthier alternative for smokers, it's not a good idea for non-smokers to pick up the habit. 

He said five to ten puffs can be equivalent to one cigarette. 

“It depends on the puffs and how deep someone is inhaling. In the past, the electronic cigarettes had a lower level of nicotine, and nowadays they can be very high," he said. 

While it is hard to claim vaping as less dangerous, Dr. Choi said there are health risks that come with the hobby.

“Formaldehyde. That is associated with cancer. It can be found in electronic cigarettes. The problem is there are several chemicals in the liquids that are not exactly regulated," Dr. Choi said. 

There are regulated ingredients in vape juice, like propylene glycol.

It might sound unfamiliar, but the ingredient is found in a variety of snack foods, salad dressings and iced coffees. 

That is one reason Matthew Davis made the switch. 

“There’s so many unknown variables and unknown different chemicals in the cigarette," Davis said.

He started smoking at 18 and could not stand it anymore. He said his health was suffering, and he felt winded going up a flight of stairs. 

“I’m able to run up stairs. I’m able to be more active, instead of being that slump all of the time," he said. 

Davis is a customer at Groov-E-Juice in Kent. The shop makes customizable vape juices, allowing customers to get nicotine-free choices. 

“Once they put the cigarettes down, they say it all the time. The steps are no problem," said shop owner Jason Noble, who's shop is located on top of Water Street Tavern. 

The FDA prohibits shop owners from advocating vaping as a healthier alternative, but said multiple customers who have made the switch from traditional cigarettes feel better.

As for if vaping is a healthier option to traditional cigarettes, well, Dr. Choi said only time will tell.