Effects of Switching from Smoking to Vaping
Posted on 4 September 2015 by Matt Brown.
We’ve talked before about some of the benefits of switching from smoking to vaping. Electronic cigarettes can save you money and have recently been found to be at least 95% safer than tobacco. But, there are other effects of switching to vaping that you may not be aware of.
You may already be familiar with a series of milestones associated with quitting smoking. What you may not know is that many, if not all, of these milestones are also achievable by switching to e-cigs. We’ve prepared a handy timeline which charts some of the short-term effects of quitting tobacco in favour of vaping.
20 minutes after having your last cigarette, your heart rate and blood pressure will begin to decrease. While it’s true that the physiological effects of nicotine on the body include increased heart rate and blood pressure (much like caffeine), many vapers choose to use nicotine-free e-liquids (0mg).
While smoking tobacco, you are inhaling large amounts of carbon monoxide (CO). As CO has a much easier time binding to our blood cells, this causes an additional strain on the heart. CO is thought to be a major factor in the development of cardiovascular diseases among smokers.
As e-cigarettes do not produce carbon monoxide, the risk associated with it is no longer a factor. 12 hours after your last tobacco cigarette, levels of CO in the body begin to drop.
After around 48 hours, carbon monoxide is eliminated from the body, with levels dropping to that of a non-smoker. Oxygen levels in the blood have improved, as oxygen molecules are no longer fighting with CO molecules for blood cells to bind with. The lungs begin to clear the mucus and other debris which has built up as result of smoking.
Your breathing will begin to improve, with improved oxygen levels resulting in more energy. As more mucus and debris is cleared, breathing will continue to improve even further.
Your sense of smell will begin to return to normal as the olfactory nerves in your nose heal. As the senses of smell and taste are so closely linked, you may find that food begins to taste better as well. The senses of smell and taste will continue to improve further the more time passes after having your last cigarette.
After your first week away from tobacco, most people will have gotten past any residual withdrawal symptoms (particularly if you continue to vape with nicotine). Your sense of smell and taste may already show signs of improvement, your breathing has most likely begun to ease. Beyond this, you can expect to experience many other benefits.
The tiny-hair like bristles which clean the lungs (silia) which help to clear the mucus, tar and debris from the lining of the lungs, begin to heal and regrow. These are damaged due to exposure to cigarette smoke, a risk not found with e-cigarettes.
Speaking of tar, the yellow staining of your teeth, tongue and fingers will come to a halt. With no tar contained in an e-cig, stains will gradually fade over time (though there are a variety of techniques which can be employed to help speed this process up).
While there is still an absence of long-term studies on the health effects of vaping, we already know that quitting smoking has long-term health benefits. After 5 years, for instance, the risk of heart attacks falls to around half compared to someone who still smokes. After 10 years, the risk of a heart attack falls to that of someone who has never smoked, while the risk of developing lung cancer is around half that of someone who has never smoked.
We know that e-cigs contain none of the harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke. E-cigs don’t contain carbon monoxide, tar, or any of things we know are responsible for the many smoking related illnesses. So, it seems reasonable to expect similar long-term health benefits among vapers.