In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the e-cigarette and nicotine alternative market has diversified as people fear smoking’s associations with dying from the virus. As a result, millions in America are searching for healthier alternatives to smoking cigarettes.
According to a study published by the World Health Organization, “data from 7 studies (1726 patients) found a significant association between smoking and severity of COVID-19 outcomes amongst patients.” Even before this year, more smokers transitioned from cigarettes––which contain an average of 7,000 toxins–to nicotine alternatives. Juul recently found itself in hot water as the government investigated whether the company’s product introduced more non-smokers to a nicotine rush.
Underage consumption is a chronic problem in the industry because even though e-cigarettes and products like Zyn’s nicotine pouches are safer than cigarettes or chewing tobacco, it’s still more healthy to refrain from using them. Furthermore, there’s very little regulation when it comes to nicotine alternative products, so there’s also the risk of manufacturing errors in the vape liquid.
In this article, we’ll discuss the different, healthier alternatives to smoking cigarettes. We’ll also cover the health risks associated with these alternatives, such as vaping e-liquid or hemp flower.
Is Vaping a Healthier Alternative to Smoking Cigarettes?
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, their researchers empirically associated vaping with healthier alternatives than with people who habitually smoked cigarettes. Like we mentioned in the introduction when you light a cigarette and inhale, you’re exposing yourself to at least 7,000 toxic chemicals. However, this isn’t the case with vaping.
Some people have trouble with the transition between cigarettes and vaping, but once you make switch, you’ll experience the health benefits. While we don’t know the exact chemicals produced in the vape cloud, we know it’s astronomically healthier than even 100% tobacco cigarettes.
Don’t Vape Black-Market THC Cartridges
Many dispensaries in legal states are selling cartridges filled with THC oil derived from the flower of cannabis plants. While these cartridges aren’t necessarily doing your lungs any favors, they’re healthier than breathing in combusted cannabis.
However, black market distributors buy their cartridges and packaging online and try to pass off their oil as dispensary-grade. The problem with this is that some black-market distributors use vitamin E acetate to act as a thickening agent, which helps the cartridge resemble high-quality oil that’s often thick as molasses. Vitamin E acetate is why you’re seeing people in the news with “vape lungs.”
Vitamin E acetate is strongly linked to the EVALI outbreak. Vitamin E acetate has been found in product samples tested by FDA and state laboratories and inpatient lung fluid samples tested by the CDC from geographically diverse states. Vitamin E acetate has not been found in the lung fluid of people that do not have EVALI.
Just as a side-note, by using the term EVALI the researchers are referring to a pulmonary injury associated with vaping products, most of which vaped black-market THC cartridges.
Another substance people love to smoke and vape—and which are exponentially healthier than cigarettes—is hemp flower. The effects of the flower when smoked or vape take hold in about 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Some people also enjoy edible hemp flower, which come in anything from cookies to gummies.
There are variety of options when it comes to safer alternatives to smoking cigarettes, especially in 2020. Brands like PuffBar, Juul, and Bang are much cheaper than traditional packs of cigarettes. Alternatively, you can try hemp pre rolls or other herbs such as lavender, which has inherent positives over smoking tobacco.