If you’re planning to quit smoking this new year, switching to vaping could be a good place to start.
A shocking new film demonstrates how the toxic chemicals and tar inhaled by an average smoker in just one month compare with not smoking or using an e-cigarette.
Public Health England (PHE) has released footage from an experiment to show the harm caused by smoking and how this can be avoided by switching to vaping or using another type of aid to quit.
The film is being released on social media as part of PHE’s Health Harms campaign, which encourages smokers to try to quit this January by demonstrating the damage that even a single cigarette can cause.
Research shows that close to half (44%) of smokers either wrongly believe vaping is as harmful as smoking or do not know that it poses much lower risks to health.
At least half a million smokers are expected to try to kick the habit this January and PHE is encouraging those who do to use its Personal Quit Plan to increase their chances of giving up for good.
The film features health experts Dr Lion Shahab and Dr Rosemary Leonard carrying out an experiment that visually demonstrates the high levels of cancer-causing chemicals and tar inhaled by an average smoker over a month compared with not smoking or using an e-cigarette.
The experiment mimics the effects of inhaling tobacco smoke, e-cigarette vape and normal air into the lungs, with the lungs represented by three bell jars filled with cotton wool.
Each bell jar is attached to a diaphragm pump providing a continual and equal draw of air through each bell jar – one set up to “smoke” tobacco cigarettes, another to “vape” e-cigarettes and the third used as the control with only air drawn through it.
By the end of the experiment, the cotton wool in the tobacco bell jar is brown, the inside of the bell jar is brown and the tube leading to the air pump is thick with tar.
In comparison, the cotton wool in the e-cigarette bell jar remains practically unchanged, with some water vapour on it and very slight discolouration from the colouring in the e-liquid.
The inside of the bell jar had a few droplets of water vapour, while the “control” bell jar is entirely unchanged.
PHE director of health improvement Professor John Newton said the experiment illustrates the stark contrast between the impacts of smoking and vaping.
Research estimates that, while not risk-free, vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking.
Prof Newton said: “It would be tragic if thousands of smokers who could quit with the help of an e-cigarette are being put off due to false fears about safety.
“We need to reassure smokers that switching to an e-cigarette would be much less harmful than smoking.
“This demonstration highlights the devastating harms caused by every cigarette and helps people see that vaping is likely to pose only a fraction of the risk.
“We want to encourage more smokers to try and quit completely with the help of an e-cigarette, or by using other nicotine replacement such as patches or gum, as this will significantly improve their chances of success.”