In the red corner we have real cigarettes. Weighing in at 4000 various and mostly toxic compounds, these are made not just from tobacco, but a whole host of other things. There are about 4000 different compounds in them besides just plain old tobacco. Some are “flavorings”, others are meant to keep the “cherry” lit and hot, others are “filler” and others are just stuff off the tobacco leaves. Some of these things are known carcinogens. Others are known poisons. Others, like tar, just damage your lungs.
In the blue corner we have e-cigarettes. Weighing in at just 4 chemicals, we have e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes just have nicotine, water, polyethylene glycol (aka PEG) and vegetable glycerin. Nicotine, other than being addictive, isn’t any worse for you than caffeine. There is even something called the “Smoker’s Paradox” because nicotine, on its own, actually prevents certain cancers.
Polyethylene Glycol sounds scary but it really isn’t. It’s already approved for inhalation and is found as an “inactive ingredient” in most asthma inhalers, nebulizer treatments and a whole host of other products. It’s used in eye drops, food, make up, and even baby wipes.
Vegetable glycerin is used in small quantities and is an inert ingredient that can be found in everything from injectable medications to lotion to baked goods.
E-cigarettes are better just from the “common sense” perspective simply because of what they are missing. No tar. No carcinogens. No poisons.