Which is more harmful, e-cigarette or cigarette?


The answer to this question is very certain. From the perspective of harm, e-cigarettes are obviously smaller than ordinary cigarettes. This is also an important reason why e-cigarettes were first used as a substitute for ordinary cigarettes to treat smoking addiction. The so-called "two evils" weigh the lesser. 

Then, some friends will ask why, why is electronic cigarettes less harmful than ordinary cigarettes? 

There are two major differences between e-cigarettes and ordinary cigarettes in terms of harm, namely, the difference in tobacco composition and the difference in atomization. Let's talk about it in detail today. 

1、 From the perspective of composition, the harm of electronic smoke is far less than that of ordinary smoke. 

Tar is the most harmful part of ordinary smoke. Tar refers to a layer of brown oily substance left in the cigarette holder during smoking, commonly known as cigarette oil. A very intuitive change in the process of smoking is that the color of the filter tip is gradually deepened with the smoking, and the fingers holding the smoke will also be discolored. Of course, after smoking, the teeth will be stained with a layer of dark color, and the root cause is tar.

Tar is not just a matter of color change. In fact, it is the product of incomplete combustion of organic substances under hypoxia. Therefore, it contains a lot of organic substances, many of which are carcinogens, such as benzopyrene, cadmium, arsenic β Many carcinogens such as tea, amine and nitrosamine, and cancer promoting substances such as phenol and fumaric acid. Just because of this, ordinary tobacco has become a category of carcinogens listed by the International Cancer Research Institute under the World Health Organization, that is, it is clearly carcinogenic. In addition, cigarette tar can also lead to accelerated aging of human blood vessels, leading to gradual hardening and loss of elasticity of blood vessels, leading to cardiovascular diseases. Many other diseases are often caused by tar, so the first suggestion of many disease doctors is to quit smoking.

Is the tar insoluble? The answer is basically yes. Tar is insoluble. Once someone became a tobacco academician by virtue of coke reduction, which met with a lot of opposition, including hundreds of academicians who wrote a letter to the state asking for disqualification. Yang Gonghuan, director of the China tobacco control office, said that the "harm reduction and coke reduction" method for cigarettes was a fraud with high efficiency. Many studies at home and abroad have long shown that "low tar" is not "low hazard", and the "coke reduction and harm reduction" of cigarettes is a false proposition. Any "achievements" on this basis are untenable. Moreover, the consequence of low tar is to cause users to smoke on a larger scale, and finally the harm is aggravated.

Does the electronic cigarette have tar? The answer is No. one of the biggest advantages of e-cigarettes is that they do not contain tar. Instead, safe VG (glycerin) and PG (propylene glycol) are used as substitutes. These two are common organic solvents. When you open skin care products, you can see these two ingredients, which are very safe ingredients. At least there is not enough evidence that they are harmful.


Nicotine is another important component in tobacco and is also a well-known tobacco component. Nicotine is commonly known as nicotine. Its physiological harm is not as serious as that of cigarette tar, but nicotine has a very troublesome problem, that is addiction. Nicotine can lead to addiction, which is why it is difficult for smokers to quit smoking. At this point, both electronic cigarettes and ordinary cigarettes have nicotine. However, there is a difference between the two. Because nicotine in ordinary tobacco is contained in tobacco and is the product of tobacco growth and secretion, reducing nicotine in ordinary tobacco is a very difficult task (because tobacco is a physical processing process, nicotine will not be reduced. If nicotine is reduced by chemical methods, it will inevitably lead to changes in tobacco flavor and affect tobacco sales). On the other hand, since nicotine is directly added, the proportion of nicotine can be controlled, and even 0 nicotine can be achieved.

Of course, some people will think that CCTV also mentioned that the formaldehyde of electronic cigarettes exceeded the standard on 315 this year. In fact, I wrote an objection at that time, because CCTV said that electronic cigarettes were compared with ordinary air. What if electronic cigarettes were compared with tobacco? The answer is still that ordinary smoke is bigger. In fact, the combustion of ordinary smoke will produce high concentration of formaldehyde.

In addition, the appearance of formaldehyde is mainly due to unqualified tobacco oil. Of course, at present, the national standards for e-cigarettes have not been issued, so you can only choose brands recognized by more e-cigarette enterprises when purchasing.

In addition to the above chemical components, there is another important difference between ordinary smoke and electronic smoke, that is, atomization.

Combustion vs Atomization

We know that ordinary smoke can be smoked only after burning, and the process of burning is also the process of large-scale generation of harmful substances in tobacco. As we all know, combustion is a chemical reaction process. Ordinary tobacco will produce a large amount of substances after combustion. Because the combustion of tobacco is not uniform, the temperature of different positions is very different, and the chemical reaction conditions are also diversified, so a lot of harmful substances are born, which is also the most important factor of tobacco harm.

Unlike e-cigarettes, e-cigarettes do not burn, but are simply heated and atomized. In general, the atomization temperature of e-cigarettes is controlled at 250-350 ℃, and some e-cigarettes can even realize low-temperature atomization at 220-250 ℃, which is much lower than that of ordinary tobacco at 700-800 ℃. This will greatly reduce the harm of e-cigarettes and reduce the generation of harmful substances, which is another important reason for the low harm of e-cigarettes.

In addition, the formation of particulate matter is also an important factor. In recent years, the impact of haze has made us pay more attention to environmental protection and health. We also understand that there is a substance called suspended particles, which is very harmful. For example, the most typical one is PM2.5, that is, the diameter is 2.5 μ Particles near M can enter the human body and cause serious harm, such as cardiovascular disease. The combustion of traditional tobacco will produce a large amount of solid suspended particles. The following figure shows the contribution of tobacco combustion to indoor particulate pollution. We can see that after smoking tobacco, a large amount of particles are produced, with a 10 fold increase from pm1.0 to PM10. These solid particles are absorbed into the human body and deposited in the throat, trachea, lungs and other places. They cannot be decomposed. Over the years, laryngeal cancer, trachea cancer Lung cancer and other irreversible diseases.

What about electronic cigarettes? The atomization of e-cigarette can also produce particles, but the particles are liquid particles, which will be absorbed or excluded after entering the human body. For example, the principle is commonly used in clinical atomization, and the atomized drugs will be absorbed by the human body. Not only that, the improvement of modern atomization technology makes the atomization level higher and higher. For example, Terno's atomizer can achieve 1 μ M U.M atomization, which means that the atomized flue gas does not contain particles in the range of pm1-pm10, and naturally will not cause damage to the individual by solid particles.

Of course, the atomizing material itself is also an important factor that affects the emission of harmful substances of e-cigarettes and the consumer experience of e-cigarettes. The following figure shows the development process of e-smoking technology, from fiber rope, organic cotton, stainless steel mesh to the current porous ceramic heating and other development stages.


The improvement is not only to improve the experience of e-smoke itself (left in the figure), but also to reduce the release of harmful substances of e-smoke (right in the figure). For example, the heat transfer efficiency of porous ceramics is higher, which can reduce the atomization time.

Because of this, the emergence of e-cigarettes is a substitute for ordinary cigarettes. On the one hand, it can reduce the health damage caused by tar and other harmful substances in ordinary cigarettes for those who cannot quit smoking; On the other hand, the components of e-cigarettes can be controlled. For example, the nicotine content can be continuously reduced, so as to reduce the dependence of patients on nicotine and achieve smoking cessation. So it will be used to quit smoking.