May 11th 2023

Unveiling the Effects of Thermal Degradation: A Comparative Analysis of Smoking and Vaping

In the world of vaping, understanding the scientific research behind thermal degradation and its impact is vital. This blog post aims to delve into the scientific literature, providing evidence-based insights into the effects of thermal degradation in smoking and vaping. By examining various research studies, we can better comprehend the potential risks and benefits associated with these practices.

Thermal Degradation in Smoking: Numerous scientific studies have explored the consequences of thermal degradation in smoking. Combustion of tobacco at high temperatures generates a myriad of harmful substances, including tar, carbon monoxide, and carcinogens. This process contributes to the development of severe health issues such as lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and respiratory problems. The following research studies highlight these risks:

  1. National Cancer Institute. (2019). Harms of Cigarette Smoking and Health Benefits of Quitting. Retrieved from

Thermal Degradation in Vaping: Vaping operates at significantly lower temperatures compared to smoking. Extensive scientific research has investigated the effects of thermal degradation in vaping and has consistently shown that vapor contains fewer harmful byproducts. While thermal degradation still occurs, the levels of toxicants produced are considerably lower than those found in cigarette smoke. These studies have also been performed using devices with older inferior technology, providing for many more inconsistencies as well as greater potential for inaccuracy specifically with regards to heat levels produced from current market-trend vaping devices. Please note the dates of the citations.  The following studies provide insights into this area:

  1. Burstyn, I. (2014). Peering through the mist: systematic review of what the chemistry of contaminants in electronic cigarettes tells us about health risks. BMC Public Health, 14(1), 18.
  2. Goniewicz, M. L., et al. (2014). Comparison of the Effects of E-Cigarette Vapor and Cigarette Smoke on Indoor Air Quality. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 17(10), 2497-2502.
  3. Hajek, P., et al. (2019). A Randomized Trial of E-Cigarettes versus Nicotine-Replacement Therapy. New England Journal of Medicine, 380(7), 629-637.

Comparative Studies: To gain a comprehensive understanding of thermal degradation effects, several comparative studies have been conducted to compare smoking and vaping. These studies have examined the chemical composition of smoke and vapor, assessed cytotoxicity, and identified harmful substances. Key findings from these comparative studies include:

  1. Farsalinos, K. E., et al. (2014). E-cigarettes generate high levels of aldehydes only in 'dry puff' conditions. Addiction, 109(11), 1874-1884.
  2. Goniewicz, M. L., et al. (2017). Comparison of Nicotine and Toxicant Exposure in Users of Electronic Cigarettes and Combustible Cigarettes. JAMA Network Open, 1(8), e185937-e185937.

Conclusion: Scientific research on the effects of thermal degradation in smoking versus vaping offers valuable insights into the potential risks and benefits associated with these practices. The literature consistently supports the notion that vaping, due to its lower temperature profile, produces significantly lower levels of harmful byproducts compared to smoking. However, ongoing research is essential to further explore the long-term effects of vaping and ensure the safety of vaping products.

Note: The scientific studies cited above are for informational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice. It is recommended to consult with healthcare professionals for personalized guidance on smoking cessation and vaping. 

Vaping as a safer alternative to smoking with regards to thermal degradation has been proven. Vaping will only continue to advance in its safety to public health as vaping technology continues to advance.