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Smoking, Heated Tobacco, and Vaping: Which is Less Harmful?


A new study conducted by the Abich Srl Laboratory in Italy sheds more light on the potential health risks posed by electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products. For the purposes of the research, a device was developed to simultaneously collect smoke emitted from each alternative method (traditional cigarettes, heated tobacco devices, and electronic cigarettes), simulating how smoke or vapor is "captured" by the lungs. This device essentially produces a specified number of "puffs," under the same conditions for each alternative, and then records the interaction of the smoke or vapor with a liquid, which absorbs the components of smoking or vaping just as the lungs do.

Specifically, for conducting the research, the device was used to simulate the consumption of 25 traditional cigarettes, taking approximately 150 puffs or vapes with breaks, just as in real life, and the same exact number of puffs from heated tobacco devices and electronic cigarettes with two different liquid flavors.

The liquid in which the smoke and vapor were trapped was used for scientific comparison among the three alternatives. The "capture" system of this device, which essentially consists of 3 controlled "artificial lungs" operated by software and connected to a single pump, was used to test electronic cigarettes, heated tobacco devices, and conventional cigarettes simultaneously.

The study on the harm caused by each of the three alternative smoking methods reached some very significant conclusions:

  • The vapor from electronic cigarettes significantly reduced the vitality of lung cells only at the maximum dose (150 puffs).
  • Smoke from heated tobacco devices showed a much lower threshold, at approximately 29 puffs.
  • Traditional cigarettes recorded the highest degree of toxicity to the lungs, as they reduced cell vitality to the same extent already at 1.5 artificial puffs.

This simply means that heated tobacco devices are shown to be 19 times less toxic than traditional cigarettes, while electronic cigarettes are 93 times less toxic. Essentially, this means that one traditional cigarette is equivalent, in terms of lung cell damage, to 19 refills for a heated tobacco device and 93 puffs of an electronic cigarette.

Electronic cigarettes are also 5 times less toxic than heated tobacco devices. It is important to emphasize that none of the three alternatives have zero toxicity, but the difference among the three is clearly significant.

Watch the video featuring 6 scientific collaborators who participated in the study discussing the conclusions drawn:



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