How is vaping different to smoking?

How is vaping different to smoking?

Vaping and smoking are essentially two different ways of consuming nicotine. They look similar, but there are crucial differences. It’s important to remember, that while nicotine vapes are authorised for consumption by the TGA, they are not registered medicines in Australia, and more research needs to be done on their long-term efficacy and safety. In other words, as things stand right now, no-one can legally say vaping is ‘safe’. We simply don’t know enough about it yet.

Here are some of the key differences between nicotine vaping products (NVPs) and cigarettes. 


Smoking relies on combustion – literally burning – which produces smoke. This smoke contains harmful chemicals and toxins, including tar and carbon monoxide. These toxic substances are a result of the burning process and can be seriously detrimental to your health. 

Vaping, on the other hand, does not involve combustion, so there is no smoke produced. This doesn’t make it ‘safe’ exactly, but we can say the vapour from e-cigarettes generally contains fewer harmful chemicals than cigarette smoke.


Smoking involves the combustion of tobacco, producing smoke that gets inhaled into the lungs. Vaping, on the other hand, involves heating an e-liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavourings, and other stuff like propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine. The heated e-liquid produces an aerosol (commonly referred to as ‘vapour’), which is then inhaled into the lungs.


As most people know, smoking stinks. Literally. Smoking produces a strong, distinct odour that can linger on clothing, breath, and in the surrounding environment. Vaping typically produces less noticeable odour, and the scent is often described as more pleasant and dissipates more quickly. This is obviously a bit subjective, but most vapers enjoy the odour-free upside of vaping.  

Nicotine Delivery

Both smoking and vaping can deliver nicotine to the user. However, the nicotine delivery in vaping can be more customisable, as e-liquids come in various nicotine strengths, allowing users to choose the desired concentration. This is useful for smoking cessation, as it can create a stepped nicotine approach, similar to patches. Smoking cigarettes generally delivers a consistent amount of nicotine with each puff, so it’s much harder to control your nicotine intake. 


The regulations surrounding smoking and vaping can vary depending on the jurisdiction. We’ve gone into more detail on Australia’s vaping regulatory framework over here. Smoking tobacco products is heavily regulated in many countries due to its known health risks. Vaping regulations also exist in many places and typically involve age restrictions, marketing restrictions, product labelling requirements. The big thing to remember is that it’s illegal to purchase nicotine vapes in Australia without a prescription from a licenced pharmacy, like My Duke. 

Health Risks

While smoking is widely recognized as a major health risk and is linked to numerous adverse health effects, including lung cancer, heart disease, and respiratory issues, the long-term health effects of vaping are still being studied. While vaping is generally considered less harmful than smoking, it’s definitely not without risks. Some potential concerns include lung irritation, respiratory issues and nicotine addiction.

It's important to note that both smoking and vaping carry health risks, and quitting or avoiding both practices altogether is the best way to promote overall health. If you are a smoker or considering vaping, it's advisable to consult healthcare professionals for personalised advice and support.

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