Smoking vs. Vaping: Chemicals Found in Cigarette Smoke and E-Cig Vapor

Chemicals Found In Cigarette Smoke

As you may already know, apart from a nasty smell, cigarette smoke also contains a whole cocktail of harmful, toxic and carcinogenic chemicals. However, in reality, most smokers are not aware about what really are these substances they inhale on a daily basis.

This time, we’ll take a look what exactly does cigarette smoke contain, and let’s also review the contents of e-cigarette vapor.

The Most Familiar Chemicals Found in Cigarette Smoke

Benzene – found in bug sprays

Do you know someone who enjoys spraying bug spray into their mouth? Our guess is that some of your family members, friends and colleagues do that daily, actually.

Carbon monoxide – found in car exhaust gases

If you’re a true motorhead, you might even like the smell of car exhaust gases. Although that would be quite weird, it is nothing compared to millions of people who inhale carbon monoxide every day by lighting up their cancer sticks. Carbon monoxide not only damages the ozone layer of the Earth, but, when inhaled, it causes headache, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, and, simply put, it makes the heart to do more work to supply oxygen to your body.

Arsenic – found in rat poison

When it comes to diseases, chemicals and other unfavourable conditions, rats are surprisingly resistant rodents. And now imagine: that stuff you’re inhaling while smoking a cigarette in larger quantities could effectively kill whole swarms of rats.

Ammonia – found in cleaning products

Filthy, clogged toilet, dirty shower or bathtub? There’s a solution for all of this – different cleaning products. They’re based on powerful mixes of various chemicals, including ammonia.

Tar – found in road building materials

Next time when you light a cigarette, imagine exhausted workers surfacing out a new road. There’s usually tar involved in the process – a black, thick substance. That’s what you’re inhaling in your lungs.

Butane – found in cigarette lighters

Butane, which is a flammable gas often used in lighters, can cause abnormal heart activity and an inability to breath. Think again if you really need that smoke break.

If that was not enough for you, here are some more extremely harmful and carcinogenic chemicals:

ChemicalFound in/used as
Hydrogen cyanidegas chamber poison
Acetonenail polish remover
Cyanidedeadly poison
Sulfuric acidcar batteries
preservative for dead bodies
Methoprenea pesticide
Freona refrigerant
Geranic acida fragrance
Maltitola sweetener not permitted to be used in foods in the USA
Sources: Dr. Joel Dunnington, Tobacco Almanac, Revised, May 1993.

Now, let’s take a peek into the contents of vapor coming from an e-cigarette.

Chemicals in E-Cigarette Vapor

Propylene glycol (PG)

Propylene glycol is commonly used in asthma inhalers and so-called “fog-machines” which you can find in most nightclubs and other entertainment venues. Propylene glycol is “recognized as generally safe” by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is also used as a preservative in some foods and as a solvent in various pharmaceuticals.

Vegetable glycerin (VG)

Vegetable glycerin is a completely non-toxic substance, as it is widely used as a solvent, sweetener and preservative in the food industry. You can find this substance in soap, beauty products, baked goods, candy, pasta, soups, sauces, eye drops, toothpastes and pet food. It is considered “extremely neutral” when inhaled.


Aside from PG and VG, the only other substances found in electronic cigarette vapor are flavorings. The majority of e-liquid manufacturers use food grade flavorings, which are mostly considered safe when inhaled. Although not all of these flavorings are proven to be safe for inhalation yet, e-cigarette e-liquid, when vaporized, contains a very tiny and nonessential amount of these substances.


If your e-liquid contains it, you, of course, also inhale nicotine, which, without doubt, is a harmful and very addictive alkoloid. However, e-liquids without any nicotine content are widely sold all over the world, and are quite popular in the midst of many vapers.

There’s not much of a summary to make – the afore written comparison speaks for itself. Vaping certainly is a healthier alternative to smoking, and, If you’re a smoker who has failed many times in quitting that nasty habit of yours, please take this article as another inspiration for your journey to a better life!

Feel free to share your opinion and personal experience about switching from smoking to vaping, and maybe we can help someone quit their harmful addiction and start a new, much healthier life!

The following two tabs change content below.

Martin B.

Ex-smoker, passionate vaper who loves to tell the world about the life-changing potential of vaping. Co-creator of Ecigclopedia with a background in Business & Finance. Prefers a dessert flavored vape and loves to innovate.
Exit mobile version