Every Picture Tells a Story: Smoking vs. Vaping       

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While all uses of tobacco are bad for your health, we have maintained that vaping is both a lesser evil and a pathway to cessation. A new study looks at the effects of vaping and smoking on mitochondria, the engines of our lives.

The study looked at the expression of genes among exclusive users of e-cigarettes, smokers including dual users, and controls without any tobacco use. The dual users may muddy the waters, but you can apply as much salt as you will.

  • Both conventional and e-cigarette users showed differential gene expression than controls
  • Smokers had nearly 7.5 fold more changes in both up and down-regulation of genes than those using e-cigarettes.
  • Our mitochondria have 37 genes; e-cigarette users have alterations in 11 of those genes, smokers 32.
  • The overlap suggests that both products contain the same “stimulus” to these differential gene expressions, although the inclusion of dual users, as I mentioned, makes this finding less certain.
  • Signals to macrophages, part of our immune response, were the most impacted in vapers, mitochondrial energetics that power our lives, the most impacted in smokers.
  • For 80% of the differential gene expressions in vapers, it was dose-dependent, for smokers roughly a third.


“Lastly, we have shown accentuated transcriptomic effects in smokers relative to vapers, suggesting that smoking has greater and more pronounced adverse effects than vaping on biological systems.”


Smoking is bad, vaping a bit better, especially if it is the pathway to quitting. Never inhaling tobacco either from combustion or vaporization is best.


Source: A novel role for vaping in mitochondrial gene dysregulation and inflammation fundamental to disease development Scientific Reports DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-01965-1