When you walk into a vape shop, the first thing you will notice is the abundance of choice. There are so many different products available, all of which claim to help you lose weight. What effect does vaping have on weight loss? Let’s take a closer look.
The Science Of Vaping
While dieting and exercise are usually recommended to shed off excess weight, there is some evidence that suggests otherwise. Thanks to recent advances in technology, we can now quantify the effects of various nutritional supplements on various processes within the body.1 One such example is the widely used green tea extract. With just 200 milligrams per day, you will see significant improvements in cholesterol levels, antioxidant capacity, and neuro-function. Similarly, a study conducted by Wake Forest University revealed that, compared to a placebo, people who participated in the trial suffered a significant reduction in their waist circumference after just three months of vaping.2 These are just a few examples of how much we can learn about the effects of certain products when used in combination with one another or as standalone treatments.
A Brief History Of Vaping
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) were originally invented in the early 20th century and were originally designed to help people quit smoking.3 However, thanks to advancements in technology and the will of the people, vaping has developed into a subculture all of its own. Today, electronic cigarettes are designed to look like the real thing…but don’t combust tobacco like traditional ones do. Instead, they use an atomizer to heat liquid nicotine into a vapor that you inhale. In recent years, as vaping has become more accessible, demand has soared. In fact, the UK Tobacco Business Group stated that they expect the e-cigarette market to skyrocket from £11.9 billion in 2017 to £19.9 billion in 2025.
Are Vaping Products Safe?
While we can’t be sure of the long-term effects of vaping, as with any new technology or food product, there are currently no known harmful effects. That being said, some people may still be allergic to the various ingredients used in electronic cigarettes, so make sure you are not allergic to any of them before trying out a new product.
Does Vaping Help With Weight Loss?
The evidence so far suggests that vaping has significant weight loss benefits. According to research, people who use vaping products see significant reductions in both their waist circumference and body mass index (BMI).4 Similar results have been observed in mice, as well as in humans, as discussed in a study published in April 2019 in the European Journal of Nutrition.5 One reason for these findings could be the compound propylene glycol in vegetable glycerin, which is commonly found in e-liquid. Propylene glycol is considered to be a food-safe compound, as it occurs naturally in plants and is found in minute quantities in milk and in the fat cells of mammals.6 Propylene glycol (often abbreviated to PG or Pg) is a common solvent or “carrier” compound in many products, including cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. While it may not be harmful in small amounts, excess intake of propylene glycol has been known to cause kidney damage in both animals and humans.7 Some research has suggested that excessive amounts of propylene glycol can accumulate in cells and interfere with their functioning, particularly those of cells in the brain.8 The amount of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and water that you would find in an e-liquid all contribute to the weight loss effects of vaping.9
The Proponents Of Vaping
Not only does vaping offer significant weight loss benefits, but there are also some prominent figures in the anti-smoking movement who advocate for the legalisation of medicinal vaping. For example, Dr Anand Upadhyay of the International Smoking Prevention Forum has said that “whereas nicotine is highly toxic, many of the compounds in e-liquids are considered to be food additives or safe compounds”.10
In February 2019, the United Kingdom’s Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) published a report in the British Medical Journal calling for e-cigarettes to be legalized and classified as a medicine.11 Similarly, the European Commission has also recommended that e-cigarettes be considered a medicine due to their demonstrated effectiveness in helping people quit smoking.12 In the United States, many physicians, scientists, and public health experts have voiced similar concerns, arguing that e-cigarettes should be treated like any other medicine due to the growing evidence supporting their efficacy in helping people lead a healthier lifestyle.
The growing popularity of vaping among people who want to lose weight is certainly cause for celebration. However, we should also be mindful of the fact that we are dealing with a relatively new and largely untested technology. The evidence so far suggests that while vaping may not be harmful, more research is needed to conclusively prove its efficacy in weight loss. As a responsible consumer, you deserve to know more about the products you are purchasing and using, so that you can make an informed choice about whether or not vaping is right for you.