Don't mix vaping and smoking if you're worried about health

If you're a cigarette smoker who is considering a transition to vaping in an effort to decrease your health risks and wean yourself off the habit, be careful how you proceed. A new study has found that while vaping may be less harmful to your long-term health compared to ordinary cigarettes, combining them with tobacco isn't doing you any favors.

Electronic cigarettes are small gadgets that use a battery to heat a coil, aerosolizing a solution of vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, nicotine, and possibly flavorings like menthol. Cigarettes, of course, are the ancient, more primitive alternative: burning paper and tobacco leaves.

When it comes to one's health, neither smoking nor vaping is safe — but vaping may ultimately be less harmful than smoking, and some advocate the habit as a sort of stepping stone to wean off cigarettes, then slowly taper down one's nicotine dependency.

Some smokers struggle to make a full transition from cigarettes to vapes, however, and may indulge in both; others may smoke cigarettes on occasion but vape at other times to avoid cold weather or get their nicotine fix indoors. This practice may be just as harmful as smoking nothing but tobacco cigarettes, according to the new study.

The research was published by the American Heart Association's Circulation journal; it details an analysis of data on more than 7100 adults in the US. Using that information, the researchers found that of the participants, around 10-percent used electronic cigarettes and smoked traditional cigarettes together.

While those who only use electronic cigarettes had similar oxidative stress and biomarkers as people who didn't smoke or vape, the participants who used both cigarettes and vapes had similar marker results as people who exclusively smoked. The findings indicate that only partially switching to electronic cigarettes isn't likely reducing one's health risk.