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Can switching from tobacco to vaping improve your fitness and sporting performance?

Can switching from tobacco to vaping improve your fitness and sporting performance

Vaping has exploded in popularity over the last five years as an effective means of quitting cigarettes. With the government giving the go-ahead for e-cigarettes to be prescribed on the NHS as a stop-smoking treatment, e-cigarettes have completed their journey from fad to genuine aid.

The question is, are electronic cigarettes safe?

E-cigarettes are still relatively new, and research into long-term effects is still ongoing. So when the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) granted the first licence to an e-cigarette manufacturer for its device to be prescribed to smokers, as reported by The Sun, it wasn’t concluding that there are no detrimental side-effects to be had by vaping.

What can be said with some degree of certainty is that e-cigarettes have many health benefits compared with their traditional tobacco counterparts. The NHS regulator Public Health England says that e-cigarettes are ‘95% less harmful than tobacco’. For smokers looking to improve their health and fitness, making the switch to vaping would bring noticeable advantages.

As soon as a smoker makes the switch to e-cigarettes, their lungs immediately begin to repair themselves. The tar accumulated from inhaling tobacco smoke will be expunged from the body and in just a few weeks the now former smoker will notice a greater feeling of wellbeing, mainly due to being able to breathe more deeply and endure high-energy activity for longer.

This process of rejuvenation varies according to how long a person has been smoking, but eventually healthier lung tissue will develop that goes some way to remedying the damage done from cigarettes. This will mean a person has greater aerobic capacity for exercise.

As well as the physical benefits, there is also a psychological advantage of using e-cigarettes to help stop smoking. The withdrawal symptoms many smokers experience when they cut out cigarettes are reduced when they switch to vaping. Even the thought of these withdrawal symptoms is enough to dissuade many smokers from even attempting to give up, and e-cigarettes can continue to provide wannabe quitters with a nicotine high while sidestepping the associated depression, irritability and anxiety.

This nicotine, found in the e-liquids contained in e-cigarettes as well as cigarettes, is the substance which can prove to be addictive to so many. But by removing the tobacco, which is burned to produce smoke that contains hundreds of toxins, e-cigarettes are significantly less dangerous – as that Public Health England report points out.

E-cigarettes can be a highly effective means of giving up smoking without many of the off-putting side effects. But there is still the issue of nicotine dependency. Many refillable e-cigarettes let you modify the e-liquid mixture according to preference. You can pull back the nicotine concentration of the e-liquid, eventually moving to a completely nicotine-free vaping experience. There may be links between nicotine and high blood pressure, a weakened immune system and some types of cancer. It’s by no means a completely safe drug.

But by using e-cigarettes as a means of cutting out tobacco smoking first, smokers wishing to improve their health and fitness can then focus on dialling down their nicotine intake.

This article was written by Patrick Vernon.

Patrick Vernon - LEP Fitness writer - Sheffield personal trainer - fitness blog

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