What you will find with a lot of health and fitness blogs is that the ultimate conclusion on most subjects is that as long as you are doing things in moderation, you are far more likely to succeed. But there are exceptions. I have written in the past about smoking and described it as an inevitable prevention to success because even if done in moderation, the negative impact that it has is enormous. That got me thinking about vaping. E-cigarettes are increasingly popular but what I want to know is do they prevent success in the gym?
This isn’t the sort of topic where you should look to the health and fitness community for opinion though It is the sort of topic where we need to look towards the medical community for advice. The first thing to point out is that we are still waiting on a lot of the evidence to be agreed upon. The rapid rise in their popularity increased fears that these products were coming to the market before they were properly understood and the result has been a lot of misinformation.
What we do know is that vaping is very different to smoking. E-cigarettes heat a solution of nicotine and some sort of liquid like glycerine, with a few different flavours thrown in. What you don’t get is the tar and the carbon monoxide, two of the toxins that make cigarette smoke so dangerous. That doesn’t make them perfect though. The NHS has suggested that e-cigarettes have been found to contain harmful chemicals but these are at a much lower level than in cigarettes.
The great thing about e-cigarettes is that they do help people to stop smoking. They shouldn’t just be used as an alternative to smoking with the intention of sticking with them for the rest of your life although that does appear to be more sensible than smoking for the rest of your life because, again according to the NHS, “carry a fraction of the risk of cigarettes and they can help you stop smoking”.
When I wrote about the many problems that smoking cause, I focused on the three main areas that prevent us from succeeding in the gym. These were: respiratory damage, heart problems and the availability of oxygen. What we can say with almost complete certainty is that these three areas are greatly improved by switching to vaping. E-cigarettes aren’t producing the thick smoke that we associate with tobacco and as a result our respiratory system isn’t being negatively impacted upon in the same way. Equally, the elimination of carbon monoxide inhalation massively boosts the availability of oxygen, something that is essential if you want to maximise your results. Tar is also out of the equation with e-cigarettes and this is great news for our heart and lungs.
It sounds stupid to say but the best way to avoid having to have this debate is by either not starting smoking in the first place or trying to give it up all together. Of course that is easy to say as someone who doesn’t smoke though. Clearly for a lot of people the prospect of going cold turkey just isn’t possible and e-cigarettes provide a much needed middle-ground.
All the evidence points to the fact that we just don’t have enough evidence. But if the question is are e-cigarettes less of an obstacle to success in the gym than cigarettes then the unmistakable answer is yes. Are they the perfect solution to the problem? No.