Public Health England (PHE), a UK health organization that advocates for harm reduction, has released a video demonstrating the negative impact of smoking and how it can be avoided or minimized by switching to safer nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs), such as vaporizers. This video is part of PHE’s Health Harms campaign, which encourages smokers to quit smoking in January. Health experts Dr Lion Shahab and Dr Rosemary Leonard conduct an experiment that shows the significant amount of cancer-causing chemicals and tar inhaled by an average smoker in comparison to a non-smoker or a vaper.

To illustrate the contrast between smoking and vaping, the experiment involves three bell jars filled with cotton wool, which mimic lungs, and replicate the effects of inhaling tobacco smoke, e-cigarette vapor, and normal air. Each bell jar is attached to a diaphragm pump that draws in the three different kinds of air continuously and equally. The cotton wool in the tobacco bell jar turns brown, and the tube leading to the air pump becomes thick with tar. Meanwhile, the bell jar receiving e-cigarette vapor remains nearly unchanged, with some water vapor and slight discoloration from the e-liquid’s coloring. The bell jar receiving natural air remains unchanged, with the exception of some water vapor formation.

Professor John Newton, PHE’s director of health improvement, stated that this experiment clearly illustrates the stark contrast between the impacts of smoking and vaping. He added that it is tragic if thousands of smokers who could quit with the help of an e-cigarette are being put off by false fears about safety. Research has shown that 44% of smokers either wrongly believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking or do not know that it poses lower health risks. PHE is aware that at least half a million smokers will attempt to quit smoking in January, and it urges them to use its Personal Quit Plan to increase their chances of success.