Does Vaping Affect Running Performance

Does Vaping Affect Running Performance

The dangers of smoking tobacco are plainly evident and for runners, both casual and competitive, there is no question that smoking has no place in their routine. But what about vaping? Can using a vape affect your performance running? Could switching from smoking to vaping actually improve performance? To answer these questions, let’s look at what medical science has to tell us.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is not medical advice and exists for informational purposes only. No information in this article is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider such as your physician if you have any health-related questions or concerns.


What Science Says About Vaping & Running

Research has shown that switching from smoking to vaping substantially reduces health risks. One study even found that the lung function of smokers who switched improved significantly. With fewer health risks and significant improvement in lung function, it could very well be the case that switching from smoking to vaping actually improves performance, but only for smokers. However, the same could be said for quitting smoking without switching to vaping, which is likely the best course of action for any current smoker.

According to the National Health Service, vaping is not entirely risk-free and the long-term risks associated with vape use are not yet clear.

Robert H. Shmerling, MD, a rheumatologist and member of the corresponding faculty in medicine at Harvard Medical School, wrote in an article earlier this year that exactly who is at the highest risk of lung trouble from vaping and how using a vape might result in lung issues is “not entirely clear” at this time.

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Stephen R. Broderick, MD, associate director at Johns Hopkins Cardiothoracic Residency Program and associate professor of surgery, wrote in an article published on Johns Hopkins Medicine’s website that “it seems pretty clear that using e-cigarettes, or vaping, is bad for your lungs.”

How Vaping Affects Running Performance

How Vaping Affects Running Performance

While much of how vaping might affect running performance is not yet clear, what is known is that lung health is critical to running. You can think of lung health as a potentially limiting factor when running. Regardless of how strong the rest of your body is, if your lungs can’t keep up then your endurance will suffer. This means breathing harder, stopping sooner, and taking longer to recover.

If you’re doing anything as a runner that might inhibit lung function, then you’re doing yourself a disservice and your running performance may suffer as a result. This might be especially true if you are a long-distance runner or aspiring to be one, as getting winded before you reach the finish line is far from ideal.

After quitting smoking, former smokers will find that their:

– Bronchial tubes will start to relax
– The movement of fibres in their bronchial tubes will improve
– Their blood pressure and pulse will begin to normalise
– Oxygenation will improve as carbon monoxide leaves the blood and the displaced oxygen particles return to the bloodstream
– Constriction in arteries and veins will subside
– Heart function will improve
– Nerve endings damaged by smoking will begin the regeneration process
– Lung capacity may improve
– Coughing subsides
– Shortness of breath subsides

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As vaping has not been around as long as smoking, the exact impact on lung function and overall health is not yet clear. What is evident is that quitting smoking has many health benefits.



With vaping potentially damaging to lung health, the obvious conclusion may be that vaping could negatively impact running performance for non-smokers. For smokers, switching to vaping might result in enhanced performance. As for those who don’t vape or smoke, not starting is likely the best option.

If you’re a runner or aspiring to be one, protecting your lungs and the rest of your body is of the utmost concern, and it should be regardless of whether or not you harbour aspirations to run.

Rather than vape or smoke, train your mind and body (lungs included). Breathing techniques such as rhythmic breathing and diaphragmatic breathing can prove to be powerful and useful tools for improving your breathing, which can help improve your overall performance when running. So rather than inhale something that you probably shouldn’t, consider learning how to breathe while running to up your game and improve your performance.

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