Vaping and Running – What You Should Know? UPDATED 2021
With more people moving away from smoking, vaping has become an alternative for people that need their nicotine kick. However, if regularly run, can vaping and running go hand in hand?
In the below sections, we look at the effects vaping has on running and how it affects cardio.
Why Do People Vape?
First of all, let’s look at why vaping has become so popular and why people vape.
According to a previous study made in 2012, more than 40% of people cited quitting smoking as the main reason for vaping. Another 21% cited social image, while the remaining 17% was about indoor use.
However, the number of people using vaping to stop smoking started to decline in 2015, with only 30% of people using vaping to stop smoking. During this time, the importance of social image started to increase (37% of people), and more people began vaping because of this.
Vaping and Running – Can They Work Together?
For people that smoke regularly, vaping can help detox the body of the harmful components found in cigarettes. But what happens if you are a runner? Can vaping and running be beneficial to performance? Or will it affect your fitness?
Although often debated, some studies have shown that after vaping, athletes were able to perform better. This improvement only happened when vaping occurred a few hours before exercise.
However, when vaping was ingested directly before a workout or a run, the results were completely different. It ended up restricting the arteries, increasing heart rate, and affecting oxygen content in the blood. Thus, affecting decreasing stamina and energy levels in the runner.
The effect it has on the lungs is still partly inconclusive and does need more research. However, several studies have indicated that vaping can harm the lungs and these results included both with and without nicotine.
So as the studies show, combining vaping and running is detrimental to your performance. If your a serious runner looking to improve your times, stay away from both nicotine and vaping. Alternatively, if you are a regular smoker, replacing smoking with vaping can be a healthier option. It may also help you perform better through the lack of cigarette smoke.
Can Vaping Affect Running?
Based on the above studies and literature online, can vaping affect running performance?
While this is somewhat inclusive for both sides of the argument, we can all agree it will be detrimental to a healthy runner that hasn’t experienced smoking or vaping before. It will end up affecting their performance but also their cardiovascular system, lungs, and energy levels.
Another argument we can agree on is the effect on the smoker that has transitioned to vaping. Once the runner has transitioned from a smoking background, they are likely to see an improved cardiovascular system.
While this may all seem relatively positive, if you runner doing large volume each week, you must be careful of your respiratory systems. This study showed that e-cigarette user’s respiratory systems are often affected and more susceptible to increased respiratory infections and delayed recovery.
Does Vaping Affect Cardio?
While vaping is still relatively new, there haven’t been many studies into the beneficial or detrimental effect of vaping on cardio.
So does this mean vaping doesn’t affect cardio? Unfortunately not, oxidation is still present, just like smoking, but at a lower level. So most likely, there would be some detrimental effect on your cardio.
One study from NIH looked into the effects of this, and what they found was less oxidation in vapers than tobacco smokers. However, it still wasn’t as low as non-smokers. Although the study did somewhat prove vaping affects performance, it also stated that more research is needed to provide adequate evidence to support this.
Many vapers have though reported increased performance in running, cycling, and swimming. However, we cannot prove this is a result of vaping alone. Often these performance increases are from people coming from a smoking background or similar.
Unfortunately, as the above study stated, it’s unknown how much vaping can affect cardio and fitness long term. Vaping hasn’t been around long enough to perform the required research. So, unfortunately, we are left with anecdotal evidence, and you must take this into account. However, what we shouldn’t ignore is the positive effect it has on a smoker’s cardio fitness when transitioning to vaping.