Vaping and blood sugar


How much sugar is in a 60ml bottle of vaping juice?

None whatsoever. Ejuice contains propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine, and flavoring. If there are any sweeteners in the flavoring, they are in the form of Sucralose or ethyl maltol. Stevia, monk fruit extract, and erythritol can also be used as a sweetener but these are more of a niche thing in the DIY community, not something really used in commercial ejuice. Cane sugar or corn syrup would just burn and ruin the coil. Sucralose does not crystallize and burn at the same temperatures as sugar but be aware any sweeteners will gunk up your coils faster than flavors that aren’t as sweet or ejuice that has no added sweetener at all.

Most commercial ejuice contains sweetener, some premium brands and most tobaccos do not but I haven’t bought any juice in so long I’m not sure what’s out there anymore. I started DIYing all of my ejuice not long after I started primarily because I am not a fan of sweetener or the taste of Sucralose in general. It will not likely be listed on the bottle if that particular brand uses added sweetener or only those that exist in the flavorings themselves in their recipes. You’ll be able to tell if the flavor is very sweet and your coils don’t last very long compared to other flavors. If you don’t want to vape anything with sweeteners your best route is DIY.

Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, have become a popular alternative to cigarettes.

Currently, most e-cigarettes work by heating up a liquid, commonly referred to as e-liquid, which causes the liquid to form a mist which can be inhaled in a similar way to smoking.

Whilst most e-liquids contain nicotine, the other damaging contents found in conventional cigarettes are either not found or are present in much, much smaller quantities.

What do e-cigarettes contain?

Most e-cigarettes contain a liquid, known as e-liquid or e-juice, that contains a mixture of the following:

  • Water
  • Propylene Glycol (PG)
  • Vegetable Glycerin (VG)
  • Flavouring
  • Nicotine

Different strengths of nicotine are available. The best way to assess the strength is by looking at the concentration which is expressed as milligrams of nicotine per millilitre of liquid (mg/ml), or a percentage.

The table below gives you a guide to the strength.

Strength mg/ml %
Nicotine free 0 mg/ml 0%
Low 8 mg/ml 0.8%
Medium 12 mg/ml 1.2%
Medium high 18 mg/ml 1.8%
High 24 mg/ml 2.4%
Highest 36 mg/ml 3.6%

Are electronic cigarettes safer than normal cigarettes?

Whilst the safety of e-cigarettes is yet to be well established, they are widely regarded as a safer option compared with cigarettes with the NHS stating that e-cigarettes are “certainly the lesser of two evils”.

The smoke of conventional cigarettes contains many more dangerous substances, many of which can lead to cancer, including tar, benzene, cadmium and arsenic.

A review by the United States’ Food and Drug Administration found e-liquids to contain trace levels of cancer causing compounds, such as nitrosamines and formaldehyde, but at a level of about a thousand times lower than cigarettes.

Nicotine, which is common to both e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes, increases the risk of narrowing of the arteries and is also very addictive.

Do e-cigarettes affect blood glucose levels?

There has yet to be any strong clinical studies on the effect of e-cigarettes on blood sugar levels of people with diabetes.

Research by Clair et al in 2011 showed that higher nicotine levels are associated with slightly increased HbA1c levels in people without diabetes.

Whilst the increase in HbA1c was not great (less than 1 mmol/mol), long term use of either cigarettes or e-cigarettes in diabetes could contribute to a higher HbA1c

Can e-cigarettes help with quitting smoking?

The results of a 2014 study by Polosa et al showed that 6 months of use of electronic cigarettes helped a significant number of participants to either reduce the number of cigarettes they smoked or abstain from smoking. 36% of participants had abstained from smoking after 24 weeks.

The different strengths of nicotine, that e-liquids are available at, can help people to with ‘stepping down’ their nicotine intake. For example, someone starting off on 24mg e-juice can gradually step down to lower strengths over a number of months.


  • Analog (analogue) cigarette – a standard non-electronic cigarette
  • E-liquid – also referred to as e-juice, juice or smoke juice
  • Throat hit – the feeling when the vapour hits the throat
  • Vaping – the act of using an e-cigarette

Dessert flavored e-liquids have grown in popularity over the past years, and the use of sweeteners has skyrocketed. Complex flavor combinations like apple strudel with vanilla bean ice cream are no longer impossible to pull off. But how’s the extra sugar effecting the way you vape?

Before we get started, let me start off by saying, that I have nothing against sugary liquids. In fact, I believe they’re perfectly fine. With that being said, I’ve got a bone to pick with OVERLY SUGARY e-liquids. And trust me when I say, there’s a big difference.

Mixing a batch of __ (enter favorite dessert) is not easy, in fact they can be a bit of a challenge. However, there’s one thing that will not increase the level of taste: the addition of more sugar! Yet, companies across the vape industry continue to use abhorrently high levels of sweetener in their liquids. It’s a nasty trend in the wrong direction, and one that can be reversed.

So what does vaping an overly sugary liquid mean for you?

Coil Gunk

Too much sweetener can create a bad situation for your coils and coil heads. The excess sugar tends to crystallize after it has been heated, and hardens filling in the cracks and spaces between coil materials. This can create a bad burnt sugar taste, and decrease the longevity of your expensive coils. If you’re not cleaning your coils on a frequent basis, this can spell disaster!

Cotton Degradation

The fluffy cotton material used for wicking coils is pretty tough. However, vaping a sugary liquid non-stop caused the cotton fibers to break down quicker than they should. Your wicking material should last a long time under normal conditions, but add some excess sugar, and that time is drastically reduced. The fiber/cotton blends used in most coil heads will experience the same decrease in longevity.


An increase in flavor is likely not associated with more sugar. While it may seem like adding more sugar would increase the level of authenticity of said dessert flavor, it does nothing of the sort. Think of it like this: you add sugar your coffee until it has reached a liking. Then you add some more, increasing the sweetness. Keep adding to your cup until you’ve mixed a 50% coffee 50% sugar blend, and there will likely be a lot of undissolved sugar in the bottom of your cup. You can’t taste the raw sugar at the bottom while you’re drinking your coffee can you? Eventually you will reach a point where your taste buds can no longer tell the difference at all.

Now throw those gunked up coils and rapidly degrading cotton into the mix. And you’ve successfully set your taste buds up for a failure.


Hype liquids are the biggest offenders here. You know, all those e-juice companies creating liquids in super small batches, available at specific times, mostly through social media. They’re adding syrups to their liquids at an alarming rate, and the taste is not getting any better. In fact, I can honestly say that there’s not a single hype juice on my favorite vape flavors list.

So if you’re looking to replace your coils more often, and wick your builds with new cotton on a more frequent basis, then overly sugary liquid is definitely for you! And by all means, if super sweet liquids are your thing, be my guest. But if you’re looking for clean vape juice flavors, and would really prefer to have your coils and cotton last as long as possible, stay away from the ‘pancake syrup’ flavors!

Like what you just read? Consider clicking one of the affiliate links in this post or using the Vape Deals page on the site to make your next purchase. You get the chance to buy products (at a discount) from great companies, and we get a small commission when you use these links — which helps keep the lights on and pay for more great content. It’s a win-win!

Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) or vaping is increasing worldwide. Their use is highly controversial from a scientific, political, financial, and psychological perspective. Louise Johnson examines these controversies.


Tobacco smoking is a global pandemic affecting an estimated 1,2 billion people which poses a substantial health burden and cost. With nearly six million tobacco-related deaths annually, smoking is the single most important cause of avoidable premature death in the world7.

Tobacco-related death is mainly caused by lung cancer, coronary heart disease (disease of heart vessels), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (emphysema), and stroke.

The research is clear on traditional cigarettes. Smoking can have a major impact on your diabetes risk. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that tobacco smokers are 30-40% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. In addition, people with diabetes who smoke have an increased risk of complications.

Epidemiologic studies strongly support the assertion that cigarette smoking in both men and women increases the incidence of heart attacks, fatal coronary heart disease, and death. Even low tar and smokeless tobacco have been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular events in comparison to non-smokers5.

Passive smoking with a smoke exposure about one-hundredth that of active cigarette smoking is associated with approximately 30% increase in risk of coronary artery disease compared with an 80% increase in active smokers4.

Cigarette smoking predisposes the individual to several different clinical atherosclerotic syndromes, including stable angina, acute coronary syndrome (heart attack), sudden death, and stroke. Aorta and peripheral atherosclerosis (plaque in blood vessels causing narrowing) are also increased and lead to intermittent claudication (leg pain when walking) and abdominal aortic aneurysm2.

Differences between smoking and vaping (e-cigarette)

Traditional cigarette smoking contains: nicotine but also tar; carbon monoxide; benzene; formaldehyde; lead; methanol; hydrogen; cyanide; butane; ammonia; chloroform; acetone; nitrosamines; aluminium; carbon dioxide; cadmium; arsenic; ethanol; vinyl chloride; radon; and 3 500 more chemicals and 50 more known carcinogenic substances that cause cancer.

The e-cigarette contains nicotine; propylene glycol (found in food and some medication used as a carry vehicle); glycerine, and food flavouring.

What are the effects of nicotine?

Nicotine stimulates specific receptors in the brain that produce both euphoria and a sedative effect. Individuals who have emotional dysfunction or attention deficits are more likely to start smoking and less likely to quit.

Nicotine is a sympathomimetic drug that releases catecholamine (adrenaline and noradrenaline). This causes a rise in blood pressure, heart rate and an increase in cardiac contractility. It also increases heart vessel constriction and can cause transient ischemia.

After smoking, nicotine raises blood pressure and pulse. It has a deleterious effect on insulin sensitivity in the fact that it decreases insulin sensitivity and can cause or aggravate diabetes.

It has a negative effect on the endothelial (inner lining) of the blood vessels. Increased cardiovascular effects have not been a problem when using nicotine alone and nicotine per se does not cause cancer1.

A suspected adverse effect on reproductive system causes foetal neuroteratogenesis (abnormal babies should the mother smoke or vape during pregnancy).

Though, nicotine has the beneficial effect of increasing attention, concentration, and lifting the mood. Some of these properties cause the addictiveness of nicotine3.

E-cigarette: What about the clinical evidence?

In a pilot study, it was shown for the first time that the smoking habits of smokers changed after using the e-cigarette. This study used 40 smokers that did not want to quit. The results showed significant reduction in smoking and abstinence without withdrawal symptoms.

The overall quit rate was 22%. Moreover, a 50% reduction in smoking was observed. The end results showed an overall 88% decline in the number of cigarettes smoked per day.

The only negative aspect was the initial difficulty in working the e-cigarette. It took considerable training for known smokers to manage the e-cigarette effectively to be satisfied with the results of vaping6.

This study is of significant interest since none of the participants were interested in quitting. This fact needs some more explanation.

Some of the possible answers to this question may be the following options. The e-cigarette replaces the ritual of smoking gestures, the opportunity to reduce a bad smell, to reduce the cost of smoking, and the perception of general well-being might have been responsible for their switching and quitting.

What does vaping do to blood glucose?

The nicotine in vaping can cause a raise in blood glucose due to the effect of increased insulin resistance. Diabetics using insulin may need more insulin to control blood glucose effectively and Type 2 diabetics on tablet medication may need an increase in dosage to prevent the raise in HbA1c (average three-month glucose test).

Conclusive thoughts

  • If you don’t smoke, don’t start vaping since the flavoured nicotine can be addictive.
  • If you do smoke, switch over to vaping to reduce all the other disease causing entities.
  • Remember moderation in all things.
  • An e-cigarette is a good device for quitting and more environmental friendly on people and animals than the traditional cigarette smoke.
  • More studies are still needed on long-term outcomes.
  1. BenowitzNL (2009) ‘Pharmacology of nicotine: addiction, smoking induced disease, and therapeutics.’ Ann Rev Pharmacol. Toxicol. 49 p57-71
  2. Black HR (1995) ‘ Smoking and cardiovascular disease.’ In: Laragh JH, Brenner Bm editors. Hypertension, p2621-47
  3. Gehricke JH, Loughlin SE, Whalen CK et. al. (2007) ‘Smoking to self-medicate attentional and emotional dysfunctions.’ Nicotine Tab. Res, 9 (Suppl4) S523-S536
  4. Law MR, Morris JK, Wald NJ (1997) ‘Environmental tobacco smoke exposure and ischaemic heart disease: an evaluation of the evidence.’ BMJ, 315 p973-80
  5. Negri E, Franzosi MG, La Vecchia C et. al. (1993) ‘Tar yield of cigarettes and risk of acute myocardial infarction: GISSI-EFIRM Investigators.’ BMJ ,306 p1567-70
  6. Polosa R, Caponnetto P, Morjaria JB et. al. (2011) ‘Effect of an electronic nicotine delivering device (e-cigarette) on smoking cessation and reduction: a prospective pilot study.’ BMC Public Health, 11 p786
  7. World Health Organization (WHO) (2011) ‘Tobacco fact sheet N339’ Geneve, Switzerland.

Vaping and Diabetes

Jul. 20, 2017 by Vaping Guru

Vaping and Health

Vaping can be described as an “imitation of smoking” and represents the act of inhaling and exhaling vapors from e-liquid, via a device called vaporizer. Vapors originate from active plant ingredients such as oils or waxes, flavors and other chemical substances. The effects of these substances on the human body are not investigated enough. While the overall health effect of vaping is low, there is still a debate on whether vaping can cause serious illnesses.

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder which implies the lack of a hormone called insulin secreted by the gland called pancreas. Insulin is responsible for enabling consumed sugars (glucose, fructose, lactose…) to enter the blood cells and to be transported throughout the body. Without this hormone, carbohydrates deposit on the blood vessels and obstruct the blood vessels and blood flow. It is not easy to determine what exactly causes diabetes, but the most common ones are malnutrition, obesity, lack of physical activity, tobacco smoke, some viruses or genetic factors.

E-cigarettes and gadgets contain water, flavorings, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin and certain dose of nicotine (depending on the manufacture). Cigarettes are notorious containers of tar, arsenic, cadmium and benzene, all associated with potential cancer development.

Nicotine and Vaping

Zero nicotine vaping gadgets can be found on the market. Read more on the types of vaporizers and e-cigarettes. Most of them do contain nicotine – the most dangerous compound involved in vaping process. It is confirmed for it to increase the risk of narrowing the arteries and being addictive. A known fact among doctors is that smokers with diabetes usually have a lower blood sugar level control than non-smokers with diabetes.

According to the research performed by the American Chemical Society in 2011, nicotine is the main reason for blood sugar levels increase in smokers with diabetes. These high blood sugar levels increase the risk of serious life-threatening complications – kidney failure, cardiovascular problems which may end up with a heart attack and nerve damage.

California State Polytechnic University PhD Xiao-Chiuan Liu, exposed human blood cells to nicotine. The results of this experiment showed an increase in the level of hemoglobin A1c – a measure of the blood sugar control. With a higher nicotine dose, the level of hemoglobin A1c also rose.

A Smoker With Diabetes, or a Vaper With Diabetes?

Based on the researches performed so far, the following conclusion can be made: E-cigarettes provide nicotine, thus increase the risk of fat deposit formation. This potentially leads to blood vessels clog and diabetes.

However, for smokers with diabetes, switching to vaping may even have a positive effect. E-cigarettes can help as a quitting common cigarettes tool. Common cigarettes contain a much higher nicotine percent and an abundance of many different chemicals. Vaping can palliate and lessen diabetes symptoms and development because of a lower nicotine level intake. You can read more about vaping and smoking comparison here.

Switch One Bad Habit For Another?

Vaping is not directly connected to diabetes. The chances of vaping to cause this illness are scarce, but that doesn’t mean it can’t worsen the symptoms of diabetes in vapers. Nicotine is harmful, no matter the way it is consumed. Although e-cigarettes contain a much lower nicotine percent, they taste good, so people tend to smoke more often.

Conclusion? If you are not a smoker or a vaper, the best decision would be not to start with either of them. More about information on pros and cons of vaping can be found here. Vaping helps smokers to quit cigarettes and decrease the level of harmful substances in the body related to many illnesses like diabetes. But, there are other ways to stop smoking which do not include nicotine intake.

Sue Marshall, author of Diabetes: The Essential Guide

I’ve had lots of questions about diabetes and electronic cigarettes, but not being a medical professional I’ve always been reluctant to share my opinions.

Fortunately for us, diabetes expert and author Sue Marshall kindly agreed to answer some of our questions.

Sue Marshall has had Type 1 diabetes since 1972. Following a career in journalism, she set up Desang, an online resource for people with diabetes, and is the author of Diabetes: The Essential Guide (Need2Know books).

James: What effect does smoking cigarettes have on people who have diabetes?

Sue: If you’re diabetic and you smoke, then you are doing double jeopardy. Diabetes alone is a huge strain upon your body, your heart and circulatory system in particular. To then put smoking on top of that, with its direct affect on lungs, heart and circulatory system really is just asking for trouble.

However, a diagnosis of diabetes does not shield you from the usual addictions that the rest of society may be tempted by at some stage or another. But if you do smoke and get diagnosed with diabetes, you could use that as your start point for giving up. And if you already have diabetes, steer away from smoking. It really isn’t at all good for you.

James: Why is smoking cigarettes worse for people with diabetes than people without diabetes?

Sue: Smoking is bad for anyone, but as mentioned, the body of someone who has diabetes is already under more strain than that of a non-diabetic. Adding smoking to the mix means twice as much strain, and the potential for twice as much damage.

James: In your opinion, would people with diabetes who can’t or don’t want to quit be better off switching to electronic cigarettes?

Sue: Electronic cigarettes may sound silly, but as an alternative to smoking, they should not be dismissed out of hand. The sheer habit of smoking and the need to ‘do something with my hands’ can be mimicked with these tools. They actually look like they burn red and produce smoke, although they can feel a little bit different from your normal ciggie. You get most of the familiar feel and action, but without the damage to your body that real cigarettes promise.

A diabetic who is struggling to give up can give themselves a helping hand by at least giving one of these a go. You’ve got nothing to lose and a lot to gain. If it suits you, it can mean that you can also stop smoking tobacco cigarettes without having to have lots of conversations about it – to everyone else, it will look like you still are smoking. Meanwhile, you are showing yourself that you are not as reliant on those cancer sticks as you thought you were.

James: Would there be a difference depending on the type of Diabetes?

Sue: No matter which type of diabetes you have been diagnosed with, you should be looking at giving up smoking or switching to an alternative, and the sooner the better. While the root causes of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are different, a treatment varies from person to person, the condition is one that increases your chances of heart disease and circulation-related problems, especially in relation to foot health. If you have Type 2 specifically because of weight issues, then smoking is again the addition of an extremely negative factor in your ongoing health, or attempt to improve your health.

James: Are the sugar flavourings in electronic cigarette flavours (inhaled not ingested) likely to affect people with diabetes?

Sue: While some of the sugars in the replacement electronic cigarettes could possibly affect your blood sugars, they are in very low concentrations, so in the big picture — so long as you are not chain-smoking — they should not affect your blood sugar levels. Giving up smoking may not have a direct reflection in your diabetes control – in many ways you need to watch out for increasing the number of snacks you have when you would previously have had a cigarette. But giving up or switching to e-cigs will improve your health. Your body can rejuvenate and you will feel better for it. And if you can’t give up completely, consider using electronic cigarettes!

Do you have diabetes and use electronic cigarettes? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments!

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Does vape juice contain sugar, and does it affect diabetes?

October 24, 2019

There’s been a lot of hype about the consequences of vaping, and some claim it may affect and/or cause diabetes. We’ll try to unpack some of these concerns, and give you more in-depth information on the risks of smoking vapes versus regular cigarettes. We’ll also compare some of the advantages of vape smoking over tobacco, and give you insight into what health professionals have been saying about vapes. So, let’s start with our first, commonly-asked question:

Table of contents

  • Does Vape Juice Contain Sugar?
  • Nicotine and Diabetes
  • Nicotine and Other Chemicals in Regular Cigarettes
  • Stigmas Towards Cigarettes and Vaping
  • Vaping and Nicotine
  • Why Do People Say that Vape Juice Has Harmful Chemicals?
  • Vapes vs. Regular Cigarettes
  • Wrapping Up the Risks and Costs of Vapes

Does Vape Juice Contain Sugar?

No. Vape juice gets its sweetness and taste from flavorings and diluents. These diluents are either vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, or a mix of the two.

Vegetable glycerin is a sugar alcohol, sort of like erythritol or xylitol. Vegetable glycerin is known for giving the vapor an especially sweet flavor. In general, vegetable glycerin is used in toothpaste, granola bars, and other beauty products, often keeping their moisture intact.

Also a popular additive in foods, propylene glycol works similarly as vegetable glycerin. According to the FDA, it is safe for consumption. Propylene glycol is also considered a part of the alcohol family. It is a colorless liquid that can be used as an emulsifier or to retain moisture in food and industrial products.

Vape liquid with only propylene glycol is said to have a slightly different taste, which is less sweet than juices made with vegetable glycerin. While both of these are considered sugar alcohols, they are not sugars.

If you have heard about vaping increasing your risk of diabetes, it is not because there is sugar in vape juice. Nicotine is the culprit when increasing one’s risk of this disease. Unlike regular cigarettes, you can control your intake of nicotine while vaping.

Nicotine and Diabetes

There’s no way around it—nicotine is a drug, and it will cause harm to your body over time. You may be reading this article because you heard that vapes cause diabetes. As with any nicotine product, you could increase your risk of type 2 diabetes by vaping juice that contains nicotine.

Nicotine impairs your ability to regulate insulin, creating a state known as insulin resistance, which occurs after the chemical processes of your cells are changed or interrupted. Nicotine can give you high blood sugar. For people who already have diabetes, it can sometimes cause hypoglycemia, which is when your blood sugar levels are much lower than they should be.

Excessive smokers significantly increase their risk of type 2 diabetes. Smokers with diabetes have a harder time managing their blood sugar levels, and often they must take more insulin to do so.

For people that quit smoking, their risk of diabetes is usually the highest during their first two years without nicotine. This is partly because some people gain weight when they no longer smoke. However, this elevated risk is not permanent, and it decreases the longer the person does not use nicotine products.

If a person who already has diabetes goes off nicotine, they will have to monitor their blood glucose levels carefully, until their body is used to foregoing the drug.

Vapes have varied nicotine contents. If you are worried about your risks of type 2 diabetes, then you are better off smoking nicotine-free vape juice or e-liquids with very low nicotine content.

Nicotine and Other Chemicals in Regular Cigarettes

Nicotine is a highly addictive ingredient in cigarettes. It produces dopamine, which is the feeling of pleasure you get after smoking. Regular cigarettes contain many other chemicals or traces of chemicals (around 7,000) that are extremely harmful to your body.

Smoking tobacco doesn’t just increase your risk of diabetes. It is also a common cause of cancer as well as lung and heart disease. Many people turn to vaping because vape juice does not contain all of the harmful chemicals used in tobacco products. Nicotine is the primary reason for concern while vaping, but unlike cigarettes, vape users can adjust their nicotine intake to lower levels.

Stigmas Towards Cigarettes and Vaping

Some people may feel self-conscious smoking cigarettes because smoking has a negative stigma in some social circles. Sometimes smokers turn to vapes not only to decrease their risk of harm from tobacco, but also they think vaping has less of a stigma than regular cigarettes. However, recent criticism of vapes may undo this, as vapes are restricted from most public areas in the same way cigarettes are.

Vaping and Nicotine

Many smokers opt for vaping because they can decrease their nicotine intake over time. Vape juice is offered with different nicotine levels, from nicotine-free (0mg) to 6mg, 12 mg, 18mg, 24 mg, and 36 mg. This is measured based on how many milligrams of nicotine is present in each milliliter of vape juice.

If you are in the process of quitting tobacco cigarettes, then you will probably be best off using vape juice with mid-range nicotine content, such as 12, 18, or 24 mg. Heavy smokers can use 36 mg vape juice to get themselves through the hardest stage of quitting.

Vaping’s adjustable nicotine content makes it a better alternative to tobacco products. However, critics argue that this feature makes vaping more dangerous, because young, inexperienced smokers may opt for vape juice with extremely high nicotine content.

Many worry as vapes became more popular among high school kids, who are attracted to the variety of sweet vape juice flavors without realizing the nicotine’s negative side effects, the number of teen smokers may increase. Some young people who use vapes may not have smoked otherwise, and they take up vaping because they believe it is harmless.

That being said, vapes are a restricted product, just like alcohol or tobacco. As with any restricted product, proper use is important. Users should know and accept the risks before trying vapes because, yes, while vapes do not contain the many harmful byproducts present in tobacco, they can still contain nicotine, which is addictive and must be handled responsibly. However, vapes give you a choice over how much nicotine you inhale, if any, making this process easier.

Why Do People Say that Vape Juice Has Harmful Chemicals?

The outcry against vaping does have something to do with diethylene glycol, which has been used in certain e-liquids. Diethylene glycol is an ingredient used in antifreeze and brake fluids, as it has a low freezing point. This chemical is also present in cigarettes. Diethylene glycol is very toxic to humans, as it can damage the nervous system, as well as cause renal and pancreatic failure.

When shopping for e-liquids, you should buy high-quality brands from vendors that you trust. This chemical should not be confused with similar-sounding propylene glycol, which is the primary diluent used in vapes and is not considered harmful.

Vapes vs. Regular Cigarettes

It is still under debate whether vapes are considerably safer than regular cigarettes. For one, vapes were recently introduced to the market, and we have not had the time to observe their long-term effects.

However, we do know that the long-term effects of cigarettes include heart and lung disease, as well as various forms of cancer. The smoke produced by tobacco contains more than twenty carcinogens, including carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, benzene, hydrogen cyanide, lead, ammonia, and arsenic.

Vape juice has far fewer ingredients than tobacco cigarettes, though studies do show that their vapor contains carcinogens (carcinogens may be present went the smoke is released, even if these ingredients were not used in the original product). Their primary ingredient, nicotine, is known to have many negative side effects, including diabetes.

We do not yet know the effects of inhaling vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol, though we do know that these products are safe to ingest. It will take more time and study to be certain about the risks of vaping. Interestingly, the UK Health Council has agreed that vaping is a safer alternative to smoking tobacco, whereas American health organizations tend to be more critical.

Health professionals have not suggested that vaping is a viable method to quit smoking, so we mostly have testimonials to prove that vapes have helped people decrease their nicotine intake. Hopefully, with more research, we will have more concrete information about vaping, and maybe more support outside of vape enthusiasts.

Wrapping Up the Risks and Costs of Vapes

Hopefully, we’ve been able to clarify some of the hype around diabetes and vapes and get down into the detail about the risks of vaping. When it comes to vaping, your safest alternative is to smoke nicotine-free juice or e-liquid with low nicotine content. You will also find this to be the most cost-effective, as vape juice is usually priced by its nicotine level.

We’ve tried to demystify the ‘sweetness’ of vapes, which is not the result of sugar, but rather sugar alcohols mixed with flavorings. As nicotine is the ingredient in vapes that can affect or cause diabetes, vaping does not put you at a higher risk of diabetes than normal cigarettes. Rather, the ability to customize your nicotine intake in vaping devices may decrease your risks when it comes to diabetes.

Vaping: Should You Be Counting Those Calories?

If you’ve been trying to slim down, you might be wondering if your vaping hobby is sabotaging your weight loss efforts. After all, so many e-juices come in sinfully sweet flavors that mimic the snacks and desserts we don’t dare consume regularly. Many of us treat ourselves to flavors like doughnuts, cupcakes, gummy candies and cookies in an e-liquid form on a daily basis.

Obviously, vaping a cookie flavor doesn’t affect the body in the way that actually eating a cookie does. Still, many vapers are left wondering if e-liquid actually has any calories, and if so, what those calories are doing to their waistlines. We’re going to get into exactly how vape juice impacts your weight loss goals whether you’re using a salt-based or freebase e-juice.

Should You be Counting Calories While You Vape?

In short, no. As it turns out, e-liquid does in fact have calories. However, those calories are minimal to say the least. Each milliliter of e-liquid contains about four or five calories. If you purchase a 30ml bottle of juice, you’ll consume about 120 to 150 calories before the bottle is empty.

Now, how often you vape will determine how many calories you take in each day from your e-liquid. For example, if you vape 1mL of e-liquid a day, that’s four or five calories daily. If you go through 5mL in a day, you’re looking at 20 to 25 calories.

Now, let’s start putting things into perspective. A stalk of celery contains six calories, therefore having more than a milliliter of e-liquid. Meanwhile, the average cupcake possesses 130 or so calories. As you can see, the calories in e-liquid definitely aren’t abundant enough to make you gain weight.

Plus, keep in mind that the average person burns somewhere around 50 calories per hour while they’re sleeping. In other words, there’s really no point in counting the calories that are in vape juice.

Where Do Those Calories Go?

Another issue when it comes to counting the calories in e-liquid is that they’re not being digested. Scientists don’t really know what happens to the calories that are absorbed into the lungs. Therefore, there’s a good chance that those calories aren’t actually affecting you in the same way that the calories in food do.

Will Vaping Make Me Gain Weight?

By now, it should be clear that vaping won’t make you gain weight. In fact, many vapers have noticed that they don’t feel as tempted to indulge in sugary snacks simply because they’re vaping the flavor that they find themselves craving on a regular basis.

Additionally, nicotine is a stimulant and appetite suppressant, meaning that it’s capable of making you lose a small amount of weight if consumed on a daily basis. This is why many people gain a few pounds after quitting smoking.

Vape Away!

As you can see, you can vape away without thinking about the calories that you’re consuming while enjoying your hobby. If you’re trying to shed some weight, vaping will not interfere with your efforts.

Tobacco may be becoming less popular, but e-cigarette use (or “vaping”) is on the rise. There’s no getting around the facts: Smoking is harmful for your health. But for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, there are specific risks to be aware of—not limited to effects on blood sugar levels and potential damage to the kidneys, liver, and blood vessels.

Here’s how smoking and diabetes interact and how you can protect yourself from some serious complications.

Does smoking cause insulin resistance or diabetes?

Even if you don’t have diabetes, smoking can mess with your blood sugar levels and increase your risk of getting diabetes by 30% to 40%. In fact, a research study from 2016 found that compared to people who smoked, non-smokers generally had lower hemoglobin A1C levels (a measure of how much sugar is in your blood).

How does this happen? First, toxic chemicals from tobacco promote inflammation in your body, which can damage your cells and make them malfunction. Over time, this can cause your cells to become resistant to insulin, leading to issues with blood sugar control and increasing your risk for diabetes. Second, those same toxins can cause cells in your pancreas that make insulin (known as beta cells) to die off. Without insulin, your body can’t move sugar from your bloodstream into your cells to make energy, and your blood sugar can build up.

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What’s the harm of smoking with diabetes?

Diabetes increases your risk for complications like:

  • Heart disease (e.g., heart attack and stroke)
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney disease
  • Nerve damage
  • Vision loss
  • Foot pain and ulcers
  • Certain infections

Smoking if you have diabetes makes these complications even more likely, as smoking can cause further damage to blood vessels as well.

The cardiovascular risks of smoking are especially important to highlight. People with diabetes who smoke have been found to have higher cholesterol levels and blood pressure than people with diabetes who don’t smoke. So smoking causes even more damage to the heart and blood vessels than diabetes and high blood sugar alone. This can lead to serious problems like heart attack, stroke, and an earlier death. As such, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) strongly urges any person with diabetes that smokes to do their best to quit.

If you have diabetes, you’re probably familiar with these potential complications already. The good news is that many studies show that quitting smoking, along with managing your blood sugar levels, can significantly reduce your risk of experiencing any of these. In one study, for example, people who had diabetes and early signs of kidney disease who stopped smoking saw improvements in kidney function, blood sugar control, blood pressure, blood fat levels, and insulin resistance. These findings translated to fewer cases of blood vessel disease and nerve disease.

Is vaping really that bad?

Many people have switched from cigarettes to vaping or e-cigarettes thinking that they’re less harmful and may even help them quit smoking altogether. However, research does not show that switching to vaping helps people quit. Vaping even without nicotine may cause significant damage to your body as well. This may be due to multiple factors, including materials used in the vaping products themselves which are not well understood at this time.

How will quitting smoking affect my blood sugar levels?

Some people who smoke and have diabetes are concerned that quitting smoking will lead to high hemoglobin A1C (A1C) levels, a sign that their blood sugar levels have gone up. A review of 4 separate research studies shows that quitting smoking tends to improve blood sugar control and lower A1C levels in the long run.

That same review did note that there may be a temporary rise in A1C following quitting, lasting 1 to 3 years depending on how heavily you used to smoke. After 10 years, though, people who quit had the same A1C levels as people who had never smoked, meaning that A1C levels had lowered over those years.

How can I quit smoking?

Quitting smoking can take several attempts and a lot of self-motivation, which is why it’s important to work with experienced counselors and healthcare providers and to keep trying. What works will depend on your own individual situation, but some ways that have been shown to work include:

  • Going “cold turkey” and quitting all at once.
  • Smoking less and less over time by setting a limit to how many cigarettes you smoke per day and per week.
  • Using nicotine replacement products like nicotine gum, lozenges, or patches to help replace the urge to smoke. This may be helpful if you smoke a lot every day and experience symptoms of withdrawal (such as headaches, anxiety, restlessness, irritability, and cravings) when you try to quit.
  • Using mobile apps that give you tips, inspiration, and tools to help you practice smoking cessation habits each day.
  • Asking your provider about whether a smoking cessation drug might be good for you.
  • Finding a counselor or seeking out support groups that focus on supporting people who want to quit smoking.

For more resources and help, visit They list specific resources—from healthcare providers to apps—that are tailored to people of different ages, genders, and backgrounds. If you have diabetes and are trying to quit, your provider may have other suggestions to help encourage you to quit which may be helpful.

– – –

The bottom line

Smoking is especially risky for people with diabetes, as complications of diabetes become more likely the more you smoke. To prevent these complications, quitting smoking is a good start. Not only will it help improve your blood sugar control long term, but you’ll reduce your risk of other problems as well, including lung disease and cancer that can happen to anyone who smokes (regardless of whether they have diabetes). Even if you’ve smoked for a long time or have tried to quit before, it’s never too late to seek out resources. Support groups, apps, and treatments are becoming more readily available than ever before.

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  • As of yet there haven’t been any strong clinical studies on the effects that e-cigarettes have on blood sugar levels of people that have diabetes, however research by the Tobacco Research and Treatment Center at Harvard Medical School showed that higher nicotine levels are linked with slightly increased HbA1c levels in people that do not have diabetes.

    E-liquid can contain sugars that have the potential to raise your blood sugar levels, however they are in very low concentrations so unless you’re chain-vaping, your risk is likely to be minimal. If you’re a diabetic and a smoker, then your body is already under tremendous strain. Removing cigarettes from the equation should be of utmost importance, and many have found that e-cigarettes are a great alternative to curb those cravings, both with the nicotine it delivers and the action of inhaling and exhaling.

    We cannot recommend e-cigarettes for diabetics as we are not medical professionals, but many diabetic people have successfully used e-cigs to quit smoking. If you’re thinking about it, then first of all you should conduct your own research and form your own opinions on the matter. We’d also recommend consulting your doctor or endocrinologist so they can assess your current situation and to talk about your options. If you do start to use e-cigs, you should monitor your blood sugar levels very closely to start with to understand how it might be affecting your body; many people don’t even notice a considerable change in their blood sugar levels when vaping.

    When comparing cigarette smoke to e-cigarette vapour, there’s no doubt that the latter is the safer alternative.

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    Diabetics who quit smoking may have trouble controlling blood sugar

    (Reuters Health) – Although smoking increases the risk of diabetes and quitting has numerous health benefits, diabetics who quit may have temporary difficulty controlling their symptoms, a British study finds.

    A woman smokes outside a souvenir store in a commercial district in central Madrid January 30, 2015. REUTERS/Susana Vera

    Researchers reviewed medical records for 10,692 adult smokers with diabetes in the UK and found that smoking cessation led to an uptick in blood sugar levels that lasted three years and was not caused by weight gain.

    “We know that smoking increases the risk of developing diabetes so when people stop smoking we would expect things to immediately improve; however, we found that things get a little worse in terms of glycemic control before they get better,” lead author Dr. Deborah Lycett, of the faculty of health and life sciences at Coventry University in the U.K., said by email.

    Worldwide, nearly one in 10 adults had diabetes in 2014, and the disease will be the seventh leading cause of death by 2030, according to the World Health Organization.

    Most of these people have type 2 diabetes, which is associated with obesity and aging and happens when the body can’t properly use or make enough of the hormone insulin to convert blood sugar into energy. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to nerve damage, amputations, blindness, heart disease and strokes.

    Lycett and colleagues examined the impact of smoking cessation on diabetes symptoms by testing hemoglobin A1c, a protein in red blood cells that gets coated with sugar over time, making it a gauge of average blood sugar levels for the past two or three months. Diabetics have A1c levels of at least 6.5 percent.

    The study included more men than women, and most participants were white. At the start of the observation period in 2005, participants were 62 years old on average and had been living with diabetes for about six years. Many were taking at least one medication to lower blood sugar.

    The group included 3131 people who quit smoking and remained abstinent for at least a year. Even after adjusting for factors such as age, gender and weight, there was a significant 0.21 percent increase in A1c during the first year of cessation.

    In the long term, blood sugar levels gradually decreased. By three years, the diabetics who quit smoking had blood sugar levels similar to the people who kept smoking.

    While the researchers did account for cessation-related weight gain, it’s still possible that the initial surge in blood sugar levels might be related to added pounds or dietary changes, the researchers wrote in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.

    Establishing that cessation causes a short-term lapse in blood sugar control is unlikely to change clinical practice or recommendations to smokers, writes Amy Taylor, a tobacco researcher at the University of Bristol, in an editorial.

    Even if smoking cessation doesn’t directly cause blood sugar levels to increase, taking away cigarettes can lead to food cravings that influence blood sugar, Patricia Folan, director of the Center for Tobacco Control at North Shore University Hospital on Long Island, said by email.

    “While smoking, individuals are basically administering an appetite suppressant (nicotine) every time they smoke,” Folan, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “In heavy smokers, this can be 20 to 40 times a day.”

    To minimize the risk of blood sugar levels rising, smokers with diabetes should focus on developing healthy diet and exercise habits before they quit and then consider medications to control nicotine urges as well as blood sugar once they stop smoking, Folan said.

    “The benefits of quitting smoking dramatically outweigh any potential extra, short term risk of having higher blood sugars,” Dr. James Stein, a cardiovascular researcher at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “Smokers who quit should be careful to avoid risk factors for worsening glucose control – weight gain, diets high in sweets and carbs – and should exercise.”

    SOURCE: Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, online April 29, 2015.

    Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

    Normalization of blood sugar reduces enhanced rewarding effect of smoking

    When you think of diabetes and tobacco use in the same context, there are some clear similarities between the two – they are both prevalent, and can both be deadly. According to the World Health Organization, in 2014 there were 422 million people worldwide counted as having diabetes, with most of them diagnosed with type 2. And, in 2015, an estimated 1.6 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes. Switching gears to tobacco use, the World Health Organization reports that in 2015, over 1.1 billion people smoked tobacco. In addition, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that tobacco use causes nearly 6 million deaths per year. This number is estimated to increase to 8 million in 2030.

    The link between diabetes and smoking

    Type 2 diabetes and smoking clearly both cause serious health issues on a global scale. But did you know that they are also linked? In fact, nicotine use increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. It also increases insulin resistance, which can make diabetes worse.

    Diabetes type 1 and 2

    Diabetic patients have hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar (glucose levels) resulting from a lack of insulin. In Type 1 diabetes, patients have no insulin at all, as the insulin producing cells are destroyed by their own immune system. In the more common type 2 diabetes, patients have too little insulin and are also “insensitive” to insulin; they have a lack of action at the insulin receptors.

    Rewarding effects of nicotine

    In addition to this link between nicotine and diabetes, animal studies have also pointed to the enhanced rewarding effect of nicotine in animal models of diabetes. If these results could be translated to humans, this would indicate that smoking is even more “enjoyable” for diabetic patients.

    Recent research from the Western University of Health Sciences (Pomona, CA, USA) and the University of Texas (El Paso, TX, USA) investigated these rewarding effects of nicotine, and how they are enhanced in rat models of diabetes. In their study, they sought to find the mechanism behind this effect.

    STZ Rat model for diabetes

    The rat model for diabetes used in this study was created by a streptozotocin (STZ) treatment. The administration of this chemical induces diabetes by destroying insulin producing cells in the pancreas.

    Sex-dependent effects

    Interestingly, the researchers studied both male and female “diabetic” rats, and the effects of nicotine seem to be sex-dependent: the effects of STZ on blood glucose levels were larger in male rats.

    Study design

    This study investigated whether the rewarding effects of nicotine in these diabetic rats was caused by the direct effects of insulin or due to excessive blood glucose levels. Rats underwent a conditioned place preference (CPP) procedure to study the rewarding effects of nicotine, while receiving either insulin supplementation or a drug called dapagliflozin to increase blood glucose levels.

    Conditioned Place Preference test

    The CPP apparatus used in the study was made out of two chambers and a small start box. The flooring and the black and white patterns on the wall were different in each chamber. On the first day of the CPP procedure, each rat was placed in the start box, which closed after it left the box. Then, time spent in the two chambers during a total of 15 minutes was measured using EthoVision XT video tracking. Throughout the next six days, the rat would receive daily nicotine or saline injections and was placed in the chamber they initially did not prefer. On day eight, the same procedure as day one was repeated.

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    Nicotine conditioning

    Nicotine conditioning worked for all male rats, as they preferred the nicotine paired chamber over the other. This effect was even larger in STZ male rats. Insulin and dapagliflozin both decreased this effect.

    The effect of STZ differed for males and females, as well as the effect of nicotine on the STZ females compared to males. Female STZ mice did not experience an increased effect from nicotine in comparison to their “non-diabetic” female conspecifics. Researchers suggest that one of the explanations for this is that females are less sensitive to insulin actions in the brain. Nicotine did increase blood glucose levels in all rats.

    Mechanism behind the rewarding effects of nicotine

    This study provides proof that the enhanced rewarding effects of nicotine in diabetes, at least in rats, can be reduced by the common drugs insulin and dapagliflozin. The latter increases blood glucose levels without altering insulin levels, suggesting that the reduced rewarding effect of nicotine is not mediated by insulin alone.

    Íbias, J.; O’Dell, L.E.; Nazarian, A. (2018). Insulin dependent and independent normalization of blood glucose levels reduces the enhanced effects of nicotine in a rodent model of diabetes. Brain Behavioural Research, 351, 75-82.

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