How Does Vaping Impact Your Workout?


Now more than ever – especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 epidemic – we are giving our health and fitness more importance. However, regardless of how motivated you are to exercise or whatever exercise type you prefer, all exercise requires a good flow of oxygen circulating around the body.

It is common knowledge that breathing properly is a crucial component in distributing oxygen, and anything that hinders this capacity will eventually impair your performance when it comes to physical activity.

Inhaling anything other than the air we are designed to breathe will always work against us while trying to function at our best. It is now commonly acknowledged that smoking has a detrimental effect on our physical capabilities. But does the same hold true for exercising and vaping?

Despite Public Health England’s famous 2015 research that deemed e-cigarettes to be 95% less dangerous than smoking, the debate on vaping’s potential risks for people who undertake exercise rages on. Here, we examine the effects of smoking and vaping on the body while exercising. You can learn more about how smoking and vaping generally affect the body in our article “Finding the Right Alternative”.


Smoking and vaping impact our physical performance in distinct ways, although not to the same extent. Because nicotine plays a major factor in several of the symptoms we are discussing and is provided by both smoking and vaping, the effects are comparable in some ways. But in other aspects, the distinction is fairly significant.

Blood Pressure and Heart Rate

Smoking and vaping both affect blood pressure and heart rate. Despite the added risks associated with smoking, vaping still administers nicotine, which has an influence on both blood pressure and heart rate. Exercise lovers who vape should be careful not to overdo nicotine intake before, during or after a workout, and take into account that different e-liquid types can offer nicotine levels exceeding that of a conventional cigarette, such as nic salts.

Our blood pressure and heart rates rise as we exercise to help our bodies adapt to the demands of physical effort. This rise can be significant under intense conditions like competitions, endurance activities, or even just a very demanding workout.

Learn more about nicotine, a stimulant, in our Nicotine and Health guide. As the name implies, stimulants stimulate our bodies; in the case of nicotine, this means that they cause a sharp rise in blood pressure and heart rate.

When used in conjunction with vigorous activity, nicotine can raise blood pressure and heart rate to dangerous levels, perhaps even resulting in a heart attack.

The more nicotine you take in, the more your blood pressure and heart rate increase. In this manner, any activity will have a negative impact on your performance and, if frequently paired with intensive exercise, might threaten your health.

It is important to keep in mind, though, that the additional dangerous chemicals absorbed from cigarette smoke also contribute to a persistent rise in heart rate and blood pressure by hardening blood vessel walls and clogging arteries, which makes your heart beat harder to make up for it. While both vaping and smoking increase your heart rate and blood pressure, vaping has a lesser risk overall since cigarette smoke has more dangerous chemicals.

Lung Function and Blood Oxygen Levels

Smoking tobacco is massively detrimental to lungs, as it impairs blood oxygen levels, which can then affect how well you can exercise and recover.

When you smoke cigarettes, the carbon monoxide you breathe in replaces the oxygen in your blood. Because of this, as well as arterial narrowing and hardening, your red blood cells will not be able to function correctly or provide enough oxygen to your muscles.

Tar and other chemicals in cigarette smoke cover your lungs, decreasing their flexibility and harming the alveoli (air sacs), which limits how much oxygen your body can absorb and lowers your performance.

Comparatively speaking, vaping does not release tar to coat your lungs or replace the oxygen in your blood with carbon monoxide. Vaping has a far less negative impact on your performance than smoking cigarettes, but it will not increase it in any way.

Appetite and Nutrition

Nicotine is a naturally occurring appetite suppressor. When it comes to exercising, this might be a double-edged sword. Again, because both smoking and vaping supply nicotine, either method may put you at odds with your fitness goals. The sole difference between the two in this scenario is the absence of other hazardous chemicals in e-cig vapour, in contrast to the hundreds contained in cigarette smoke, yet nicotine has the greatest influence on hunger.

If you are a weightlifter looking to bulk up and grow muscle, reaching ever-increasing calorie targets is essential to adequately support the muscular development desired by resistance exercise. Nicotine consumption before or after a workout may prevent you from feeling hungry enough to consume those calories, limiting your gains.

If you are trying to lose weight, nicotine’s appetite suppression might be viewed as a possible benefit, assisting you in controlling excessive food cravings. In this scenario, vaping is a better alternative because it does not introduce the toxic compounds contained in cigarette smoke along with nicotine. Just make sure you are getting the right nutrition to power your exercises and that you are not skipping meals in favour of vaping.

Take note: if you are vaping as part of a nicotine-free journey and trying to lose weight, be cautious as you reduce your nicotine consumption. A sudden increase in hunger might disrupt your diet and lead to unexpected weight gain. Make modest adjustments to your lifestyle and always consult with a healthcare expert before making any radical moves.


If you want to be a professional athlete, you should probably avoid all forms of nicotine, including smoking and vaping. For the rest of us who prefer a more consistent training schedule, smoking has significantly more evidence against it than vaping.

The problem with reaching a firm decision on this topic is that data regarding vaping’s influence on exercise, whether positive or negative, is scant due to the fact that comparably little research has been done on this topic.

Nonetheless, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence indicating that some people have observed a benefit from being a vaper and exercising instead of smoking, such as these Reddit users’ comments:

“I do intense aerobics classes and have noticed the following: 1) I don’t get winded as quickly as I did when I smoked, 2) I don’t cough upon breathing hard, 3) I don’t have wet tobacco stench leaking from my pores and hair. Win.”

“I work out every day, I used to smoke every day. Switching to vaping, my run times have decreased, my overall performance is better.”

“I play racquetball and although vaping beforehand does hinder me a very slight amount, it’s not nearly as bad as the amount analogs (non-electronic cigarettes) did.”

While these accounts are positive in terms of vaping and exercise, it is still not a unanimous belief:

“As an avid exerciser and frequent vaper, the only thing that I find hindered in my daily routine is the cardio. I do find that my lungs are slightly more agitated on days that I vape as opposed to days when I have not. The more you exercise, the less you begin to notice these effects. You will slow your build up cardio endurance slower if you vape as opposed to if you were not.”

It is worth noting that if someone claims to have experienced a significant increase in their physical capacity to exercise after switching from tobacco to vaping, the majority of that improvement is most likely due to the lack of tar and other toxic substances in their system.

Until additional scientific proof is presented to settle the debate, the facts remain that: yes, you may vape and exercise, but although it will not have the same effect as smoking cigarettes, it is still more harmful than doing neither.

If you enjoy working out and are thinking about quitting smoking, browse our Switch With EDGE section to discover a suitable substitute, or come into our store to see the EDGE range.

By Ian Botterill, Head Of Digital at EDGE Vaping