Vaping (also known as e-cigarettes or vaporizing devices) is on the rise. It can have serious negative impacts on your health and well-being.
The vapor from these devices doesn’t contain water but rather cancer-causing chemicals and fine particles that can damage the lungs. It also contains nicotine, which is highly addictive.
What is vaping?
Many vaping products are marketed as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes. They are often advertised with trendy flavors and sleek devices that appeal to the youth market. The truth is while e-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco, they do contain nicotine. And while nicotine isn’t a carcinogen, it still poses significant health risks to users, particularly teens.
Vaping aerosol is not water vapor – it’s a solution made from propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, or glycerol. These chemicals can have a wide range of harmful side effects, including eye irritation, dry mouth, nose, and throat, decreased sense of taste and smell, and can cause lung injury. They’re also known to cause irritation of the skin and can be toxic to infants. Adding to the danger of these chemicals, e-cigarettes can explode, cause burns, and lead to lung damage when heated.
Despite the fact that it is illegal for children under 18 to purchase e-cigarettes, many youths are accessing these devices from older friends or family members or by buying them online. Many of these e-cigarettes, unlike regulated prescription vape, are not regulated and do not disclose all of their ingredients. In addition to nicotine, e-cigarettes can contain solvents, cancerous chemicals like diacetyl, and heavy metals (like lead, cadmium, and nickel) released when the coils heat up. This contrasts with prescription vapes, which are subject to stricter controls and regulations.
Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical that can harm developing adolescent brains, lead to memory problems, and increase depression. Additionally, vaping can lead to increased use of other drugs and is associated with mental illness.
While researchers are still working to determine the long-term health impacts of vaping, they do know that it’s a gateway to more serious drug use. Many people who start vaping begin using other nicotine products, like regular cigarettes, which have been shown to have significant negative health outcomes, such as disease and early death.
Educating yourself and your child about the facts about vaping can help you prevent this unhealthy trend from becoming an addiction. If you need more information, contact your local Semper Fit Health Promotion staff at your installation’s fitness center. They are available to answer any questions and can offer tobacco cessation services as well.
How does vaping affect my health?
Vaping involves breathing in vapor that contains nicotine, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and flavorings. These chemicals are known to irritate the lungs and can cause permanent damage to lung tissue. It can also make existing lung diseases like asthma and COPD worse. Some of the short-term health effects of vaping include coughing, wheezing, and chest pain. The long-term effects are less well understood, but there is evidence of harm to the heart and lungs, and some chemicals, including diacetyl, may also harm the nervous system.
Some of the negative effects of vaping on lung health can be reversed with medical treatment. However, many of the long-term effects on the lungs can’t be fixed and can lead to serious illness, including lung disease, cancer, or death.
In addition, there is no scientific proof that vaping helps people quit smoking cigarettes or is safer than smoking. In fact, if a person has tried to quit using an e-cigarette and is still struggling with their addiction, they should seek help from a healthcare provider for tobacco cessation.
Studies have shown that nicotine can cause serious, lasting harm to the brain and physical development. This is especially true in teens, whose brains are still developing and who are at greater risk of becoming addicted to nicotine than adults. Exposing young brains to nicotine early can also rewire them to be more easily addicted to other substances into adulthood.
Research shows that e-cigarettes can contain a variety of harmful chemicals, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and heavy metals. VOCs and metals are absorbed into the lungs and can cause respiratory injury, including inflammation, which can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
In addition, a 2021 study found that flavored e-liquids can negatively affect the lungs of both current smokers and non-smokers. It was also found that e-cigarettes can lead to the formation of air holes in the lungs called blebs or popcorn lungs. These blebs can collapse, leaving a hole in the lung through which oxygen escapes. These conditions can be deadly, especially for tall, thin people who have experienced a rapid growth spurt during adolescence.
What are the risks of vaping?
Despite being less harmful than smoking, vaping is not harmless and can still cause health problems. The vapor you inhale from your device contains nicotine and chemicals that can harm your lungs and other organs. It also has tiny particles that can irritate your lungs and make it harder to breathe. This can affect your performance in sports and everyday activities, and it can even lead to lung disease or cancer.
Vaping can also cause nicotine addiction, and this is especially true if you vape high-strength, or “premium” strength, cigarettes. This is because higher-strength cigarettes have more nicotine, which can make it more difficult to quit than lower-strength cigarettes. It can also cause a range of other health problems, such as lung and heart damage, and it can increase your risk of a respiratory infection or other types of cancer.
E-cigarettes can contain a wide variety of chemicals, including acrolein, diacetyl (an additive used in some food flavoring), formaldehyde, and acrolein. These can all hurt your lungs and contribute to other health problems, such as heart disease or diabetes. Inhaling these chemicals can also irritate your eyes and sinuses.
You can also get nicotine poisoning from e-cigarettes. This can happen if you use an e-cigarette that has a malfunctioning or damaged battery. It can also happen if you inhale too much nicotine or vape for a long time. This can lead to a condition called nicotine intoxication, which causes nausea, vomiting, and seizures.
There are other risks associated with e-cigarettes, such as the possibility of a fire or explosion that can injure you or damage your property. Also, if you don’t clean your e-cigarette properly, it can collect ash and other debris and can give off harmful fumes.
In some cases, e-cigarettes can cause severe health problems like lung scarring or cryptogenic organizing pneumonia (also known as popcorn lung). These conditions can be fatal. However, there are also some studies that show that switching to vaping can help with vascular health. One study found that long-term smokers who switched to vaping were halfway to the vascular health of non-smokers within a month.
Are vaping devices safe?
The technology behind e-cigarettes is relatively new. As a result, we don’t know much about their short- or long-term health risks. But we do know they are far less harmful than cigarette smoke.
In addition, vaping devices can help some people quit smoking completely. Avoiding nicotine altogether is the best way to reduce your risk of harm.
But vaping can still be problematic for some people. Some of the chemicals released during vaporization can damage your lungs and cause other problems, such as dry coughing or irritation. There is also a risk of explosions or burns from e-cigarette devices when they are charged or used incorrectly.
We also don’t know enough about the effects of sharing vapes with other people. This can lead to viruses like the cold, flu, or mono, which may be passed on from person to person through saliva. There is also a risk of accidental inhalation of chemicals that can be found in some e-liquids, especially those that contain high concentrations of nicotine.
Another potential problem is that some people who use vapes end up progressing to using other tobacco products, such as cigarettes. This is often referred to as the ‘gateway effect.’ A study published this year found that teens who used e-cigarettes were three times more likely to start smoking actual cigarettes than those who didn’t use e-cigarettes.
However, the authors of this study pointed out that e-cigarettes aren’t designed to be used for smoking. They are not marketed as stop-smoking aids, and they don’t provide the same level of support as a patch or gum does.
Smoking rates continue to drop in New Zealand. In addition, a recent survey of high school students showed that current vaping has dropped dramatically since 2019, returning to pre-epidemic levels. This is great news for the future of our youth, but it doesn’t mean that vaping is harmless. Nicotine itself is an addictive drug, and long-term use is linked to poorer health outcomes, but it is far less harmful than the toxins in cigarette smoke. Ultimately, the best thing to do is avoid nicotine completely and stop all smoking, including vaping.