Is Vaping Safe?
Vaping continues to grow in popularity despite recent concerns over increased use among youth and a rash of lung infections tied to the illicit sale of vape cartridges.
Meanwhile, cigarette smoking is on the decline.
Quitting smoking is one of the very best things you can do for your health, but is vaping any safer?
Here are some facts to consider:
Vaping Is Less Harmful Than Smoking, But It’s Still Not Safe
Vaping heats a mixture of nicotine extracted from tobacco, flavorings and chemical preservatives to create an aerosol to inhale.
Therein lies a main concern: there is almost no way to know exactly what chemicals you are inhaling or their impact on your pulmonary system.
Whereas we’ve had decades to research and understand the effects of smoking, vaping research is still in its infancy.
Based on research here at Honey Lake Clinic, in early 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed 60 deaths in patients with e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI).
These cases involve people who purchased black market devices or liquids, and this is especially true of vaping products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The CDC has identified vitamin E acetate as a chemical of concern among people with EVALI. Vitamin E acetate is a thickening agent often used in THC vaping products.
As such, the CDC recommends people not use THC-containing e-cigarette or vaping products.
They further recommend consumers avoid using unlicensed sources such as friends, family or online retailers to obtain vaping supplies.
Research Suggests Vaping Is Bad for Your Heart and Lungs
Nicotine is a highly addictive substance, so much so that you suffer withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop using it.
Nicotine is also toxic, raising blood pressure and adrenaline levels.
There are many unknowns where vaping is concerned, the origin, exact chemical make-up and interactions of vaping cartridges chief among them.
As mentioned, early data suggests ties to chronic lung disease, asthma, and cardiovascular disease.
E-Cigarettes Are Just as Addictive as Traditional Cigarettes
Research suggests nicotine may be as addictive as heroin and cocaine.
Many e-cigarette cartridges contain more and higher concentrates of nicotine than traditional cigarettes, and devices with temperature controls enable increased voltage to deliver still higher amounts than burning tobacco.
Vaping Is Not FDA Approved as an Aide to Quit Smoking
Although vaping devices are marketed as an aid to help you stop smoking, recent studies suggest it doesn’t work—most people who try vaping to help them stop smoking wind up smoking and vaping.
In light of all the unknowns and increased EVALI concerns, the CDC advises those considering vaping to stop smoking consider other FDA-approved options.
A Generation Is Getting Hooked on Nicotine
E-cigarettes are very popular with teens.
Their use has grown dramatically in the last five years.
Today, more high school students use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes.
The use of e-cigarettes is higher among high school students than adults.
There are three reasons why vaping is so enticing to young people—first, the misnomer than vaping is safer than smoking; second, a lower per-use cost than cigarettes; and third, flavorings and additives added to vaping cartridges resulting in bubble-gum, apple pie and other tastes.
What is most concerning about youth and vaping are surveys suggesting most young people who are vaping has not smoked prior—they’re not vaping to help them stop smoking, vaping becomes an inroad to nicotine addiction.
In youth, e-cigarette use often leads to traditional tobacco use, not away from it.