It’s a well-known fact that most smokers are fully aware of the dangers they’re facing. They usually consider quitting, sooner or later.
When e-cigarettes were introduced, about 10 years ago, they became a popular alternative for those who wanted to quit. Vaping was considered a lot safer than smoking other tobacco products.
Adding to their popularity was also the fact that people could “smoke” where regular cigarettes were prohibited. The numerous flavor options like bubblegum or chocolate, on the other hand, have lured many young people to take up the habit. Vaping soon spread like fire.
Many of the side effects of vaping are still unknown, mostly because they are still being investigated. It wasn’t until recently, however, that people started to consider the dangers of vaping.
2019 marked the first documented cases of hospitalization and death associated with vaping. State officials across the U.S. are already taking the first steps into limiting the sale and use of e-cigarettes.
As addicting as regular cigarettes
One of the most common myths around vaping is that they do not cause addiction. Just like regular cigarettes, vaping products contain nicotine, which is highly addictive.
Nicotine helps to release epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, and dopamine. They are responsible for the feelings of pleasure and leave the brain craving for more. Vapers even become addicted to the act itself, just like with other tobacco products.
Researchers also note that e-cigarettes are more popular among high school students than adults. According to the leading vaping manufacturers, vaping does not lead to general smoking. However, a high percentage of the young vapers, who have never smoked regular cigarettes, are later becoming addicted cigarette smokers.
The actual dangers of vaping
While dangers of vaping are still under investigation many risks are now associated with the habit.
Inhibited brain development
The rising popularity of vaping among teens and young adults raises a high concern about brain health and development. The nicotine salts used in e-cigarettes are known to result in reduced impulse control, mood disorders, as well as difficulties in learning, concentration, and memory. This is especially the case for the young and still developing brains under 25, where vaping could result in permanent damage.
One of the factors that attracts so many teens and young adults to vaping is the variety of available flavors. And while the flavoring agents are generally classified as harmless, it is important to note that this classification is concerning injection of the agent, not inhalation. One of the common chemicals used for flavoring vapors is diacetyl, which is supposedly causing serious lung disease.
In addition, many otherwise harmless chemicals can become toxic when heated over a certain degree. This increases the dangers of vaping significantly as latest trends among youth to create a bigger vapor cloud require overheating the liquid by dripping it directly onto the heating oil.
While advertisements suggest that the users are inhaling mostly water, it is important to note that aerosols also contain benzene (which is found in car exhaust), ultra-fine particles, and heavy metals such as lead, nickel, and tin. These particles and metal are carried by the inhaled aerosols directly into the lungs.
Gum disease and tooth loss
A common side effect of vaping is bloody mouth sores, especially among young users. In addition to the gum disease and possible tooth loss, vapors also prevent the mouth from healing when such problems arise.
Nicotine and pregnancy
Young people are not the only group to which the dangers of vaping are critical. Pregnant women should not use vaping products as nicotine increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, attention disorders, and obesity. Fetal exposure to the nicotine from an e-cigarette is no less dangerous than smoking a regular tobacco product.
Severe respiratory illnesses
In the last months, the dangers of vaping are starting to emerge beyond the purely theoretical discussions. As of September 2019, there were roughly 530 documented cases of vaping-related illnesses across the U.S. The death of eight people is even considered to be a result of using vaping products.
The most common symptoms that the patients describe are shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, and even coughing up blood. Other symptoms include fever, nausea, vomiting, and chills. All patients have not shown any sign of infection. The common denominator among all is vaping.
Another dangerous trend around vaping is the application of different psychoactive substances into the vaping pen.
The most common alternative substance used by vapers is THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. These flavors are sold legally in all states where marijuana is legal. The oils, however, contain cuticle waxes which are typically burned off during regular smoking. Inhaling them causes the wax to build up in the lungs, resulting in respiratory problems.
Other drugs used with vaping devices include dimethyltryptamine (or DMT) and flakka. DMT is a powerful hallucinogen, which causes fearful agitation, nausea, and lung disorders. Flakka, on the other hand, results in paranoid psychosis and in some cases, a deadly overdose.
Unfortunately, officers cannot take the necessary measures against such added substances since the actual content of the vaping device can only be proven when tested in a laboratory.
Taking effective measures to reduce the dangers of vaping
Many state officials have already taken the first step into limiting vaping among youth by banning the selling of flavored e-cigarettes, leaving only tobacco and menthol flavors. While Michigan and New York are focused on the flavors, other states like Massachusetts are willing to enforce a temporary ban on all e-cigarettes. San Francisco, the home of one of the leading vaping products manufacturers, has voted for banning the sale of all e-cigarettes as well.
There was a time when regular cigarettes were considered fairly harmless as well. Today we have proof of the number of health issues they cause. Although the science is still a bit unclear on the dangers of vaping the negative effects are already starting to show. The only way to avoid the risk to your health is to stop vaping.
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