Is there a ‘safer’ alternative to smoking?
Unfortunately, there isn’t. Neither smoking nor vaping is beneficial to your body. If you think you’re doing your health a favor by switching to vaping, you’re wrong.
What Are Vapes Made Of?
E-cigarettes or vaping products (sometimes called vape pens) are devices that use a battery to heat up a special liquid into an aerosol that you inhale.
The “e-juice” contains different substances, including propylene glycol, solvents, flavors, sweeteners, and other chemicals. Solvents used in vapers are either nicotine or marijuana-derived.
The “smoke” that vapes produce is made of vegetable oil or propylene glycol. It’s a clear, slightly syrup liquid that is virtually odorless and colorless when heated.
But that’s not all. Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t begun its review of any vaping products or their ingredients, the composition and effects of e-cigarettes vary.
According to studies, aside from the mentioned ingredients, many e-cigarettes contain other harmful substances, such as:
Acrolein is a herbicide that is primarily used to kill weeds. This compound is said to cause lung damage by stimulating the effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
In addition, higher exposures to acrolein can cause a build-up of fluid in the lungs, also called pulmonary edema. Permanent lung damage may also occur after a high exposure or a repeated low exposure to the chemical.
Similar to tobacco, e-cigarettes often contain chemicals known to cause cancer, such as acrolein, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde.
Exposure to these substances has been shown to increase the risk of cancer. One study shows that people who smoke have higher levels of formaldehyde in their white blood cells as compared to those who don’t smoke.
Diacetyl is a flavoring chemical that is present in many e-cigarettes sold in the United States. It’s what gives e-cigarettes fruity, candy, and dessert-like flavors which are appealing to young people.
While diacetyl is safe to ingest, it may cause permanent lung damage and scarring when inhaled.
DEG is a commonly used solvent and ingredient in many commercial products. Exposure to this chemical (either through ingestion or inhalation) has been linked with several health problems, including respiratory failure and liver toxicity.
Cadmium is considered a cancer-causing agent. Breathing high levels of cadmium can cause damage to the lungs. Meanwhile, low yet repeated exposure to it can lead to kidney disease and fragile bones over time.
Benzene is a volatile organic compound (VOC) that is found in car exhausts. Long-term exposure to this chemical can cause harmful effects on the bone marrow, leading to anemia and excessive bleeding.
Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, a dangerous and highly addictive substance that can cause heart damage.
How Does Vaping Damage Your Health?
While vaping is considered less harmful than smoking, it is still not safe. E-cigarettes heat nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals to create an aerosol that you inhale.
In February 2020, the CDC confirmed over 2,800 cases of lung injury associated with vaping (EVALI), as well as 68 deaths attributed to that condition.
The CDC identified vitamin E acetate as a chemical of concern among these people. vitamin E acetate is a thickening agent used in many vaping products.
Moreover, research from John Hopkins University revealed that vape products contain thousands of chemicals, most of which are not yet identified.
Among the compounds identified by the researchers are caffeine, three industrial chemicals, a pesticide, and two flavorings that have toxic effects and can cause respiratory irritation.
The researchers note that people who use e-cigarettes are using a product whose risks are yet to be determined and are therefore exposing themselves to chemicals with adverse side effects.
Vaping Causes Lung, Heart & Brain Damage
Inhaling nicotine or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is associated with lung disease. Vape oils consist of metals and chemicals that might be harmful to the lungs.
As such, vaping can cause a person to experience breathing difficulty, chest pain, nausea, excessive coughing, fatigue, and vomiting. In more severe cases, it can cause a person to be hospitalized.
Even worse, vaping is linked to brain damage. Studies show that nicotine can be harmful to parts of the brain that are responsible for learning, attention, mood, and impulse control.
What’s more, many e-cigarette products contain lead, which is known to cause brain damage.
Emerging data also reveals that vaping can cause chronic lung disease and asthma. According to the researchers, the odds of developing COPD may be as much as six times higher among people who use e-cigarettes and tobacco products.
E-cigarettes Are Highly Addictive
Nicotine is the primary ingredient in e-cigarettes. Similar to tobacco, it causes a person to crave a smoke and suffer withdrawal symptoms if they ignore the craving.
Aside from being highly addictive, nicotine is toxic. It raises one’s blood pressure, spikes the adrenaline, and increases the heart rate. Given that, vaping is potentially dangerous to your health just as smoking is.
Moreover, electronic cigarettes are just as addictive as tobacco since they both contain high levels of nicotine. In fact, many e-cigarette users get even more nicotine from vapes than they would from regular combustible tobacco products.
Since vapes aren’t regulated by the FDA, many products have a higher concentration of nicotine than tobacco products. What’s more, users can buy extra-strength cartridges that have higher levels of nicotine.
E-cigarettes Aren’t Smoking Cessation Tools
Although e-cigarettes are promoted as an ‘aid’ to help you quit smoking, they aren’t. A study found that people who intended to vape to kick the habit of smoking ended up continuing to use tobacco products and e-cigarettes.
If you’re planning to quit smoking, vaping is not the answer. There are much better, safer, and more effective methods to quit smoking.