Vaping: What you really need to know
For some, vaping is a way to enjoy the effects of nicotine without smoking cigarettes. Many people use vaping to actually quit their smoking habit, with the belief that vaping is a healthier option. But is it? Here are some of the things you should know about vaping before you consider taking up the habit.
Is vaping safer than smoking?
E-cigarettes contain a combination of nicotine, artificial flavoring, and other chemicals. People who vape inhale on an e-cigarette and exhale water vapor created by the combustion of these chemicals. Traditional cigarettes contain thousands of toxic chemicals. E-cigarettes contain many chemicals as well, though it is not entirely clear which chemicals manufacturers put into the mixture that makes up the vaping liquid.
According to a recent study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, vaping liquids do contain hazardous metals. Lead, which is known to cause cancer and liver and lung disease, is among those metals.
While experts are still unclear on whether or not vaping is healthier than traditional cigarettes, they mostly agree that vaping itself can be hazardous. When the chemicals in an e-cigarette heat up, the combination of chemicals takes on an entirely different form and can impact the body negatively. Studies are still being conducted to determine the exact impact of heated vaping liquid, but it is safe to say that vaping can be dangerous. Users could potentially inhale ultrafine particles deep into the lung tissue or endure lung disease caused by the chemicals that make up the flavors in the vaping liquid.
Should vaping be used as a smoking cessation tool?
Many believe that vaping is an ideal tool for smoking cessation. This is primarily due to the marketing done by e-cigarette manufacturers to convey this particular message.
However, one study states that vaping is not an effective smoking cessation tool. The study shows that those who used vaping as a way to quit smoking continued to smoke the same amount of traditional cigarettes despite the use of e-cigarettes.
What are the health impacts of vaping?
The consequences of inhaling dangerous chemicals and metals in e-cigarettes are not the only health issues associated with vaping. The chemicals in e-cigarettes go deep into the lung tissue and irritate the bronchi. The irritation can cause high blood pressure, increased heart rate, and a blood-flow reduction to the heart, which restricts the arteries.
Vaping liquid can also result in mouth inflammation and gum disease and vapers can develop a “smoker’s cough,” which is a dry, hacking cough, due to lung inflammation. In addition, the act of vaping may have a role in destroying important cells in the body that work to heal wounds.
People who vape also inhale large amounts of nicotine, which has a variety of negative impacts on health in addition to addiction. Nicotine exposure in the brain — particularly in developing adolescent brains — can cause issues with impulse control, attention deficits, and learning disabilities.
What is the bottom line?
Experts are still conducting studies to discover the full effects of e-cigarettes and vaping. Vaping has become a particularly dangerous habit for youth. Younger people are attracted to vaping for a variety of reasons, from the ease of obtaining e-cigarettes to its liquid with appealing flavors and scents. There is also the issue of peer pressure and social media influence.
The bottom line is that vaping is bad for your health for several reasons. While the full impact of vaping is still unknown, the information currently available is enough to be able to make an informed decision.
The best choice is to avoid vaping altogether. If you smoke traditional cigarettes and you want an effective smoking cessation option, you should visit your physician to learn about healthier alternatives. You could also check with your place of employment’s human resources department — many employers offer smoking cessation tools to promote a smoke-free environment.