What Is Vaping? Everything You Need To Know
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Despite the fact that many vaporizing products typically contain roughly half of the nicotine that is contained in a cigarette, users nevertheless put themselves at risk for a number of serious health problems.
Vaping has quickly emerged as one of the most preferred methods for consuming tobacco products as well as cannabis. But as is the case with everything else, as its popularity grows, so does the amount of attention paid to the possible dangers.
A “vape,” sometimes known as an electronic cigarette, is a piece of hardware that, when heated, turns a liquid into a vapour that the user can inhale. Pens, electronic cigarettes (like JUUL), and hookahs are all examples of different sorts of vaping equipment. There are still a number of health hazards linked with vaping, despite the fact that it may appear to be a healthier alternative than smoking cigarettes. Everything that you need to know is included below.
How Does Vaping Work?
There is a wide range of variety in the form, size, and color of vaporizing devices. When a liquid is heated in a device, an aerosol is produced as a byproduct. This aerosol sometimes contains flavorings and other substances that provide the impression that vaping is less harmful than smoking, at least initially. The user draws the liquid into their lungs through a mouthpiece, where it is followed by exhalation through their mouth or nose. The liquid can carry nicotine, marijuana, or other medications.
Vaping Health and Safety Risks
Even though many of these products typically feature a liquid that contains one-third to half the nicotine that is found in a cigarette — for example, one 5% strength JUULpod is designed to replace an entire pack of cigarettes in terms of nicotine strength — vaping users are still subject to a variety of dangers to their health and safety.
According to a recent study conducted by the CDC, nicotine, a stimulant that is known to be harmful to the developing brain of adolescents (which continues to grow until approximately the age of 25), is present in many electronic cigarettes, despite the fact that it is not always listed on the label.
When adolescents’ brains are still developing, nicotine use can cause damage to areas of the brain that control:
Gaining mastery of one’s emotions, focus, and impulses
The formation of synapses, or connections between brain cells, is altered when a person regularly uses nicotine. When used frequently during this stage of life, there is an increased likelihood of developing an addiction to tobacco products or other substances in the future.
The liquid used for vaping, as well as the vapor that is produced from it, may contain potentially dangerous chemicals in addition to nicotine.
Substances that can lead to cancer
Nickel, tin, and lead are examples of heavy metals.
Chemical flavorings like diacetyl, which has been related to a variety of respiratory diseases
compounds of organic matter that are volatile.
Particles of extremely tiny size can be inhaled all the way into the lungs.
The effects of vaping are still being researched and studied by scientists, particularly in relation to vitamin E acetate, which is a substance that is added to some vaping liquids in order to make them become more dilute. As of the 17th of December in 2019, there were over 2,500 cases of vapers who were hospitalized due to injuries related to vaping. Additionally, the use of electronic cigarettes has been linked to the deaths of 54 people in 27 states and the District of Columbia.
Who is Vaping?
According to the findings of the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), 3.6 million adolescents in middle school and high school have tried using electronic cigarettes. Use, which is defined as occurring at least once per day over the course of the previous 30 days, climbed by 78 percent in 2018, going from 11.7 to 20.8 percent.
The growing popularity of electronic cigarettes among middle schoolers and high school students has contributed to an increase in total tobacco usage that is equivalent to a 38% increase among high school students and a 29% increase among middle schoolers.
Teenagers are not the only age group using electronic cigarettes; nine percent of adults in the United States report that they “often or occasionally” vape.
Facts about Vaping
1: Vaping is less harmful than smoking, but it’s still not safe.
Electronic cigarettes work by heating a mixture of tobacco-derived nicotine, flavourings, and other compounds to produce an aerosol that the user then inhales. Cigarettes made with regular tobacco contain 7,000 compounds, the majority of which are poisonous. According to Blaha, “There’s almost no doubt that vaping exposes you to less hazardous chemicals than smoking traditional cigarettes.” This is despite the fact that we do not know exactly which chemicals are contained in electronic cigarettes.
However, there has been a recent spike in the number of people who have died from lung damage connected with vaping. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) documented 2,807 cases of e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury (EVALI) in February 2020. This condition was responsible for 68 deaths.
“It appears that those who modify their vaping devices or use e-liquids that have been modified illegally are most likely to be affected by these occurrences. This is especially important to keep in mind when purchasing vaping goods that contain THC, explains Blaha.
Vitamin E acetate has been identified as a chemical of concern among persons with EVALI by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vitamin E acetate is a thickening ingredient that is frequently utilized in THC vaping products, and the CDC discovered that it was present in all of the lung fluid samples of EVALI patients that they studied.
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It is recommended by the CDC that people:
Do not use any vaping products or electronic cigarettes that contain THC.
When looking to purchase a vaping device, you should steer clear of purchasing one from unofficial sources such as friends, relatives, or online vendors.
A vaping device should not have any substances added to it that were not intended by the manufacturer, and it should not have any modifications made to it.
Research on the components of vape products that was conducted and published by The Johns Hopkins University in October 2021 revealed that vape products contain thousands of chemical substances, the majority of which have not yet been identified. The team was able to identify several potentially hazardous substances, such as caffeine, three chemicals that had never been found in electronic cigarettes before, a pesticide, and two flavourings linked with possible toxic effects and respiratory irritation. Among those substances were caffeine, three chemicals that had never been found in electronic cigarettes before, and a pesticide.
2: Research suggests vaping is bad for your heart and lungs.
Nicotine is the principal component of traditional cigarettes as well as electronic cigarettes, and it has a strong potential for addiction. If you try to fight the need to smoke, it will make you crave cigarettes, and if you do, you will experience withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine is a chemical that can be dangerous. It causes a rise in both your blood pressure and your adrenaline levels, which in turn causes an increase in both your heart rate and the risk that you may have a heart attack.
Is there a danger in vaping? Vaping raises a number of questions that have yet to be answered, such as which chemicals are present in the vapour and how these chemicals may influence one’s physical health in the long run. According to Blaha, the general public needs to be made aware of the fact that electronic cigarettes pose a risk to one’s health. “New evidence reveals a relationship between e-cigarette use and chronic lung illness and asthma, as well as an association between dual use of e-cigarettes and smoking and cardiovascular disease.” You are putting yourself in danger by exposing yourself to a wide variety of chemicals that we do not fully comprehend and that are most likely not safe.
3: Electronic cigarettes are just as addictive as traditional ones.
Both electronic cigarettes and traditional cigarettes contain nicotine, which, according to some studies, has a potential for addiction on par with that of heroin and cocaine. What’s even worse, according to Blaha, is that many people who use electronic cigarettes get much more nicotine than they would from a product that burns tobacco: Either the user can purchase extra-strength cartridges that contain a higher concentration of nicotine or they can boost the voltage of their electronic cigarette to obtain a stronger dose from the chemical.
4: Electronic cigarettes aren’t the best smoking cessation tool.
E-cigarettes, despite the fact that they have been marketed as a tool that can assist you in quitting smoking, have not been granted approval by the Food and Drug Administration as smoking cessation aids. According to the findings of a recent study, the majority of persons who expected to use e-cigarettes as a means to kick their nicotine habit ended up continuing to use regular cigarettes in addition to e-cigarettes.
In light of the EVALI outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising persons who use e-cigarettes for smoking cessation to balance the risks and benefits of using e-cigarettes and first consider using other smoking cessation options that have been approved by the FDA.
5: A new generation is getting hooked on nicotine.
Electronic cigarettes, particularly those that are disposable, have surpassed the popularity of conventional tobacco products among young people. According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey conducted in 2021, more than 2 million middle and high school students in the United States reported smoking electronic cigarettes in 2021. Furthermore, more than 8 out of 10 of these young people reported using flavoured electronic cigarettes.
According to Blaha, there are three potential reasons why electronic cigarettes may be especially appealing to younger generations. To begin, a significant number of young people have the misconception that vaping is safer than smoking. Second, the cost of using an electronic cigarette is far less than the cost of using a conventional cigarette. Last but not least, the absence of smoke is appealing to both young people and adults. Because they don’t produce any odour, electronic cigarettes help smokers shed part of their social stigma.
According to Blaha, “What I find most disturbing about the rise of vaping is that people who would have never smoked otherwise, especially youth, are taking up the habit.” Vaping has become increasingly popular in recent years. “If you used to smoke cigarettes but have switched to vaping, that’s a different story. To start using nicotine by vaping is a completely different ballgame altogether. Developing a dependence on nicotine almost always results in the use of conventional tobacco products at some point in the future.
According to research conducted by the CDC, the number of young people who vape has decreased somewhat since the year 2020. The fact that children were more likely to be confined to their homes and monitored by their parents during the COVID-19 pandemic may have contributed to that development.
However, according to Blaha, it is difficult to evaluate the data because young people frequently change their preferences and, when polled, may not regard using disposable goods such as “puff bars” as vaping. According to the same data from the CDC, the use of e-cigarettes that are disposable has surged by a factor of 1,000% among high school students and by a factor of 400% among middle school students since 2019.
Vaping and the COVID-19 Pandemic
According to Blaha, the data show that sales of e-cigarettes dropped when the coronavirus pandemic initially started. This could have been because people were spending more time at home and avoiding retailers and public spaces, as the data suggests.
But Blaha has observed a pattern that gives him cause for concern: an increase in the proportion of vape users who use electronic cigarettes on a daily basis. It used to be that one in five people vaped on a daily basis, but that number has significantly increased in recent years. This is alarming because it suggests that more people are becoming addicted to nicotine. That is something that I am keeping a careful watch on.