Q: Is vaping a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes?
A: Smoking cigarettes is one of the most dangerous addictions, contributing to the development of heart disease, serious lung disease and multiple kinds of cancer, among others.
Once addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes, or other tobacco products, it is very difficult to quit. Some liken it to trying to quit using heroin.
Many people who vape are teenagers who started smoking electronic cigarettes or vaping devices thinking they are a safe alternative to cigarettes, or adults who switched from cigarettes to vaping thinking it would be easier to quit.
It may seem obvious that smoking anything would not be good for your lungs or your health, and that is true of vaping as well.
Plus since vaping hasn’t been around very long, the long term effects are not known yet. When cigarettes initially became popular, people thought they were harmless, and that turned out to be far from the truth.
First of all, vaping is inhaling nicotine extracted from tobacco, although it is inhaled into the lungs in a water vapor instead of being smoked or chewed. The harmful effects of nicotine are still an issue.
Elevated blood pressure, rapid heartbeats and heart attacks are all risks of using nicotine.
Nicotine is highly addictive, and there is an epidemic of teen users of vaping products across the country.
Some studies have shown that most people start smoking between 12 and 16 years old. Unfortunately, in people under 25, vaping can also influence brain development, cause behavioral changes, and increase the risk of cigarette smoking and other addictions.
In addition to nicotine, there are also additives to the vaporized aerosol. There may be fewer toxic chemicals in the aerosol than in cigarettes, but there are toxic chemicals nonetheless.
Flavorants, ultrafine particles, benzene and heavy metals are examples of some toxins in the vape aerosol.
In fact, there have already been approximately 60 vaping related deaths (plus over 2500 hospitalizations for complications of vaping). These deaths from lung injury were predominantly in people vaping modified e-liquids, especially if THC was added (tetrahydrocannabinol, an active ingredient in marijuana), and if Vitamin E acetate was used with it.
Some of the lung-injured vaping patients had never used a THC product.
Although the majority of the deaths were related to obtaining vape products from family, friends, and on-line sources, some deaths occurred from using vaping products obtained from commercial sources.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) advises people not use e-cigarettes or vaping products that contain THC, and that nothing is added to any e-cigarettes or vaping devices.
The CDC advises not using vaping products from family, friends, or other informal or on-line sources. Children, young adults, and pregnant women should never vape.
Parents, you may not realize that your teenager is vaping. The vape may be odorless.
The vaping devices can look like a pen, and USB flashdrive, an asthma inhaler or a key fob, to name a few.
They are very easy to conceal. Vaping is popular among teenagers and products can be obtained online even if they are under 18. There are many flavors available that also make vaping attractive to teens.
Do not start vaping or smoking in the first place.
For smokers who have tried to stop smoking by switching to vaping, this is rarely effective, so see your doctor for more effective means of smoking cessation.