E-cigarettes are getting a lot of hype lately. Said to be less harmful than smoking, this tiny gadget is marketed by manufacturers as a tool to help heavy smokers eventually quit the bad and unhealthy habit. However, even though it's considered a better alternative to cigarettes, there are still plenty of things that we don't know about it. Here are five vaping dangers you have to understand before you decide to join the trend.
Wait, What are E-Cigarettes, Anyway?
E-cigarettes, also known as vapes, e-juice, vape pens, e-hookahs, hookah pens, or herbal vaporizers, are electronic devices designed to simulate smoking. These devices emit vaporized solutions for the user to inhale, providing a similar sensation to inhaling smoke.
Why People Consider Vaping Better Than Smoking
Regular cigarettes contain a ton of chemicals, many of which are considered toxic to the body. One of e-cigs' reported benefits is that they contain fewer toxic chemicals compared to traditional cigarettes. Moreover, e-cigarettes and vaporizers have a few other advantages that smokers appreciate.
They Don't Have Smoke
Vaping doesn't produce smoke. It produces vapors by heating a compound called e-liquid, often made of nicotine, flavorings, and a variety of other chemicals. Compared to traditional smoking, which requires the user to inhale the chemicals through high heat (or combustion), vaping – with the vaporizer or e-cigarette doing most of the vaporizing process – produces less toxicity and cooler aerosols which, some manufacturers claim, are slightly better on the lungs.
They Don't Leave Bad Odors
One of the things that people hate about smoking is the smell. Bystanders can immediately tell if a person has been smoking. The scent of cigarettes can easily permeate into a person's clothes and even their skin and hair.
It's difficult to mask or remove (even if you've put on perfume), and that can be a huge turnoff. Since vaping doesn't produce smoke, it also doesn't leave any unsettling smoky odor.
This, however, can make it difficult for parents to tell whether or not their children are using e-cigarettes. Since the aerosols that these devices emit often don't have the familiar smell of smoke, parents might not realize that their children are slowly getting hooked to it.
5 Vaping Dangers You Need to Know About
While vaping might be less harmful than traditional smoking, this doesn't mean that it's entirely safe to use. There are hidden dangers to using the device that people have to be aware of.
1. It Still Contains Nicotine
Nicotine is a highly addictive substance that makes it difficult for people to quit smoking. The more of it you consume, the more your body craves a higher dose. This means vaping can also be addicting.
Furthermore, there are extra-strength cartridges available that offer a concentration of nicotine higher than traditional cigarettes. Nicotine also has other harmful effects on the body. Aside from addiction, it can also cause the following:
- Insulin resistance, which could lead up to type 2 diabetes
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure levels
- Chronic bronchitis
- Lung disease
- Impair brain development
2. It Has Secondhand Effects
We all know how dangerous secondhand smoke is, but are secondhand vapors any better? While it might be less toxic, research about vaping is still ongoing and there are still a lot of unknowns concerning its composition.
For instance, the aerosol produced by e-cigarettes contains potentially dangerous chemicals, which when inhaled could affect bystanders and non-users.
A study has shown that vaping in a ventilated room could affect indoor air quality. Additionally, the aerosol's ultrafine particles could easily be inhaled by the people sharing the same space. The majority of the studies done also show that inhaling secondhand vapor may pose a health risk to non-users, especially to children.
3. It May Irritate the Lungs
The chemicals exhaled by e-cigarette users leave residues on various surfaces – like fabrics, air vents, and paper towels – and traces of nicotine, alkaloids, and nitrosamines can be found on them. Since the vapors produced by e-cigarettes enter the lungs unfiltered, there's a huge chance of it also leaving chemical residues inside the body, which might potentially irritate the lungs and cause harm in the long run.
4. There Are Still Plenty of Things Unknown About Vaping
There are indeed a lot of manufacturers claiming that vaping is less toxic compared to traditional smoking. Some studies also see its potential to benefit some people. But, scientists still have a lot to learn about it. If e-cigarettes are truly an effective means for quitting smoking, or if they don't have any harmful effects when used in the long run, it still requires further confirmation.
5. They Lead to Higher Risk of Cigarette Smoking in Teens
While vaporizers and e-cigarettes are supposedly intended to help smokers quit smoking, the developments and marketing efforts of companies are sadly targeted to entice those who aren't using cigarettes to try out e-cigarettes.
For instance, they offer plenty of "flavors" that appeal to younger kids. They're also easily accessible — our youth can even get them online. And these are only some of the reasons that make these devices very popular among teens today.
Another thing to take note of is that a lot of e-cigarettes released on the market today are produced by the same companies that manufacture cigarettes, leading some people to think that vaping serves as an introductory product for young adults before using cigarettes and other tobacco products.
E-cigarettes are unsafe for children and young adults. Nicotine is potentially detrimental to children's brain development. It's also highly addictive, especially if used or inhaled by the younger generation. In fact, young people who use e-cigarettes are more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future.
Of course, there are a few nicotine-free alternatives, but these flavored e-cigarette liquids have been found to increase biomarkers for inflammation and tissue damage.
Although there are claims about vaping helping smokers quit, there is also early evidence suggesting that it could possibly do more harm than good, especially to people who do not smoke. If you don't want to subject yourself to the potential effects of vaping, then it's best to hold off your curiosity until more studies are made to confirm that it's safe.