Smoking e-cigarettes, commonly known as vaping, has become widely popular. Over the past decade, Vaping has grown especially popular among young adults. In fact, 3.6 million American middle and high school students said they have used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. And it’s still on the rise. The number of high school students that vape has doubled in just a year. But is vaping safe? Should parents be worried? Because vaping is still somewhat new, not much is known about its long term health effects. But here’s what we do know.
What are the Upsides and Downsides of Vaping?
So far, the only upside of vaping is that there are fewer contaminants in e-cigarette aerosol and vapor than tobacco smoke. Vaping liquids don’t come close to having the 7,000 contaminants found in tobacco cigarettes.
However, e-cigarettes still contain nicotine, which is highly addictive. Nicotine is also known to harm fetuses and hinder the development of teenage brains. Nicotine also raises your blood pressure and spikes your adrenaline, which increases the risk of heart attack.
E-cigarette vapor also contains substances that can endanger your health. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), diacetyl, and heavy metals (nickel, tin, and lead) have all been found in e-cigarette vapor. Diacetyl has been linked to lung disease. While the smelliness of secondhand smoke is eliminated, people nearby are still at risk of inhaling toxic substances found in secondhand vapor.
Patients also put themselves at risk when they vape liquids that aren’t quality tested or controlled, like liquids that have been home-brewed or purchased from unknown sources.
Does Vaping Help You Stop Smoking?
Vaping is pushed as a healthier replacement for smoking. But know that it has not received approval from the Food and Drug Administration. A recent study found that most people who chose to vape to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes wound up smoking both traditional and e-cigarettes.
Cigarette smoking has decreased 5 percent since 2005. But there’s a new generation picking up the habit of vaping, which is also bad for your health. People who never even smoked cigarettes are following this vaping trend, which may lead to cigarette smoking later in life.
What Vaping Side Effects Should I Look Out For?
Health officials warn e-cigarette users to watch out for any type of chest pain or difficulty breathing. Those who have been hospitalized for vaping-related illnesses reported coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, or even vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms worsened over a period of days or weeks before they were hospitalized. These patients claimed to have been vaping in the weeks or months leading up to the symptoms.
If you vape and are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention. Health-care providers caring for patients with unexpected respiratory illness should ask about a history of vaping or e-cigarette use, officials said.
What is the Worst that Can Happen with Vaping?
There have been cases in which teenagers showed symptoms consistent with viral-type infections or bacterial pneumonia. Some of these patients continued to deteriorate, despite treatment with antibiotics and oxygen support. Some patients experienced respiratory failure and had to be put on ventilators. These cases were ultimately attributed to vaping-associated acute lung injury.