Vaping involves using a battery-operated device that heats up a liquid (e-liquid) which is then released as a vapor that’s inhaled by the user.
These devices are known as electronic cigarettes, e-cigarettes, e-cigs, Juul, vape pens, e-hookahs, and electronic nicotine delivery systems. Vape pens often look like flash drives, pens, or other common items.
Vaping has been on the rise in the past couple of years, especially among young people and high school students. This may be because many people believe vaping is healthy or that it doesn’t contain nicotine.
Vaping, however, can contain chemical additives, nicotine, THC, and a variety of flavorings.
What Is Vaping?
Vaping involves a battery-powered device that can come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. To work, it heats up a liquid from a cartridge inside the device. Through heat, vaping produces an aerosol byproduct or vapor that the person inhales and exhales through the mouth or nose.
This liquid can contain propylene glycol, nicotine, flavoring, and marijuana. While the different flavors and the claims by e-cigarette makers can make vaping seem less harmful, that is likely not the case.
The use of e-cigarettes may not be as harmful as tobacco cigarettes, but that doesn’t mean it can’t lead to adverse effects.
Health Effects Of Vaping
While vaping may not have as many known negative side effects as smoking cigarettes, potential adverse health effects may include:
- shortness of breath
- chest pain
- nausea and vomiting
- weight loss
- increased blood pressure
- lung irritation
Is Vaping Worse Than Smoking?
As discussed above, vaping is not considered as harmful as smoking regular cigarettes or using other tobacco products. However, because of the chemicals in the vaping liquid, it’s not considered a “healthy” alternative.
Vaping Harmful Chemicals
Cigarettes contain 7,000 dangerous chemicals. According to John Hopkins University, e-cigarette products like vaping liquid also contain thousands of chemicals and most have not even been identified yet.
Of the toxic chemicals and metals that have been identified, the liquid can include:
- vitamin E acetate
- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
- two flavoring additives linked with respiratory irritation and toxic effects
Vaping comes with quite a few health risks. On top of the side effects mentioned above, long-term vaping can lead to long-term effects including:
- slow brain development in adolescents and young adults that can affect memory,
- concentration, learning, self-control, attention, and mood
- increased risk of addiction/substance use disorder
- increased risk of heart attack
- lung injury
- lung disease
- cardiovascular issues
That being said, some of these health consequences occur when people modify their vaping device (known as mods) or use liquids they’ve gotten from the black market. This is specifically true for vaping products with THC.
Because of this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend any vaping products that contain THC. They also don’t recommend devices that have been modified or buying products from a non-legitimate source
Vaping As A Smoking Cessation Tool
Vaping has also been promoted as a smoking cessation tool, but it has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for that purpose.
Recent studies have found that using e-cigarettes has actually led to people continuing to use cigarettes or simply switching to vaping full-time. It has not been proven to help many people quit smoking altogether.
If you’re looking to quit smoking, ask your healthcare provider for an FDA-approved method.
Is Vaping Addictive?
Since vaping liquid contains nicotine or THC, it can be addictive. It doesn’t matter if you vape occasionally or every day, you can become addicted to vaping.
How quickly you become addicted to vaping can vary on a variety of different factors, including whether you have a history of substance abuse and addiction.
If you or a loved one is struggling with nicotine addiction or marijuana addiction, contact us today to learn how we can help.
Northeast Addition Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.