The increased use of electronic smoking or e-smoking is a dangerous trend with real health risks. E-smoking is now being promoted as a ‘safe’ alternative to conventional smoking. In fact, some institution like the Public Health England states that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking. These cigarettes come in various forms which include JUULs, vape mods, and vape pens. In recent years, vaping has become a contentious issue. Below we are going to look at vaping in depth.
What are E-Cigarettes?
The use of e-cigarette is called vaping or juuling. E-cigarettes are battery operated that were initially shaped like cigarettes but now they appear as sleek tech gadgets. Although they are called e-cigarettes, they contain nicotine too, an addictive substance found in tobacco that stimulates and relaxes. This nicotine is responsible for cigarettes addiction including vaping. Users inhale and exhale aerosolized vapor formed by heating a liquid cartridge containing nicotine, flavors and other chemicals. However, what is released to the air after vaping is considered smokeless although it can pose health risks to both users and non-users.
Effects of E-Cigarettes to Your Health
According to FDA, e-cigarettes contain detectable levels of carcinogens and toxic chemicals which could harm the user. In the e-cigarettes cartridge, marketed as “tobacco-free,” the FDA detected a toxic compound in antifreeze, tobacco compounds that cause cancer in humans. Additionally, a study done on the 42 Liquid cartilage of the e-cigarettes found that they contain formaldehyde, a chemical known to cause cancer in humans. The formaldehyde in this e-cigarettes was found to be higher than the maximum EPA recommended amount for humans. To add on this, a study presented at the American Chemical Society annual meeting stated that vaping could damage DNA. The study examined the saliva of five individuals before and after 15 minutes of vaping. The results indicated that there was an increase in the potentially dangerous chemical in the saliva, such as acrolein, which is associated with DNA damage consequently causing cancer.
How E-cigarette Affect Non-Smokers and the Environment
Because e-cigarettes are smokeless, many believe that they pose no harm to the non-users. According to a study published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, the use of e-cigarettes increases the concentration of volatile organic compounds and airborne particles. Such compounds are harmful to one’s health and can lead to long term effects like cancer. These chemicals can enter your body through inhaling or absorption by the skin and eyes. Although e-cigarette vapor may have no obvious smell, it is reported that secondhand vapor contains toxic metals. Plus, disposal of this e-cigarettes poses a risk to the environment as reported by the European Commission.
Can Vaping Help You Quit Smoking?
Most manufacturing companies claim that their e-cigarettes help if you’re looking to quit smoking. However, this is not the case according to FDA because there are no proven studies to support this claim. Most of the studies are based on self-reported cases. Others are either for a short term, say six months or the individual was assigned different methods to quit smoking, including e-cigarettes. A study published in a prestigious medical journal found that although smokers believe that vaping helped them quit smoking, six to twelve months later after being interviewed almost all of them were still smoking. Unless there is well-conducted research, FDA says they will not approve e-cigarettes for use in quitting smoking.
So is Vaping Healthier Than Smoking
Several studies have shown that e-cigarettes contain similar toxic chemicals as regular cigarettes. Also, considering all the above information, we can’t say that vaping is healthier than smoking. The long term effects of vaping are not yet known, but science suggests that vaping is not a safe alternative. If you are looking to quit smoking, there are other healthy and proven ways you can do so. The only difference between vaping and smoking is that smoking delivers desired active ingredients super-fast and cigarettes contain tar. Generally, more research is needed to compare the risks of e-cigarettes with tobacco products.
Vaping in the past years has become very common to kids and teens. The percentage of teenagers who have tried vaping is on the rise with over three million U.S. middle school and high school children being regular users in the past few months. The chemicals in e-cigarettes can harm brain development in children and risk becoming addicts. Measures should be taken to stop exposure of young people to these substances. The FDA has the power to regulate the manufacturing, labeling, distribution, and marketing of tobacco substance. Moreover, they should ban the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18 years.