Vaping: Far from Harmless
Vaping may not be as safe as you think.
Have teenagers? Then there’s a good chance they’ve tried vaping. While possibly not as harmful to your health as smoking, vaping is still illegal for young people, highly addictive, and potentially dangerous.
Behind the times and don’t know what vaping is? It’s a new tobacco cigarette alternative that’s taking the world by storm. It makes use of an electric cigarette (e-cigarette), vape pen, or other device, which heats a liquid into a vapor. This vapor is then inhaled by the user. The liquid contains nicotine, chemicals, and most important to young users—flavorings. E-cigarettes can also be used for THC oil and marijuana.
Many people see vaping as a safer alternative to smoking or as a way to quit smoking, but they may not realize the potential dangers.
Vaping has been linked to several hundred diagnosis of severe lung disease and two deaths. Most of the cases of lung disease have been seen in teenagers and young adults. Lung problems may be caused by a contaminant, immune reaction, irritation, or allergic reaction to a chemical in the vapor. Beginning stages of lung disease include chest pain and/or shortness of breath. Symptoms gradually worsen and may not be reversible.
The nicotine inhaled while vaping is the same drug found in cigarettes, and it’s just as toxic. Nicotine increases your blood pressure and triggers your adrenaline, putting you at risk for heart attack. Nicotine is also highly addictive. In fact, despite what anyone may say, vaping is just as addictive as smoking cigarettes. In fact, it has the potential of being more addictive since you can vape with extra-strength cartridges that contain more nicotine than a cigarette.
Young people who vape are especially susceptible to the negative and addictive effects of nicotine because their brains are still developing. This is one reason why vaping is highly dangerous for pregnant women. Research has found that nicotine slows a young person’s brain development and affects their ability to concentrate, remember, and learn. And if you thought your teen’s mood couldn’t get any worse, vaping also has a negative effect on that as well.
Adults may claim they vape as a way to quit smoking, but teens are more likely to use vaping as a first step to cigarettes or other types of addiction down the road. And don’t think “nicotine-free” e-cigarettes are safe. Regardless of whether you vape with or without nicotine, the chemicals can still cause lung damage.
Vaping increases the risk of nicotine poisoning in adults and children. Too much nicotine in the body leads to nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, tremors, sweating, rapid heart rate, and high blood pressure. After an hour of these symptoms, your blood pressure and heart rate go down and you may experience fatigue, weakness, and diarrhea. Extreme poisoning, while rare, can cause seizures, coma, and respiratory failure.
Usually due to defective batteries, e-cigarettes and vape pens may explode while charging, catch fire, and cause burns. Most burns from vaping devices have been localized and easily treated, but some have been severe to the point of needing surgery and skin grafts, and others have actually died from the explosion.
While vaping exposes you to far fewer chemicals compared to cigarettes, you are still inhaling toxic chemicals. The long-term health effects of these chemicals is currently unknown. Some harm the lungs, while others may contribute to heart disease or cause cancer.
A nicotine habit is expensive. While typically cheaper than cigarettes, the cost of vaping cartridges adds up over time. The average vaper consumes 2 to 5 milliliters of liquid per day. In a year, that will cost as much as $2,000.
Looking like a computer flash drive, the Juul is a vaping device that is charged in a USB port. Because of its small size, minimal smoke production, and fun flavors, Juuls are some of the most popular e-cigarettes with teenagers.