Vaping is the newest trend in the nicotine game. Beware not only the hit to your wallet but potentially your health too!
What exactly is going on in the lungs from vaping is a big unknown, and that’s scary. We know it damages the lungs and can lead to respiratory issues, including coughing, shortness of breath, and serious lung inflammation, but the exact why and how is a question mark. Think about it, when cigarettes first became widely available, we weren’t aware of the significant risk to health they caused, but now we do. Let’s not make the same mistake with vaping.
The reality is that there are still many unknowns about vaping and health outcomes. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that there are still many unknowns when it comes to vaping, and overall, people should not smoke or use tobacco products of any kind, nor should they start vaping. It is well known that vaping is not safe for youth, young adults and pregnant women, and adults who do not currently use tobacco products (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2016).
What exactly is in vaping products?
- Toxic metals such as lead, chromium, nickel, and arsenic
- Fillers including propylene glycol and glycerin
All these ingredients can wreak havoc on your body. Nicotine increases plaque buildup in your arteries increases your risk of heart disease. Diacetyl and formaldehyde have been linked to lung disease and cancer. Flavorings often added to entice a sweet tooth can damage cells and blood vessels. Breathing in toxic metals that the heating element can release is linked to lung, liver, and brain damage as well as several cancers (Straten et al., 2018).
What happens to your body when you vape?
When you vape, the nicotine quickly goes from your lungs to your bloodstream, causing the body to release adrenaline, which raises your pulse, blood pressure, and heart rate. Long-term vaping increases your risk of a heart attack and stroke (Ndunda et al., 2019).
Simultaneously, your body releases pleasure chemicals, including dopamine and serotonin, which provide you with “the high” or “buzz” type feeling. Nicotine in the vaping form is more addictive than its cigarette counterpart and will leave craving more (Jankowski et al. 2019).
Smoking in all forms damages the immune system and will make the body less effective at fighting disease (Qiu et al.). For people who smoke or use tobacco products, including vaping, talk to your healthcare provider about the best options for quitting. If you aren’t smoking or using tobacco products- including vaping, don’t start!
Laura Dority, MS, RDN, LDN
About electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/about-e-cigarettes.html. Published September 30, 2021. Accessed October 5, 2021.
E-Cigarette Use among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2016.
Stratton KR, Kwan LY, Eaton DL. Public Health Consequences of e-Cigarettes. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2018.
Ndunda PM, Muutu TM. Abstract 9: Electronic Cigarette Use is Associated with a Higher Risk of Stroke. Stroke. 2019:50(Supp1.9).
Jankowski, Krzystanek, Zejda, et al. E-cigarettes are more addictive than traditional cigarettes—a study in highly educated young people. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2019;16(13):2279. doi:10.3390/ijerph16132279
Qiu F, Liang C-L, Liu H, et al. Impacts of cigarette smoking on immune responsiveness: Up and down or upside down? Oncotarget. 2016;8(1):268-284. doi:10.18632/oncotarget.13613