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5 things to know about vaping

5 things you need to know about vaping man blowing smoke out of vape mod e-cigarette more addictive than cigarettes

Do you know the truth about vaping? Very little information was available after 2006, when e-cigarettes started becoming popular. We learn more every day like:

It’s not a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes. In fact, vaping or using e-cigarettes having far worse effects on your body than a traditional cigarette.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), smoking in any form can damage your lungs and lead to cancer. Both tobacco and e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive. It can especially hurt brain development in young adults.

When it comes to smoking vaping, it’s more than just the nicotine that can be potentially dangerous. Here are five things you need to know about vaping.

woman with short brown hair sits at table with phone in hand and vaping smoke e-cigarette blowing out smoke

1.    Vaping is just as addictive as cigarettes

Contrary to popular belief, e-cigarettes are not an effective way to quit smoking. According to a recent article published by Johns Hopkins Medicine, vaping might be more addictive than regular cigarettes.

In fact, you can choose the level of nicotine you purchase for an e-cigarette. This means they may contain more nicotine than a traditional cigarette and expose the user to more toxic chemicals.

More nicotine can lead to more cravings. Researchers say vaping might be as addictive as heroin or cocaine.

How vaping works

E-cigarettes work by heating up a liquid juice-like substance that contains nicotine, flavors and other chemicals that create a vapor or aerosol. When a person vapes, they inhale the aerosol into their lungs and blow out smoke.

Scientists are still learning about the long-term effects of these chemicals on the lungs. Any foreign substance taken into the lungs is potentially harmful.

According to the CDC, vape juices are known to contain:

  • Cancer-causing chemicals
  • Nicotine
  • Metals such as nickel, lead and tin
  • Flavorings linked to serious lung disease
  • Volatile organic compounds

Vaping is especially harmful to young adults because nicotine can severely limit brain development in people under the age of 25.

A large number of youth in middle school and high school have admitted to trying e-cigarettes. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says nearly 5% of middle school students were regular vape users in 2018. The CDC found that teens and young adults who tried vaping first were more likely to go on to smoke cigarettes, even if they think they never will.

popcorn laying on top of chest x-ray to symbolize popcorn lung vaping smoking hazard when you get sick from vaping

2.    Vaping is bad for your heart and your lungs

We already know nicotine is addictive, but what can it do to your body? For one, it can raise your chance of having a heart attack. Nicotine raises your blood pressure and releases adrenaline. When your body has a spike in adrenaline, it makes your heart pump faster. This can increase your risk for heart attack.

Vaping can also lead to popcorn lung, a disease that causes scaring to the small tree-like passages that carry oxygen through your lungs. When your lungs are scarred, it can cause permanent breathing problems.

The term “popcorn lung” comes from a chemical that is found in the majority of vape juices called “diacetyl.” This is an artificial flavoring also found in popcorn, drinks, caramel and some dairy products. The FDA has determined the chemical to be safe to eat, but not to inhale.

Symptoms of popcorn lung include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • A persistent cough
  • Unexplained fatigue or tiredness
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness

If you are experiencing shortness of breath, chest pain or dizziness, seek immediate medical attention.

You can reduce your risk of getting popcorn lung by limiting or stopping the use of e-cigarettes. There is no cure for this disease, so prevention is key.

young adult woman filling vape mod e-cigarette with vape juice

3.    Vaping can target kids

By offering many flavors from juices that taste like cereal, desserts or fruity blends, e-cigarette companies target youth to get them hooked on vaping. Without an offensive smell of cigarette smoke, and with the different flavors, it seems to limit the stigma of smoking.

Companies may market products as a safe alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes, but e-cigarettes are more than just harmless water vapor. They contain dangerous chemicals that if ingested, can cause lifelong lung issues for the user.

In an effort to reach young smokers, many e-cigarettes have become convenient to buy and carry. Some e-cigarettes are shaped like a flash drive and can be hidden by young adults and school-aged children. These camouflaged e-cigarettes may contain enough nicotine in each refillable pod to equate to 20 cigarettes.  

Vaping products come in many shapes and sizes, from small, pocket-sized contraptions to large tanks and “mods,” that can be built and customized. No matter what you call them, they’re all e-cigarettes. None of them are safe for young people to use. All of them can cause long-term lung disease or cancer.

two vape pens with cbd thc marijuana products smoking vaping

4.    E-cigarettes can be used to smoke other drugs, such as marijuana

Vape juices can come in just about any flavor you can imagine. Some manufacturers have even found a way to create mixtures with CBD (cannabinoid) oils and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, one of the active ingredients in marijuana).

According to the CDC, about 1/3 of middle school and high school students in the United States say they have tried marijuana by using an e-cigarette. Even more have tried CBD oils.

5.    How to quit smoking

If you want to stop smoking, we can help. It’s never too late to quit. In fact, if you quit today, you can start seeing a positive impact on your health in as little as two weeks. You can also call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for further assistance.

Help your kids avoid vaping

Older children and young adults are the target for many vaping companies. Help your child understand the dangers of vaping and smoking, as well as the truth about inhaling toxic chemicals.

  • Talk with your child about the importance of not smoking or using e-cigarettes.
  • Set a good example for your child by not smoking yourself.
  • Explain to your child why smoking is harmful.
  • Ask your child’s doctor to explain the long-term health risks
  • Encourage your child to learn the facts about the dangers of vaping and smoking.
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