Dangers of Vaping

Despite the widespread popularity of e-cigarettes, many are unaware of the dangers of vaping. Learn more about these dangers here.

What Is Vaping?

Vaping has grown in popularity among all age groups since the first e-cigarette entered the US market in 2007. Since then, vaping has become the most common form of tobacco use among youth, including middle and high school students. According to recent statistics, one in twenty Americans vape, and around one million youths vape on a daily basis.1

Vaping is the practice of inhaling vapor through an e-cigarette or other vaping device. Vaping devices are generally battery-powered devices with a chamber to add liquid in, usually containing a combination of flavorings, chemicals, and nicotine. The liquid is heated into a vapor and then inhaled.

Dangers of Vaping

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How Vaping Works

E-cigarettes work by transforming a liquid that contains nicotine, flavorings, and other additives into an aerosol or vapor. E-cigarettes use a battery to create the heat necessary to vaporize the liquid solution. The atomizer, which usually sits between the cartridge (where the solution is stored) and the battery compartment, is responsible for converting the power from the batteries into heat. E-cigarettes come in a range of shapes and sizes, but, for the most part, they all contain the same basic components.

Misconception of Vaping

Part of the popularity of e-cigarettes is the misconception that they are “safer” or “less addictive” than traditional cigarettes. However, e-cigarettes still contain nicotine, making the addictive potential of vaping equal to conventional smoking. The health risks of vaping include complications to the heart, lungs, and brain. In addition, vaping can increase the risk of other addictions, chronic diseases, and death.

What Are the Health Effects of Vaping?

Unfortunately, many youths, teens, and adults misunderstand the facts about vaping. A common misconception is that smoking and vaping are two dramatically different things, and vaping is safe or less harmful than smoking. As a result, people underestimate the potential health risks of vaping.

While there remains much research to be done on the long-term adverse effects of vaping, science has proven that e-cigarettes can cause many of the same harms as smoking. Examples of the negative effects of vaping include:

Slowed Brain Development in Kids and Teens

Vaping is believed to inhibit brain development in adolescents and teens. Depending on the regions of the brain affected, vaping can negatively impact concentration, memory, learning, attention, mood, and self-control. In 2021, 11.3% of high school students and 2.8% of middle school students reported using e-cigarettes.2

Increased Risk of Other Types of Addiction as Adults

E-cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive chemical present in tobacco plants. Research shows that nicotine makes the brain more susceptible to cocaine, as it increases the gene (FosB) expression responsible for cocaine addiction. For example, a study found that the FosB gene expression in mice increased by 61% after seven days of nicotine consumption. In addition, a recent survey found that over 90% of people smoked cigarettes prior to abusing cocaine.3

Lung Irritation

Inhaling vapor from an e-cigarette can cause lung irritation, as the solution contains harmful ingredients, such as ultrafine particles that can enter the lungs, heavy metals, and dangerous chemicals. The harmful vapors that enter the lungs may lead to chronic lung infection and lung diseases in the long term. With ongoing use, the effects of vaping on the lungs may cause severe lung damage and even death.

Facts About Vaping

Vaping is a profitable industry for manufacturers, partially due to many consumers not understanding the dangers of vaping. The following includes facts, research, and statistics on vaping and the consequences that come with it:

While Less Harmful Than Smoking, Vaping Is Still Not Safe

Traditional cigarettes contain over seven thousand chemicals, most of which are toxic and lead to physical health challenges. Although there is no clear list of how many (and which) chemicals are in e-cigarettes, nicotine and other harmful chemicals inevitably make the list.

Vaping Has Been Linked to Lung Injury

Research shows that vaping has been directly linked to severe lung injury and other illnesses. Vitamin E acetate is a chemical commonly linked to lung injury related to vaping. A study found that forty-eight out of fifty-one people who smoked e-cigarettes had vitamin E acetate in their lungs.4

It is important to recognize the early symptoms of lung infections and other physical challenges related to vaping so you can help a loved one to get help quitting. Common symptoms of lung injury include breathing difficulties and rapid onset of strong, persistent cough. Other symptoms of illness linked to vaping may consist of weight loss, nausea, and vomiting.

Vaping Is Harmful to Your Heart

Research shows a direct connection between vaping and lung health; however, the dangers of vaping do not stop at lung damage. It is essential to remember that e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which increases blood pressure and heart rate. Therefore, for those with an underlying heart condition, the health risks of vaping and the contents of the vaping solution may lead to a heart attack.

Electronic Cigarettes Are Just as Addictive as Traditional Ones

Research indicates that nicotine, a chemical present in regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes, may be as addictive as cocaine or heroin. What’s worse is that people have the choice to increase the nicotine in vaping liquid, making it a higher nicotine content than traditional cigarettes. This is due to the availability of extra-strength cartridges containing a higher concentration of nicotine.

Electronic Cigarettes Aren’t the Best Smoking Cessation Tool

It is estimated that 34 million US adults smoke cigarettes, and approximately 70% of those who smoke want to quit. Unfortunately, vaping has been widely marketed as a way to stop smoking despite the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) never approving vaping products as effective smoking cessation tools.5

Reasons to Avoid Vaping

Vaping health effects can impact all areas of the body, and the risks of vaping are (in most cases) equally as dangerous as the effects of traditional smoking.

Dangers of Vaping (and Reasons to Refrain)

There are several reasons to avoid vaping. These will be detailed below:

  • E-cigarettes usually contain nicotine and other toxins (some of which are unknown to researchers at this time).
  • Vaping can cause nicotine addiction and potentially lead to the use of other harmful drugs, such as cocaine.
  • Quitting smoking may be harder for those who smoke cigarettes and vape.
  • Contrary to the popular understanding of vaping, a fundamental danger of vaping is that it can expose others to second-hand smoke.
  • Vaping impacts brain development, causing impairments in attention, learning, and impulse control.
  • Vaping problems also extend to experimentation. Because many youths do not understand the addictive potential of vaping, experimentation with e-cigarettes may be more dangerous.

How Can I Quit Vaping?

If you are ready to quit vaping, there are several steps you can take to get started.

  • Decide why you want to quit and write down your reasons to stop vaping to refer to your list later.
  • Choose a day to stop vaping and mark it on the calendar.
  • Before that day, clean out your car, purse, bags, and drawers to remove all vaping supplies.
  • Research and download tools on your phone to help you manage cravings and other symptoms from vaping withdrawal.
  • Contact a local addiction treatment center or support group to learn more about withdrawal and how to safely and effectively manage withdrawal symptoms.

Get Help at Concise Recovery

Help at Concise Recovery

Although marketed as safe, vaping is not a safe alternative to smoking. The long-term effects of vaping can lead to many of the same physical and mental health challenges as traditional tobacco products. Quitting vaping can be as challenging as quitting smoking, but there is help.

If you or a loved one are ready to stop vaping, Concise Recovery is ready to help you achieve your goals. Contact us today to learn more about our programs.