Have you been struggling to quit smoking? Many smokers have heard that switching to vaping can help, and are exploring this option as a means of kicking their habit. In this article, we will take a closer look at what happens when you make the switch from smoking cigarettes to vaping and why this is not as good as the e-cigarette industry wants you to believe.
E-cigarette companies have been promising a healthier alternative to smoking, but the truth is that vaping is still using tobacco products. While e-cigarettes and the "secondhand smoke" it produces can contain fewer carcinogens than traditional cigarettes, they come with their own set of health risks. Furthermore, the FDA has not certified any e-cigarette as a safe and effective smoking cessation device.
Vaping has increased in popularity recently, but the fact is that we still don't know a lot about its impact on health. Unfortunately, what we do know is highly alarming. The inhalation of dangerous chemicals such as acetaldehyde, acrolein, and formaldehyde that can be found in e-cigarettes are among the top culprits of lung damage and even death. In recent times this has been demonstrated through many concerning news editions which detail people losing their lives due to vaping-related conditions.
With mixed messages coming from certain companies, media outlets, and even researchers in the health field, it can be difficult to determine the truth behind vaping. Let's look at some facts regarding vaping.
Whenever gathering information for any kind of research, it’s important to consider where the information is coming from. For instance, when researching vaping and its supposed benefits for quitting smoking, you should be wary of e-cigarette industry sites that may have a vested interest in promoting their products. Unfortunately, many articles discussing this topic only focus on the benefits of stop smoking cigarettes and disregarding any potential risks or negative effects associated with vaping. This type of one-sided information is misleading and fails to provide an honest look at the reality of using a nicotine delivery system like vaping.
Because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not issued any standards for what is allowed in 'vape juice', the ingredients used can vary widely. Here are some toxic chemicals and metals that researchers have found in e-cigarettes.
Nicotine is a powerful poison and stimulant that can adversely affect your health. When present in the body, it can cause an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, greater flow of blood to the heart, and the narrowing of arteries. Over time, this could lead to a hardening of the arterial walls which could then lead to things such as a heart attack or stroke. While it's possible to eliminate nicotine from your system after 6-8 hours depending upon how often one smokes or uses tobacco products, there are still some withdrawal symptoms that manifest themselves when stopping the use of nicotine-containing products such as feelings of anxiety or depression. And with e-cigarettes or newer tobacco products that deliver more nicotine than before, these risks remain everpresent if one isn't careful with their usage.
Propylene glycol is a common food additive that is generally considered safe to ingest. However, when it is inhaled, it has been shown to cause lung inflammation and irritation. This has mostly been observed from people that work around fog machines that use Propylene Glycol. Though this goes away shortly after exposure to PG vapor ends, this involves intermittent exposure. What is not known at this time is the effects of long-term, consistent inhalation as seen with vaping. Until more extensive studies take place, it remains unclear whether or not this popular additive has detrimental effects when inhaled through e-cigarettes.
Carcinogens, or chemicals that are known to cause cancer, can be found in e-cigarettes in the form of aldehydes like acetaldehyde and formaldehyde. Inhaling these substances can have significant long-term health effects such as lung disease and heart disease, not just cancer.
Acrolein, a common herbicide used to kill weeds, can produce dangerous side effects when inhaled. Studies have shown that when inhaled, it can lead to acute lung injury and COPD. Furthermore, repeated exposure to acrolein may even cause asthma and potentially lead to lung cancer. Unfortunately, as many are unaware, acrolein has been found in e-cigarettes which contributes to the dangers associated with using e-cigarettes.
Most high-end vape makers are aware of the dangers of diacetyl and don't use it in their products. However many of the mass-market e-cigarettes contain this chemical. Diacetyl is associated with bronchiolitis obliterans, also known as “popcorn lung” – a condition in which inflammation destroys the tiniest air sacs in the lungs and causes scarring. This leads to severe shortness of breath due to lung restriction and low oxygen levels in the blood, ultimately resulting in reduced overall respiratory function.
In a 2009 study, the FDA found one out of 18 samples of e-liquid cartridges that contained a trace amount of diethylene glycol. Diethylene glycol is an industrial solvent that is poisonous and should not be an e-liquid ingredient. After more tests, some experts concluded that it was contaminated in some way. This far there have been no cases of diethylene glycol poisonings from e-cigarettes, so this doesn't appear to be a large concern. But it does highlight the importance of using a reputable manufacturer if you do decide to vape.
Recent studies have indicated that e-cigarettes contain heavy metals such as cadmium and lead. Researchers compared concentrations of toxic metals in e-cigarette e-liquid and vapor, discovering that the level of these metals in the vapor was much higher. This suggests either leaching during the period the e-liquid is sitting in the tank, or when it is vaporized. Given the longer-term effects of these metals can be devastating, these findings are concerning and demonstrate a risk associated with vaping.
Despite the common perception that electronic cigarettes are a healthy alternative to regular smoking, recent studies have indicated otherwise. As time goes on, it appears that these devices could be more dangerous than previously thought.
A recent study has revealed some alarming insights about the effects of e-cigarettes on COPD symptoms and asthma. Study participants who had used e-cigarettes were found to have worse outcomes in their COPD-related symptoms compared to those that did not use them. Furthermore, even switching from combusting tobacco to vaping showed no immediate benefit. Additionally, mice exposed to e-cigarette liquid every day for four months developed similar respiratory issues as seen in those suffering from COPD, while another study suggested that e-cigarettes make asthma worse. These latest research findings demonstrate that the risks of vaping should be taken into consideration while considering your smoking habits and lifestyle changes.
It is becoming increasingly clear that e-cigarettes are far from being a harmless alternative to traditional cigarettes. Indeed, many studies have found that, while e-cigarettes might deliver lower levels of carcinogens such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and nicotine-derived nitrosamine ketones than tobacco smoke, the presence of these molecules still has a significant impact on our health. All of these are known to cause cancer in humans.
The dangers of e-cigarettes are becoming more and more evident as time passes. Recent studies have uncovered alarming information regarding their effects on the respiratory system; some researchers believe that these devices could be even worse than traditional cigarettes when it comes to inflammation in the lungs. Evidence is also growing about their potential impacts on the cardiovascular system.
Another issue when using vaping as a way to stop smoking is how easy it is to use. With the widespread availability of e-cigarettes and the fact that they can be easily hidden, vaping has become an even bigger problem. No longer does anyone have to leave a party or gathering to get a nicotine hit; they can now simply do it discretely indoors. Furthermore, because electronic cigarettes produce little to no odor, users can vape away without anyone being the wiser. Although this convenient lifestyle of vaping may seem like an advantage, especially for those with an addictive personality, it serves as a considerable disadvantage when it comes to quitting smoking altogether. By making nicotine consumption easier through these devices, individuals are inadvertently increasing their nicotine addiction while struggling to quit the habit entirely.
While some people have successfully quit smoking with e-cigarettes, it can actually make quitting much harder for many smokers. According to a study on the association between vaping and quitting smoking, there was not a significant difference in the success rate of quitting or reducing how many cigarettes were smoked when comparing nicotine vape use and non-nicotine vape use. Unfortunately, of the participants in this study, only 15% were able to successfully quit smoking.
A recent study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed an alarming trend among adult e-cigarette users - the majority continue to use both e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes. The study noted that 58.8 percent of those surveyed were dual users.
Another study found that 68.1% of the participants continued to smoke regular cigarettes. This indicates that the "dual use" of these products is commonplace, which is far from an ideal situation for those attempting to quit smoking. The situation unfortunately emphasizes the potential for e-cigarettes to be sustained rather than remedy nicotine cravings.
One other consideration when thinking about vaping is the toxicity of vape juice in liquid form. Since the nicotine in vape juice is concentrated it can cause severe illness and possibly death if it is swallowed or spilled on the skin. This is especially a concern if you have or are around young children, and extra care has to be taken with vape pods than a pack of cigarettes.
While most cases of nicotine poisoning do not result in death, if exposed to high concentrations of nicotine it can happen quickly. In fatal cases, death can occur within minutes, so it is important to take any occurrence seriously. Here are some symptoms of nicotine poisoning
A sensation of burning in the mouth and throat
Pain or nausea in the stomach, vomiting or diarrhea
Headache or disturbances of the sense of sight or hearing
Hard time breathing
Convulsions or sweating
Rapid or erratic heartbeats
When not in use, it’s important to keep vaping products away from and out of sight of children or pets who may be curious about them. Most e-cigarettes and vaping liquid products do not have any basic safety features. If vaping liquid has leaked or spilled do not touch it with bare skin, and if it does get on the skin wash it off with water only. Using soap can help the skin absorb nicotine.
Note: Nicotine poisoning is not just a concern with vaping products. The nicotine replacement products used for nicotine replacement therapy also have a high concentration of nicotine and have to be treated with care.
There is a lot of conflicting information about using e-cigarettes to quit smoking. On one hand, you have the FDA and other health organizations state no e-cigarette is safe and effective in helping smokers quit smoking. On the other hand, you have the e-cigarette industry says it is a good alternative.
When comparing the two in a vacuum, vaping exposes the user to fewer toxins than cigarette smoke, so on paper, it seems like it is less harmful than smoking. The problem is when weighing the risks we have to consider human behavior. This is where things get more complicated.
In one study they found that vaping nicotine doubles the risk of heart attack compared with not vaping at all. The bigger concern however is that many cigarette smokers who vape to stop smoking actually end up doing both. This results in a five-fold increase n the risk of having a heart attack and ingrains the habit even more making it even harder to quit. Thus, while vaping might be seen as a harm-reduction measure when replacing cigarette smoking, we must remember that quitting completely is still the best bet for reducing or eliminating health risks.
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