Modern Smoking Dangers: Risks of Vaping and E-Cigarettes
On the whole, the danger of smoking traditional cigarettes is on a fiercely downward trend. More and more, people, no matter their age, are turning away from smoking. That said, there is still a danger. In young people especially, there are modern smoking dangers to consider. In particular, let’s discuss the risks of vaping and E-cigarettes.
Understanding the Risks of Vaping and E-Cigarettes
Smoking tobacco has some significant dangers to the lungs and overall health, regardless of age. For years, there have been persistent falsities suggesting that vaping eliminates these risks. The simple fact of the matter is that we’re still in the process of learning more about vaping every day.
To briefly explain vaping and E-cigarettes, they often appear similar to regular cigarettes, but using them is a totally different process from smoking cigarettes. These devices produce an aerosol by heating a liquid. This liquid or “vape juice” often contains nicotine, flavoring, and other chemicals that help to make the aerosol.
To vape, the user inhales this aerosol into their lungs much as they would with a traditional cigarette. While there is not much known about second-hand vape risk, scientists do know that bystanders can breathe in this aerosol when the user breathes it back out.
Just Harmless Water Vapor?
Contrary to messages from ads and pop culture, this aerosol is not always “harmless water vapor.” In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the aerosol can contain potentially harmful substances, including:
- Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs
- Flavorings such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease
- Volatile organic compounds
- Cancer-causing chemicals
- Heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead
Additionally, vaping and E-cigarettes can also be used for marijuana and other drugs, but this is outside the scope of this article. Today, we are just discussing general risks.
Dangers of Nicotine
Above all, the risks of vaping and E-cigarettes often start with nicotine. Most E-cigarettes contain nicotine—the addictive drug that is found in regular cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products. As any person who has either tried to quit smoking, or seen someone try to quit, knows: nicotine can be quite a difficult habit to stop. Additionally, there is plenty of new data to show that people who vape often smoke traditional cigarettes as well. This can be a double whammy, especially for a developing young mind.
You see, the brain does not finish developing until roughly age 25. The use of nicotine can harm parts of the brain that influence attention span, mood and impulse control. According to the CDC, each time a new memory is created or a new skill is learned, stronger connections – or synapses – are built between brain cells. Young people’s brains build synapses faster than adult brains. Nicotine changes the way these synapses are formed.
As mentioned above, vaping is proven to be bad for your lungs. Vape liquid often contains diacetyl. This is a food additive that is frequently used to improve and strengthen E-cigarette flavors. Unfortunately, it is also known to damage small passageways in the lungs. To this end, it can be quite harmful to children and adults who suffer from asthma or related lung issues.
The lesson is clear, that avoiding the risks of vaping and E-cigarettes is easy. If you don’t ever start, you’ll be better off!