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How Safe Is Vaping?

Posted on Thursday, February 2, 2023
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by AMAC, D.J. Wilson
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Regular tobacco cigarettes contain about 7,000 known chemicals, of which most are considered toxic. This means that use of tobacco-related products is harmful to the human body and may even lead to death. Fortunately, tobacco-use behaviors have evolved since it’s 1964 peak. In fact, the global smoking prevalence has fallen worldwide. However, the decline of cigarette use has led to reliance on E-cigarettes, also called vaping, as a quit-smoking alternative. Vapes are tobacco products that include e-cigarettes, e-cigs, vape pens, vaporizers, and e-pipes. Some contain high levels of nicotine and thus are considered an unhealthy alternative to cigarettes. Under U.S. federal law, consumers must be age 21 or older to buy vape products. While a decline in cigarette smoking is to be celebrated. there are pros and cons to using vaping as a smoking cessation tool. Since vaping is not risk-free or without danger, it remains a controversial and dangerous alternative to quitting smoking.

WebMD, a reliable online publisher of news and information pertaining to human health and wellbeing, states that research of the subject of e-cigarettes is mixed. This by no means indicates that use of them is safe. While e-cigarettes contain fewer chemicals than conventional cigarettes, risks remain. E-cigs, as they are sometimes called, are battery-powered devices that work by releasing a vapor of flavored nicotine from a liquid heated by a coil. Though not quite as chemical laden as traditional cigarettes that release smoke from burned tobacco, some studies show the e-cigarettes users are more dependent on nicotine than conventional smokers.

E-cigarettes also contain dangerous chemicals such as diacetyl, vitamin E acetate, and some heavy metals that if inhaled can injure lungs. While there is some evidence that e-cigarettes can be used as a tool to stop or decrease traditional smoking, most doctors caution that e-cigarettes should not be used as a stand-alone approach to smoking cessation because it is likely to fail on its own as a stop-smoking therapy. In cases where vaping is used as a last resort to reduce traditional smoking dependency, it should be under the advice of a medical doctor and in conjunction with other therapies designed to reduce dependence on cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are bad for the environment and e-liquids can explode. Additionally, the toxins they contain are hazardous to human health. Vaping can harm lung function, hinder the immune system, negatively affect healing, and lead to conditions such as COPD. And there can be a whole host of other problems associated with long-term use that have yet to be exposed, such as possible increased mouth and lung cancer rates among users. Plus, not only is nicotine known to be addictive, but it can harm brain development in adolescents. Thus, the FDA has not authorized any electronic nicotine replacement system as a tool to help people quit smoking. In fact, they have been aggressive in going after companies targeting kids for the product.

Though vaping is considered less harmful than smoking, it is not considered a safe practice and thus remains a public health concern. For optimal health, it is best to live in a tobacco-free home and avoid exposure to nicotine products whenever possible. Rather than turn to cigarette substitutes that can increase addiction to nicotine, talk to your doctor about safer alternatives to quitting smoking, including counseling, medications, and natural therapies. To learn more information about the dangers of vaping and associated health risks, visit www.fda.gov/tobacco

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