Vaping is when you use an electronic device that heats liquid chemicals (“e-juice”) into a mist you breathe in. It contains nicotine and other harmful chemicals that can cause lung damage and affect brain growth and concentration, especially in youths. Research shows teens who vape are more likely to start smoking regular cigarettes later. Encourage the young people in your life to live vape-free lives.
As with any new technology, many researches are proving that vaping can have negative health effects. However, the long-term effects of vaping are still unknown. Many researchers have studied the issue and, based on laboratory conditions that don’t mimic real-world situations, have found no clear evidence of harm.
Others have found that e-cigarette smoke can damage DNA, which could lead to cancer. However, these findings need to be replicated under more realistic conditions.
The good news is that if you’re able to kick your smoking habit, vaping can be a healthier alternative. It can help you get rid of the rituals and routines of traditional smoking, as well as the lingering nicotine cravings that may be hard to shake. You can choose from a wide variety of flavors to keep your mouth busy, which is an essential factor for adult smokers who successfully quit cigarettes. People who switch to vaping are about twice as likely to quit smoking compared to those who use other nicotine replacement products like patches or gums.
Nicotine, which is found in most e-liquids, harms your lungs. It can damage the air sacs, cause breathing problems, and weaken your ability to fight germs. It’s also known to slow brain development in teens and disrupt memory, concentration, decision-making, and self-control.
Chemicals in e-liquid can also damage your lungs. One chemical called diacetyl, used in some flavorings, causes bronchiolitis obliterans (“popcorn lung”). It’s been linked to severe lung disease and even death.
Other chemicals in e-liquid can damage your heart and kidneys. For example, nicotine raises your blood pressure, increases triglycerides, and narrows your arteries. This can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and other serious health conditions.
Some people can have sudden and severe lung damage from vaping, known as EVALI (e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury). It’s most common in young people. It can result in severe coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pain.
Although long-term vaping is not as well studied as regular cigarettes, some research shows it can harm the brain. The main chemical in e-cigarettes is nicotine, and it can cause problems in the brain that lead to mood disorders, memory loss, and poor impulse control.
In addition, nicotine can trigger inflammation in the blood vessels of the brain. This can be especially damaging in adolescence when the brain is still developing. The team found that even one puff caused a stiffening of the inner lining of the arteries, a condition called endothelial dysfunction. This causes reduced blood flow to the brain and can also raise heart rates. Inflammation in the lungs, brain, and heart can be dangerous for anyone. But it’s particularly harmful for teens and young adults, who are more likely to try e-cigarettes than older people.
Nicotine from e-cigarettes is addictive and can affect the brain development of teenagers. It can also trigger symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, making them feel depressed, anxious, irritable, or unfocused. Vapor from e-cigarettes may contain chemicals that are toxic to the lungs, including aldehydes and traces of metal, which can play a role in diseases like cancer. Teens who vape often start to smoke regular cigarettes and can be at a higher risk for developing emphysema and COPD.
Many people consider e-cigarettes to be safer than traditional cigarettes because they don’t cause secondhand smoke, they are less expensive and have no smell. They’re popular among teens who find them more appealing because they can use them in public places, have a variety of flavors, and are not subject to age restrictions. However, the lack of scientifically sound studies that mimic real-world conditions makes it hard to know how long-term vaping will affect a person’s health.
Flavors like cotton candy, cupcakes, and tutti frutti conjure carefree days as a kid, but they’re used to lace e-cigarettes with chemicals that can cause serious lung damage. Scientists at the University of San Diego and Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System found that the vapor from flavored e-cigarette liquid damages human airway cells that absorb inhaled chemicals and harmful organisms. These cells are known as alveolar macrophages, and they’re like street sweepers for the lungs, continually devouring bacteria and foreign matter that enters the body.
The scientists also found that exposing healthy mice to puffs of vanilla-flavored vapor disrupted normal heart rate variability (the up and down variations in the time interval between each heartbeat) and caused a dangerously fast heart rhythm and ventricular tachycardia. The scientists identified the specific chemical ingredients responsible for this heart damage.