The tobacco industry and its advertising initiatives have a long-standing reputation for creating public campaigns on the sexiness of smoking. While the methods of smoking may have changed, the deceptive messaging remains the same.
Tobacco producers and paraphernalia manufacturers want consumers to believe there is a coolness about smoking cigarettes, whether old school or e-version, but make no mistake: Smoking and the dangers of vaping are very real.
Controversy and Glamour Entice Young Adults to the Vaping Community
Vaping was coined in 2003 when the e-cigarette was invented by Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik.
How does vaping work? It begins when the user heats a liquid within an electronic device, creating a vapor which is then inhaled.
While many marketing ploys depict this as a harmless water vapor, research from many sources provides evidence that this vapor distributes tiny, destructive particles into the lungs. The cause for concern continues.
In 2014, a study, published by the New England Journal of Medicine, stated that e-cigarettes are a “gateway drug for nicotine addiction and other drugs.” This study engaged many levels of scientific thought, theory, and fact through epidemiology, psychology, and molecular biology.
Side Effects of Vaping
If you are considering the act of vaping or are already a user, find out the typical side effects that can go along with the experience and see if any of them are familiar to you:
- Dry Skin
- Dry Mouth
- Rash/Burning Sensation on Face
- Puffy/Dry Eyes
- Caffeine Sensitivity
- Minor Bloody Nose Issues
Now that you know some of what you can expect as a byproduct of vaping, perhaps some if its luster is lost. For some, these typical side effects may seem like no big deal – but the associated health issues from vaping don’t stop there.
The Dangers of Vaping Heat Up Over Time
What is more alarming is the rate of young adults who opt to vape. Whether through atomizers, vaporizers, vape pens, e-cigarettes or another electronic nicotine-delivery system, the dangers of vaping are more pronounced in younger generations. Why?
Vaping is not an alternative to traditional cigarette smoking but another way to answer a nicotine craving.
Contrary to widespread misconception, traditional smoking and vaping bear similar hazards to human health, but to what extent?
The scientific research in this area is still new, but so far the similarities are disturbing.
Vaping Diminishes the Rate of Healing
A toxicologist from the University of Rochester in New York, Irfan Rahman, formulated a research study, measuring the effects of vaping on young adults. His results showed the act of vaping inflames normally healthy cells in the mouth, leading to gum disease. If left untreated, continued vaping can result in tooth loss. But Rahman didn’t stop there.
Is there a correlation between vape heat and cell health beyond the mouth? The toxicologist followed the path of vapor into the lungs. Lung cell damage was evident in study participants but with another surprising development: The damaged cells were slow to heal.
Rahman and his team discovered this by growing lung cells, fibroblasts, in their laboratory. During the experiment, the cells were dissected and then subjected to e-cigarette vapors.
Evidence in other recent studies shows vaping compromises immune system function. Physical symptoms readily show the damage done by vaping and some health care industry circles believe these vapors emit chemicals that can lead to cancer.
Vape Reality, Drip by Drip
There are varied practices in vaping. For the user, these choices create a hot mess of increased risks. When a user vapes, the hotter the liquid gets, the more the damage to the body is exacerbated. One such method that demonstrates the dangers of vaping is found in dripping.
With dripping, users turn up the heat to get a more intense rate of the substance. What follows is a more intense rate of harm to human tissue.
So what’s the allure behind the drip? Users profess to get more in less time: more smoke, more flavor, more pleasing sensation to the throat…but at what cost?
Here’s what else users get more of with dripping:
- Formaldehyde (carcinogen)
- Acetaldehyde (carcinogen)
The dangers of vaping are especially daunting for teenagers and young adults because their personal belief system often supports a sense of immortality. They feel they can do anything without repercussion. Vaping can quickly diminish that belief by creating a harsh reality.
Vaping Forces Users to Cough Up the Truth
If you vape or know someone who does, it’s more than likely that coughing has come into play. Similar to “smoker’s cough,” the particles within the vapor continue to cause tissue damage as they move from the mouth into the lungs. The body responds by prompting a cough.
Dr. Rob McConnell, Professor of Preventative Medicine at USC and Director of the Southern California Environmental Health Center, had growing concerns about the dangers of vaping. As an epidemiologist, he dedicates his practice to the study of environmental issues, particularly air pollution, and how they affect children.
McConnell decided to study how vaping changes the health of its users, with focus on high school and college-aged students. He was looking for similarities in how traditional cigarette smoke exposes the user to harmful irritants and an increased risk for chronic bronchitis – the same irritants found in vaping.
A group of 2,000 kids in 11th and 12th grade from Los Angeles, CA were involved in the study, admitting to varied levels of vaping activity. Study participants were asked about their current health and if a cold, flu or a daily cough was present. Individuals were then separated into subsets of the study, using their associated health status as the measurement of vaping risks.
Measurement of vaping within McConnell’s study included:
- 25% of participants vaped
- 40% of those who vaped had done so within the last 30 days
At the conclusion of the study, its findings showed that compared to those who never vaped, participants who did vape were likely to have chronic bronchitis, also known as smoker’s cough.
Unfortunately, over time, chronic bronchitis can lead to permanent lung damage in those who smoke cigarettes.
Will this be the same accounting for people who vape? Time will tell.
If Your Body Talks, It’s Time to Listen
Common sense can provide a guideline for greater wellness. A persistent cough, nosebleeds, mouth sores or any of the other side effects listed should be cause enough to question the temporary, sensory benefits of vaping.
If science is beginning to draw correlations between the harmful effects of nicotine cigarettes and the dangers of vaping, it would stand to reason that evidence of other health risks will follow.
What about heart health?
According to the director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at UCSF, Stanton Glantz, “e-cigarettes can have a substantial effect on blood vessels, and may increase people’s heart attack risk.”
Vaping Often Supports Other Addictions
If this article has you second-guessing the fascination about vaping, read it again or share it to remove all doubt about the dangers of vaping.
Should you decide to quit vaping, consider doing so under the supervision of your doctor, as there are withdrawal symptoms during detox that can cause discomfort.