Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve likely heard about vaping. Vaping is a new, trendy method of smoking that is growing in popularity across the country and throughout the world.
This method uses an e-cigarette, “mod” smoker, or other device to create a vapor that is inhaled. These vapors are often infused with nicotine and mixed with a variety of flavored oils, usually to replicate favorite candies or beverages. These devices usually are made up of a mouthpiece, a cartridge of flavored oil, a battery, and a heated coil that helps turn the oil into vapor.
The vapors produced by these smoking devices don’t contain tobacco. Instead, they are a type of aerosol that contains fine particles of toxic chemicals in varying quantities.
These toxic vapors are commonly mistaken and mislabeled simply as “water vapors.” This, of course, is a marketing tactic used to present a false sense of safety to be associated with the act of vaping.
Is Vaping Bad for You? Know These Facts
Vaping is often recommended as a good way to quit smoking because it cuts out the tobacco and tar. Sometimes, it is even recommended as a weight-loss method because the flavored oils can help cut cravings.
All of this, of course, begs the question: Is vaping bad for you, too?
In determining the answer to this question, there are five very important things you should consider.
Vaping is not approved by the FDA
Currently, the FDA is turning a blind eye to the vaping industry. Does this mean they don’t see it as a potential health risk? No. Instead, the FDA is allowing vape companies to continue to grow in the hopes that they will, eventually, wear down the tobacco industry.
While some might agree that this is a sound move, there are plenty of health advocates that beg to differ. In a May 2018 press release, Erika Sward, assistant vice president of national advocacy for the American Lung Association, said, “We shouldn’t be comparing anything to cigarettes in terms of safety. It’s a fallacy. We should be understanding the impact these kinds of products have on heart health and cardiovascular health.”
Still, the FDA maintains that actual tobacco and tar cigarettes are the most harmful means of taking in nicotine, which is the chemical that smokers are actually addicted to. This means that, while vaping is not necessarily approved, it isn’t being regulated or discouraged at any sort of trackable rate, either.
In short, producers of vape machines and oils are currently not regulated on what or how much of certain chemicals they are including in their products. This is a scary scenario for anyone that is considering breathing these vapors in.
If vaping is bad, then this hands-off approach from the FDA means that it is potentially being made even worse through a lack of government oversight.
There are early indicators that vaping still causes cancer
Recently, scientists posed the same question: Is vaping bad for our health overall?
They decided to conduct an experiment. As part of this study, scientists exposed ten male mice to vapor saturated at 10 milligrams of nicotine from a vape machine for 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 12 weeks. They chose this saturation and time because it is comparable to what the mice would take in if they were human smokers.
They also left a control group of mice in an enclosure with filtered air and no nicotine or vape exposure. At the end of the study, they found that the mice who were exposed to the vape vapors were already presenting significant DNA damage to their bladder, lungs, and hearts.
Based on these findings, the researchers were able to conclude that the exposed mice were more likely to develop cancer in these organs than the mice who were not exposed.
While this study seems to conclude that vaping is bad, there are still those that deny the findings. Still, we have to take the findings at face value.
Is vaping bad in terms of causing cancer? Most likely. Has it been proven to be bad beyond a doubt? No, but why take the risk?
Vaping keeps your body from fighting off infections
When Iona Jaspers (the American Association for Advancement of Science’s leading professor in pediatrics and director of toxicology) was asked the question, “Is vaping bad for you?” she decided to research to find out for herself.
To do this, she and her team assembled a study group of smokers, non-smokers, and vape users and took tissue samples from their nasal cavities. They also collected nasal fluid, blood, and urine for good measure.
Over 600 types of genes exist within the nasal cavity were studied. The most significant finding when they looked at these genes was that the cells related to the immune system showed the greatest change in regards to vaping.
It has long been known that tobacco cigarettes suppress the immune system, but not much research had been done into determining how bad vaping is for the immune system, as well.
Vaping, like tobacco smoking, suppresses hundreds of immune genes within the body. In some cases, vape users seemed to suffer greater immunosuppressant symptoms.
In fact, it appeared that the more “flavorful” the oil, the greater damage was done to the immune system. This, according to Jaspers, could potentially mean worse damage in the tissues of the lungs and heart, although her research did not extend that far into the circulatory system.
Nicotine is still bad for you
There is a commonly held misconception that it’s the tar, not the nicotine, that is the trouble with cigarettes. This has led many to think that vaping is not bad for them because it does not contain the tar and simply provides the nicotine. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth.
After inhaling nicotine in any form, the chemical component of nicotine reaches the brain in less than half a minute and its effects can be felt almost immediately. The chemical binds up a part of the brain called the adrenal medulla. This part of the brain is responsible for managing the flow of adrenaline.
When nicotine gets a hold of this part of the brain, it increases adrenal production. This causes blood pressure to rise, heart rates to fluctuate, and breathing to become unstable. All of this together leads to increased heart and circulatory issues.
It can also negatively affect sleep, keeping you from falling into the deep, restorative sleep cycle that your body needs because your body will remain partially awake, looking for your next “fix” of the chemical.
What’s worse is that nicotine is 5 to 10 times more addictive than morphine or even cocaine in terms of creating false feelings of dependency. This means vaping is bad in terms of a quit-aid. It simply keeps you addicted but to a different method of acquisition.
“Popcorn Lung” is real and dangerous
Popcorn Lung is a disorder that is caused when a person inhales too much of the chemical diacetyl on a regular basis.
It is named Popcorn Lung because it originally was brought to the attention of most people when it started to affect workers in a microwave popcorn factory in the late 90s. The chemical was used, at that time, to add extra buttery flavor and scent to the popcorn to make it more appealing to consumers. Hundreds of workers in the factory developed Bronchiolitis Obliterans (Popcorn Lung) as a result, which caused the popcorn manufacturer to remove diacetyl from its list of ingredients.
So, why is vaping bad? Because nearly all vape oils contain diacetyl as a regular component. Popcorn lung scars the air sacs in the lung, which causes the airways to thicken. As they thicken, they become more narrow. This is very similar to another common lung disorder, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
The name “Popcorn Lung” seems to be unthreatening, but it is actually a potential death sentence.
Because the FDA does not yet regulate vape oils or “e-juice,” the ingredients are not as closely monitored as they should be and suppliers are more interested in providing flavorful and aromatic vapor oils than they are with your health. Because of this, vaping is as bad as cigarette smoking or potentially even worse.
There are Better Alternatives
Because vaping has been marketed as a “quit smoking aid,” despite the fact that vaping is just as bad, the discovery of the health risks of the practice has left a lot of people wondering how they can quit in a healthy way.
Most successful former smokers will agree that vaping is a bad way to quit. Instead, they would most likely tell you that weaning yourself off nicotine with the use of patches or gum is a far better alternative and that consistent discipline and a system of self-rewards will go a long way.
When you want to buy a pack of cigarettes, put that money in a jar, instead. At the end of the month, count the money you have saved and use it to spoil yourself.
In the meantime, remember that nothing is impossible and a little bit of struggling today can add years to the end of your life. It is well worth the sacrifice!