The clouds of vapour are often spotted from a distance. If not seen, the smell of strawberry cupcakes or bubble gum milkshake will soon fill the air. Vaping has gained immense popularity over the past few years, and everyone from teenagers to lifelong smokers have taken up the habit, blowing billowing clouds of vapour into the air.
The possible dangers and side-effects of vaping:
While initially touted as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes, mounting evidence has shed light on the possible dangers and side-effects of vaping. It’s vital for anyone who vapes or is considering it as a means of helping them quit smoking, to be aware of all the potential risks and to make informed decisions regarding their health.
Here’s a look at five potential side-effects of vaping, and why it’s not the harmless habit it was initially made out to be.
One of the main, and most obvious, concerns about vaping is the impact it has on respiratory health. While long-term studies can’t be concluded, as it’s such a new phenomenon, a lot of the aerosolised particles in a vape can contain harmful chemicals and heavy metals.
Studies have also linked vaping to lung inflammation. This increases the user’s risk of developing breathing problems and having asthma attacks.
Just like smoking, vaping can be detrimental to your cardiovascular system. Studies have shown that vaping liquid with added nicotine raised blood pressure and spikes adrenaline levels, which increases your heart rate and the chance of having a heart attack. One study also found that chronic e-cigarettes users had impaired blood vessel function. This may put them at increased risk of heart disease.
Vaping liquids aren’t fully regulated. This means that some may contain a dangerous cocktail of chemicals. Studies have found pollutants, such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and nitrosamines in e-cigarette vapour. These pose a significant health risk to the user and can lead to cancer. Because the long-term effects vaping are unknown, further health complications can still arise.
Findings published in the US Surgeon General’s Report on e-cigarettes*, noted that diacetyl is added to some vape liquid, which destroys the airways in the lungs and can cause bronchiolitis obliterans, more commonly known as popcorn lung. Symptoms include shortness of breath, dry cough, and wheezing.
The popularity of vaping among teenagers and young adults has skyrocketed. The range of flavours, the alluring design of the vapes themselves, marketing tactics, and peer pressure have all contributed to the creation of a whole new generation of people addicted to nicotine. This, essentially, means that vapes can become a gateway to old-fashioned cigarette smoking.
Vaping always held a false promise. It was never going to be an alternative to smoking for everyone. It has simply created a new generation of people addicted to nicotine and caught them at their most vulnerable. Vaping can also cause a whole host of possible health problems for vapers.
The most important thing that anyone who is vaping, or considering it as an alternative to smoking, can do is to educate themselves. Read up as much as you can. Find out if you have genetic risk factors that can be exacerbated by vaping. Read peer-reviewed studies on vaping and consider as many alternatives as possible before making the decision to start vaping.
Your health is your wealth. Protect it, protect yourself, and live a life unchained from unhealthy habits that cost you more than just your hard-earned money.
Visit one of Bestmed’s network pharmacies for cessation aids, like nicotine patches, nicotine gum and over-the-counter lozenges.
Global Allergy & Airways Patient Platform (GAAPP). 2023. Smoking and Vaping with Asthma: Causes, Triggers and More. Available here.
Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM). 2023. 5 Vaping Facts You Need to Know. Available here.
National Institutes of Health (NIH). 2022. NIH-funded studies show damaging effects of vaping, smoking on blood vessels. Available here.
National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine (NIH NLM). 2020. Harmful chemicals emitted from electronic cigarettes and potential deleterious effects in the oral cavity. Available here.
American Lung Association (ALA). 2023. Bronchiolitis Obliterans Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment. Available here.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2016. 2016 Surgeon General’s Report: E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults. Available here.