Numerous studies have proved just how bad smoking is for your health. The tar and other harmful chemicals in cigarettes can cause cancer and wreak havoc on your body. The nicotine added to cigarettes is addictive and keeps people smoking because of habit. Some ask whether low-tar or low-nicotine cigarettes are better; unfortunately, many people end up smoking even more to maintain levels of nicotine.
A new trend that has surged among smokers and non-smokers is vaping or the use of e-cigarettes, especially among youth. Studies found that by 2018, 3.6 million kids were vaping, which was a 78% increase from the previous year. In 2019, the FDA discovered that more than five million youth used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, with one million reporting daily use.
But, are these actually healthy? What impact does this activity have on your body?
E-Cigarettes: Not Necessarily a Healthy Choice
One enormous problem in this market is that e-cigarettes are not regulated. The Food and Drug Administration has found that the nicotine amounts found in each product do not always match the product label. Like with cigarettes, this can cause users to become addicted to using the product, the main goal of producers wanting to increase sales.
While carcinogens and toxicants are lower in e-cigarettes than in regular cigarettes, they do exist. According to the American Cancer Society, “The aerosol from an e-cigarette can contain nicotine and other substances that are addictive and can cause lung disease, heart disease, and cancer. Again, it is important to know that all JUULs and most other e-cigarettes contain nicotine. There is evidence that nicotine harms the brain development of teenagers.”
Furthermore, the organization notes that e-cigarettes may contain the following chemicals.
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs): This can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, and nausea. VOCs can also damage the liver, kidney, and nervous system.
- Flavoring chemicals: Some flavors are more toxic than others, but studies show that some contain varying levels of diacetyl, which has been linked to bronchiolitis obliterans, a serious lung disease.
- Formaldehyde: This substance can cause cancer. It forms if e-liquid overheats or not enough liquid is reaching the heating element (known as a “dry-puff”).
The most complicated part of assessing the impact of e-cigarettes is the lack of regulation, which means we don’t know exactly which chemicals and at what levels are in these products. Furthermore, since vaping is relatively new, there are no long-term studies on the impact of e-cigarettes.
How to Quit E-Cigarette Use
It’s important to be honest with your physician about any smoking or vaping. Your doctor always needs a holistic look at your health, so be honest at every visit. There are many resources to stop e-cigarette use. Furthermore, there are FDA-approved medications that can help curb nicotine addiction, which makes quitting easier.