Vaping: Myths and Truths
There is an outbreak of lung injury from e-cigarette use or vaping. As of Septemeber 17th, the CDC reports 530 cases of lung injury due to the use of e-cigarette or vaping products across the US and its territories. The CDC also reports seven deaths from complications due to vaping across six different states. 1
The CDC said, “No consistent e-cigarette or vaping product, substance, or additive has been identified in all cases, nor has any one product or substance been conclusively linked to lung disease in patients.” 1
There is much we do not yet know about the effects of vaping, and that unknown causes much fear nationwide. Let’s shed some light on what we do know at this time.
Myth #1: Nicotine is the only chemical in vapes.
There is more to vaping than just nicotine. Vaping is a very popular method of marijuana use. Some individuals even vape herbs.
This is especially dangerous because there is not a standard among the types and amounts of chemicals in vaping products. This has also made it difficult to discover the exact harms of vaping. Each user’s experience is different due to different flavors, nicotine levels, and devices.
Myth #2: Nicotine causes cancer.
Nicotine is not a carcinogen. The other chemicals in tobacco products such as formaldehyde and lead, for example, cause cancer. Vape products don’t have these additives which has lead to the false belief that vaping is perfectly safe.
Nicotine is highly addictive, raises blood pressure, and can harm developing adolescent brains.
Myth #3: Vape products are safe because they don’t burn tobacco.
Clearly nicotine itself is not safe, nor is vaping harmless. There are all kinds of things you consume when you vape, many which are not regulated or well understood.
So just what do you inhale while vaping? You get nicotine. Nicotine comes from tobacco, and this is why e-cigarettes are a tobacco product. You also get the solvents, the flavors and heavy traces of metal exposure from the heating coil, as well as other tobacco metabolites.
Secondary concerns include the potential for harder drug use and the mental effects of addiction and dependence. Addiction and nicotine use are closely associated with other health disorders such as depression, stress, and anxiety. Depressions individuals may be more likely to abuse substances. These substances may lead to additional feelings of depression.
Truth #1: Vaping is an epidemic among our youth.
Although not everyone who vapes is a young person, there is a strong culture of vaping among teens and the slightly older Gen-Z adults. Vaping is cleverly marketed as the new thing in smoking, it’s new technology, and it is customizable with trendy colors, flavors, and sleek devices. There is an obvious appeal to it among the younger crowd, complete with the lie for parents that it’s safer than cigarettes.
Truth #2: Not everyone is aware of the dangers of vaping.
The US government, schools, and health organizations do an amazing job of informing our youth about the dangers of smoking cigarettes. Facts and media to inform youth of the harms of the vaping trend, however, are still catching up.
The medical community is fighting to catch up to this fast-growing trend. Research takes time. Until we have evidence which provides clear results for specific vaping regulations, the real dangers of vaping and e-cigarette remain concerningly unknown.
If you need help to break an addiction to nicotine or tobacco products, please reach out to one of our providers. You can find them on our CCMH Provider Directory.
1 Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with E-Cigarette Use, or Vaping.19. Sept. 2019.
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