The prevalence of vaping has grown in recent years, especially among the youth. With a lot of misinformation swirling around, it can be hard to know what vapes look like, what they are or how dangerous they can be. Vape companies often tout their products as “safe” in relation to smoking, but what are the facts?
Most E-Cigarettes Contain Nicotine
Nicotine is the addictive substance found in traditional tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco and other tobacco products. Research suggests nicotine may be as addictive as heroin and cocaine. Using nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control. Use of nicotine at an early age increases the likelihood of addiction; not only to vape products, but to other substances as a whole. Many e-cigarette users get more nicotine than they would from a tobacco product through buying extra-strength cartridges, with higher concentration of nicotine. Nicotine is a toxic substance that can raise blood pressure and spike adrenaline, both can increase chances of heart conditions.
…And that’s not the only thing they contain
A common misconception around vaping is that it’s only “water vapor.” Vaping is not harmless water vapor. In fact, it can contain:
- Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs
- Flavorings such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease
- Volatile organic compounds
- Cancer-causing chemicals
- Heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead
Even vaping products that claim to have “zero percent nicotine” often still have nicotine in them. All of these substances and chemicals can irritate and damage the lungs. Vaping products are not regulated by any agency in the US, so the buyer does not what they are buying.
These Products Are Directly Aimed at Youth
Developing brains are more susceptible to addiction and e-cigarettes essentially provide a smoke-free way to inhale nicotine. As previously noted, use of nicotine at an early age can have damaging effects on the body and brain. We know the youth choose to vape for a few reasons. Firstly, many teens believe that vaping is less harmful than smoking. Secondly, e-cigarettes have a lower per-use cost than traditional cigarettes. Finally, vape cartridges are often formulated with flavorings such as apple pie, watermelon, or mint that appeal to younger users. Research also shows that when adolescents begin using vape products, they are more likely to use traditional tobacco products later in life.
Vape companies care about one thing, profit. They are not interested in the safety of their product, who is consuming their products and the lives of those affected by vaping. Their primary concern is to add more clients and keep their current clientele coming back for more through addiction. Avoid the dangers of vaping and make the choice to live a healthy, substance-free lifestyle.
Blaha, M. J. (n.d.). 5 vaping facts you need to know. Johns Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/5-truths-you-need-to-know-about-vaping.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, July 7). Quick facts on the risks of e-cigarettes for kids, teens, and young adults. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/Quick-Facts-on-the-Risks-of-E-cigarettes-for-Kids-Teens-and-Young-Adults.html?s_cid=OSH_emg_GL0004#why-is-nicotine-unsafe.
Northwestern Medicine. (n.d.). Dangers of vaping. Northwestern Medicine. https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/emotional-health/vaping-4-risks-for-kids.