E-cigarette use or vaping is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to smoking cigarettes. Is it really helpful for quitting smoking or as a safer alternative to smoking? For teens, in particular, vaping can be harmful, possibly even more so than smoking. Here are some facts to consider:
•Nicotine use can disrupt the formation of brain circuits that control attention, learning, and susceptibility to addiction
•Long-term effects of exposure include mood disorders and permanent lowering of impulse control
•Some of the chemicals in e-liquids are known to cause cancer in humans
•Heavy metals have been found in e-cigarette aerosol and can cause respiratory distress and disease
•Some chemicals that flavor e-cigarettes have been linked to a permanent lung disease, “popcorn lung.”
•The liquid for e-cigarettes can contain high enough levels of nicotine to cause nicotine poisoning
•E-cigarette batteries have been known to explode and cause burns and other injuries
•Even if an e-cigarette is labeled “nicotine free,” it contains nicotine; there are no rules about how e-juice is made; there is no way to know exactly what is in an e-cigarette
•Every JUUL pod contains nicotine, and some can contain as much as an entire pack of cigarettes
•Besides nicotine, e-cigarettes can contain other harmful ingredients:
*Flavorants such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to permanent lung injury, bronchiolitis obliterans.
*volatile organic compounds, such as benzene, found in car exhaust
*heavy metals, including nickel, tin, chromium, and lead
*acrolein, a herbicide used to kill weeds that can cause lung injury, including COPD, asthma, and lung cancer
*propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, which are toxic to cells; the more ingredients in an e-liquid, the greater the toxicity
•The aerosol inhaled from these products is often a mixture of nicotine, formaldehyde, and acrolein.
•E-cigarette vapor is not harmless water vapor.
•JUUL pods are the same as e-cigarettes and carry the same risks.
•Vaping is highly addictive and can harm the developing adolescent brain.
•No e-cigarette has been found to be safe and effective to help people quit smoking.
So, in conclusion, vaping and e-cigarettes are not a safe alternative, and can actually cause more harm than smoking cigarettes. It is best to avoid both.
If you need help quitting, your healthcare provider can help with information and strategies for "kicking the habit."
•CDC Office on Smoking and Health
•American Lung Association (Lung.org)