You’ve seen all the anti-smoking commercials and Surgeon General warnings. It’s common knowledge that smoking isn’t good for your body. But what about vaping? Is it a safer alternative, or is it just as dangerous as smoking cigarettes?
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid to form vapors which users inhale – hence the term “vaping.” It’s illegal for anyone under 21, or 18 or 19 in some states, to purchase e-cigarettes. These devices can be used for nicotine to replace cigarettes; however, nicotine is still addictive and brain-damaging even in this form. In fact, accidental exposure to liquid from e-cigs has also caused acute nicotine poisoning in children and adults. Vaping also increases one’s likelihood of starting to smoke cigarettes.
Additionally, some substances found in e-cig vapor have been linked to an increased risk of cancer. The CDC and FDA are investigating vaping and its links to lung problems. Currently, there are over 350 known cases of severe lung disease among e-cigarette users across 22 states. Most of these cases are among teens and young adults. Symptoms typically start gradually, with shortness of breath and chest pain leading to severe difficulty breathing and hospitalization. Experts don’t know if vaping is the cause of these problem, but believe it is likely a chemical irritation or allergic/immune reaction to chemicals in the inhaled vapors.
There’s a lot we don’t know yet about vaping, but if you’re trying to quit smoking, think twice before switching to e-cigarettes. Nicotine patches and tobacco cessation programs (often offered by employers’ Employee Assistance Programs!) can be a great first step to quitting entirely. Quitting may be hard, but your body will thank you!
Content by Lockton Dunning Benefits with info from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/can-vaping-damage-your-lungs-what-we-do-and-dont-know-2019090417734