Vaping is not a safe alternative to traditional cigarette smoking. Vaping involves the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) devices in place of traditional cigarette sticks. An e-cigarette contains liquid (e-liquid), which is heated to vapor by the device. Apart from the device been portable and fashionable, the e-liquid/vapor is flavored, making it more attractive and acceptable to many, especially the youths. Some e-liquid contains varying amounts of nicotine, flavor and many other unlabeled chemicals. Some contains marijuana.
An e-cigarette is the preferred cigarette among today’s teens; the number of teen-users has increased significantly in recent years. Some of the reasons for popular use of e-cigarette among teens are the trendy nature of the device, the ease of purchase, the pleasant flavors and the misconceived ideas that it is safe. Health Canada survey showed that about 1 in every five students in Grades 7-12 had used an e-cigarette. While almost all of these students believe that e-cigarette is safe, only a few know it contains nicotine and possibly marijuana. Globally, the population of people that vape increased from seven million in 2011 to 35 million in 2016.
Unfortunately, the success of several years of the campaign against cigarette smoking is being reversed by e-cigarette use and particularly among youths.
Vaping is not safe. It is dangerous to your health. Vaping kills and could kill you. Vaping could kill faster than traditional cigarette smoking. Avoid vaping!
There has been an increasing number of deaths and illnesses attributed to vaping in the last few months. According to the Centre for Disease Control ‘s report in mid-October 2019, vaping has killed 26 people and made 1,300 more sick in the United States. Vaping -related illness became a reportable illness in British Columbia on September 2019. By mid-October, the province had reported the existence of at least one probable vaping-related illness and seven others were being investigated. Similarly, the provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec had also reported two and one severe vaping-related lung illness, respectively. More cases of vaping-related illness are expected. These have disproved and debunked the initial belief that vaping is safe.
The fact that some of the chemicals contained in e-liquids are not made known to the public is a big concern. Apart from the original chemicals in this liquid, new chemicals are formed when the device heats it. Some harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, acrolein, metal particles such as nickel, tin and aluminum are present in vape. Some of these toxic chemicals are used in antifreeze, and some could cause cancer. E-liquid is poisonous when touched, sniffed and swallowed. Several cases of e-liquid poisoning have been reported in children, especially in children less than 5 years. The e-liquid of different e-cigarette brands contains varying amounts of nicotine. JUUL is a famous brand, and a pod of JUUL’s e-liquid could contain up to 5% nicotine, which is equivalent to one pack of cigarettes. Nicotine is highly addictive and poisonous when a large dose is swallowed. Nicotine increases blood pressure, heart rate and breath rate, which could worsen heart diseases, hypertension, and arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm). E-liquid also contains flavoring agents, including diacetyl. Long term exposure to diacetyl causes bronchiolitis obliterans (popcorn lung). Hence people that vape is at risk of developing this dreaded chronic lung disease.
It is now evident that vaping is not a safer alternative to traditional cigarette smoking. Apart from the fact that its long-term health implications remain unknown, it has killed at least 26 people in the last few weeks. And it is essential to note that vaping is not part of Health Canada’s recommended methods of quitting traditional cigarette smoking.
Vaping is very popular among teens. Unfortunately, this is the same age- group that is most vulnerable to deleterious effects of vaping. Vaping is a high-risk behavior of starting traditional cigarette smoking. A study reported that about 30.7 per cent of teens that vapes become new cigarette smokers within six months. Though the tobacco and Vaping Product Act prohibits selling vaping products to anyone under the age of 18 years, the ease of dispense and purchase of e-cigarette has encouraged many youths to vape. The teen years are a critical time in brain and habit development. Nicotine and other chemicals in vaping products affect the development of brain functions that control learning, cognition, attention and addiction tendency. A teen that vapes is at high risk of developing mood disorders, poor impulse control, impaired memory, learning and concentration status, cognitive and behavioral problem and drug-seeking habit.
There is much discussion going at the moment on how to control the menace of vaping. Some states in the United States are considering banning the use of vaping products in their states. Several educational campaigns and resources on vaping are now available. Health Canada had launched a vaping awareness program for high school children, titled Consider the Consequences of Vaping. Parents are encouraged to live by example and to talk with their children about vaping and its dangers. Is recommended that people at risk of vaping should consult their health professional for advice.
Remember, just like traditional cigarette smoking, vaping kills! In addition, vaping could kill faster than traditional cigarette smoking.