Vaping has been making headlines recently. Vaping is also a reason for lung ailments and deaths in the United States, in case you didn't already know. There are many more dangers to vaping than these. The following is a rundown of everything you'll need to know.
Vaping devices come in many shapes and sizes. Some look like cigarettes or cigars, and some are like pens or USB memory sticks. They are also called e-cigarettes, vape pens, and e-hookahs, among other names.
Most vaping devices work the same way, even if they look different. A battery-powered heating device is turned on when you puff. The device heats the liquid in a cartridge, turning it into vapors that can inhale.
Chemicals get into the lungs when someone vapes. These may include the main active substances in tobacco (nicotine) or marijuana (THC), flavorings, and other ingredients added to vaping liquids. Also, during the process of vaporizing, it can make other chemicals.
"If the liquid has nicotine in it, the user is inhaling nicotine along with the other ingredients in the liquid," says Dr. Thomas Eissenberg, an expert on tobacco research at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Even though vaping devices all work the same way, some are stronger than others. They put out more chemicals and make more vapor.
How safe is it to vape? Studies show that people who smoke regularly may be less likely to get sick if they switch to nicotine vaping as a complete replacement. Even so, vaping nicotine could still hurt your health.
Eissenberg says, "Your lungs can not deal with the constant challenge of breathing in non-air, sometimes as many as 200 puffs a day, day after day, week after week, year after year."
"You're inhaling propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, flavorings meant to be eaten but not inhaled, and nicotine," he says. "And all those are heated in this little reactor, which is an e-cigarette. When heated, these parts can change into other chemicals that could be dangerous.
Vitamin E acetate, a thickener sometimes added to vape products containing THC, could be a harmful chemical. The CDC called it a "chemical of concern" for people with lung injuries caused by vaping. They say to avoid vaping products with Vitamin E acetate or THC, especially if you got them from friends, family, or dealers in person or online.
Studies have shown that teens who vape nicotine may be more likely to start smoking regular cigarettes. Teens are now more likely to vape than to smoke traditional cigarettes. One in four high school seniors said they vaped nicotine last month.
Teens are also doing a lot more vaping with marijuana. About 20% of high school seniors used vaping to get high in the last year. The rates have increased by more than 100% in the past two years.
The goal of the new laws is to stop teens from vaping. People must now be 21 years old to buy tobacco, including vaping products. And companies can no longer make and sell flavors like fruit and mint that children like.
It's never too late to stop smoking or vaping, even if you've already started. See the box labeled "Wise Choices" for tips on how to control.