If you remain thinking about nearly trying to quit smoking, you are not alone. Almost 7 in 10 smokers say they want to leave. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health – smoking harms almost every organ in your body, including your heart. Almost a third of heart disease deaths are due to smoking and secondhand smoke.
You might be tempted to turn to electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes, vape pens, and other vaping devices) as a way to ease the transition from traditional cigarettes to quitting smoking. But are smoking electronic cigarettes (also known as vaping) better for you than using tobacco products? Can electronic cigarettes help you quit smoking once and for all? Michael Blaha, M.D., M.P.H., Director of Clinical Research at Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease, shares information on vaping health.
1: Vaping Is Less Unsafe Than Smoking, But It’s Still Not Safe
Electronic cigarettes heat nicotine (extracted from tobacco), flavors, and other chemicals to create an aerosol that you inhale. Regular tobacco cigarettes contain 7,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic. While we don’t know exactly what chemicals are in e-cigarettes, Blaha says “there’s almost no doubt that they expose you to fewer toxic chemicals than traditional cigarettes.”
However, there has also been an epidemic of lung damage and death associated with vaping. As of January 21, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) have confirmed 60 deaths of patients with lung damage associated with electronic cigarettes or vaping (EVALI).
“These cases seem to primarily concern people who modify their vaping devices or use modified e-liquids on the black market. This is especially true for vaping products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (T.H.C.),” explains Blaha.
The C.D.C. has identified vitamin E acetate as a chemical of concern in people with EVALI. Vitamin E acetate is a thickening agent often used in T.H.C. vaping products, and it has been found in all lung fluid samples from EVALI patients reviewed by the C.D.C.
The c.d.c. Recommends that people:
Do not use electronic cigarettes or vaping products that contain T.H.C.
Avoid using informal sources, such as friends, family, or online dealers to obtain a vaping device.
Do not modify or add substances to a vaping device that are not intended by the manufacturer.
2: Research Suggests Vaping Is Bad For Your Heart And Lungs
Although, Nicotine is the main agent in regular cigarettes and electronic cigarettes, and it is highly addictive. It causes you to want to smoke and suffer withdrawal symptoms if you ignore the urge to smoke. Nicotine is also a toxic substance. But, It increases your blood pressure and increases your adrenaline, which increases your heart rate and the likelihood of having a heart attack.
Is vaping bad for you? There are many unknowns to vaping, including what chemicals makeup vapor and how they affect long-term physical health. “People need to understand that electronic cigarettes are potentially harmful to health,” says Blaha. “Emerging data suggest links with chronic lung disease and asthma and associations between dual e-cigarette use and smoking with cardiovascular disease. You are exposing yourself to all kinds of chemicals that we don’t yet understand and probably aren’t safe.
3: Electronic Cigarettes Are Just As Addictive As Traditional Cigarettes
E-cigarettes and regular cigarettes contain nicotine, which research shows can be as addicting as heroin and cocaine. Worse, says Blaha, many e-cigarette users get even more nicotine than they would from a tobacco product – you can buy extra strong cartridges, which have a higher concentration of nicotine, or you can increase the voltage of the electronic cigarette to get a closer shot of the stuff.
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