Since the introduction of electronic cigarettes or e-cigs to the U.S. market in 2007, their use continues to grow. Cigarette smoking is among the leading causes of diseases and deaths in the United States, and although there has been a decline in smoking, e-cigarettes vaping has become the new trend. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that six million people around the globe die due to cigarette smoking, a figure that will rise to eight million by the year 2030.
Facts About E-Cigarettes
Electronic cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vapes, or vaporizers are battery-powered tobacco products that heat a liquid containing nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals like glycerin, glycol, and propylene.
Unlike traditional cigarettes, vapes don’t actually produce smoke. Instead, they burn the liquid nicotine into vapor. Smokers sort to use e-cigarettes as the better alternative to original cigarettes, with the belief that they are safer. But, new reports by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now show that e-cigarette use is a major public health concern. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, there was an alarming increase of up to 900 percent of e-cigarette use among high school students between 2011 and 2015.
This rise is attributed to e-cigarettes being allowed to be advertised on TV and their many appealing flavors. The American Lung Association reports that e-cigarette vaping among kids has become an epidemic. With new findings of long term and short-term effects of vapes, we need drastic changes quickly to avert a major crisis in the general public.
The American Lung Association warns that if not addressed promptly, we could lose a whole generation to tobacco-caused diseases such as lung disease and lung damage.
Health Implications of E-Cigarette Use Exposure to Toxins
In a study to investigate the effects of inhaling the liquid nicotine to the body, researchers from the University of North Carolina discovered that, propylene glycol and glycerin, the two primary chemicals in e-cigs increase exposure of toxins to users. Even in small doses, inhaling these chemicals have devastating consequences on your body. The National Cancer Institute states that e-cigarettes contain more than 250 harmful chemicals, with more than 50 that cause cancer.
In another research by the National Academics of Science, Engineering and Medicine, they found that e-cigarette use among the youth and young adults raised their risks of using traditional cigarettes. The nicotine in e-cigarettes triggers the release of dopamine, the feel-good brain chemical, which makes you want more. It was estimated that 40 percent of young e-cigarettes users who would’ve otherwise never smoked took to vaping as it seemed “cool”. These findings show that a new generation is getting hooked to nicotine without smoking regular tobacco.
In youths and young adults, brain development is still in its formative years, with some portions still developing. Introducing nicotine to the body at such an age increases the risk of developing certain conditions such as cognitive impairment and psychiatric disorders in later years. When nicotine gets to the brain, it mainly affects the parts responsible for memory, learning, and attention. In adolescents, nicotine reduces brain activities which negatively impacts memory and concentration.
Nicotine Affects Your Heart
Although e-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco, they still have nicotine as the primary ingredient. Nicotine is a stimulant that increases your heart rate and could potentially cause high blood pressure. Vaping still exposes users to nicotine-related heart problems by damaging heart cells, thereby leading to various heart diseases. People with heart disease are at even greater risk when they introduce this stimulant to their bodies.
Risk of Poisoning
Swallowing the liquid-concentrated nicotine puts you and your child at an elevated risk of poisoning. There are reports of children dying after ingesting this liquid. Children don’t understand what the liquid is or its health risks, and may, therefore, not see any reason not to drink it. It’s advisable that if you use e-cigarettes around children, you practice caution to avoid putting their lives in danger.
E-Cigarettes May Not Help You Quit Smoking
The FDA has not approved e-cigarettes as smoking cessation tools. Although they may be safer alternatives to traditional smokes because of the lack of tobacco, there is no conclusive research to prove this theory. On the contrary, several studies found that e-cigarette use increased the likelihood of people who haven’t smoked traditional cigarettes to take up the habit.
Can I Quit Smoking?
Tobacco and nicotine addiction can be stopped if you get support from FDA-approved support groups and medications. One such group is the Lung Association’s Freedom from Smoking Program. Traditional cigarette and e-cigarette smokers know that secondhand emissions containing nicotine particles, flavors and other organic compounds such as benzene can lead to deaths. The good news is that quitting smoking is never too late and the sooner you quit, the sooner your body starts to repair itself.
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