17 Sep Vaping
So what exactly is vaping and how is it different or the same from smoking? Great questions! We are so glad you asked.
Vaping refers to the use of electronic cigarettes. These devices are referred to as vape pens, Juuls or Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS). Yes, read that lastly one very carefully as it is the most truthful: all of these vaping devices are simply nicotine delivery systems. They are a way for people to inhale nicotine.
E-cigarettes were first developed as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes. Because no tobacco is burned, the toxins created by the smoke are not present and therefore not ingested into the body. This is actually great news, because that does mean that IN THIS RESPECT vaping is better for your body than smoking.
But, vaping isn’t toxin-free as many have suggested. As you learned in the last sub-post, nicotine is addictive, particularly for the developing teen brain, and ENDS contain nicotine. In addition, “aerosols produced by e-cigarettes and vaping devices are also harmful to the lungs and contain toxic cancer-causing chemicals and other harmful agents such as volatile substances, ultra-fine particles, and heavy metals like nickel, tin and lead.”
In fact, research has shown that teens who vape have harmful toxins in their bodies as a result. Urine analysis of teens who vape show increased presence of 5 different toxins, all of which are known or suspected carcinogens.
Bottom line: Vaping is highly addictive and it’s toxic. Don’t believe otherwise.
Advocates of ENDS point out that these devices can help adults who smoke quit their smoking habit. Indeed, the devices were first developed with this goal in mind and among adults that vape, 29.8% were former smokers and 58.8% smoked both.
However, in the U.S. youth are more likely than adults to use these products. They are the way that teens start to smoke and teens who vape are also much more likely to eventually smoke. Plus, many people point out that the vaping companies, like Juul, seem to market directly to teens and not adults. They sell flavored products, such as bubble gum and watermelon, that attract a younger market while their advertisements make Juuling look fashionable and “cool”. The majority of the advertisements are not about quitting smoking but about how enjoyable vaping is.
People in the ENDS industry say that the risks imposed by vaping is little compared to smoking. But many other people remind us that the smoking industry said the same thing about smoking many years ago. Tobacco companies are now notoriously known for lying about the health effects of their products. People worry that the same dishonesty might be happening with the ENDS industry and call for independent studies researching its safety. Much of the research that ENDS companies point to as showing vaping as safe has been done by them (when research is conducted by the same people who own the product it is not considered as valid because they have an interest for the research to come out favorably).
No matter what the future is for the ENDS industry, we hope that it won’t be in yours. Regardless of how toxic you may think it is, it is addictive and we would hope that you would choose to live free from nicotine addiction. (To read more about addiction, click here.)
Want to know how to help someone quit? Then go ahead and light up the next post! (The only thing we want you to light up!)