• Arwa Hanin Elrayess

Vaping Examined: The truth behind their 'dangers.'

Updated: Dec 19, 2019

E-cigarettes were manufactured as healthier alternatives to traditional smoking. However, they have been put under restless scrutiny from the public.

Some believe e-cigarettes are an efficient method that will aid in exterminating the smoking epidemic, and some believe that e-cigarettes pose more of a threat to our general health than traditional cigarettes do.

This great divide sparked doubt in many, including myself.

The tobacco market was heavily impacted when people resorted to vaping as a healthier alternative.

Could it be that these companies encouraged negativity on these devices , in order to persuade the public to return to traditional smoking?

If so, how much of what they claim is valid, and how much is fabricated?

1) “E-cigarettes are significantly less harmful than traditional cigarettes, as they don’t burn tobacco.”

E-cigarettes don't produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful elements in tobacco smoke. Instead, they burn nicotine, flavorings, and other substances which do contain some potentially harmful chemicals, but at much lower levels than cigarette smoke.

Regular tobacco cigarettes contain 7,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic and hugely damaging to human health. While we don’t know exactly what chemicals are in e-cigarettes, removing tobacco and combustion from the equation will expose you to fewer toxic chemicals, overall.

The difference between cigarettes and e-cigarettes

A study found that, over the span of 16 months, ex-smokers who took up vaping were found with large reductions in carcinogens and other toxic substances compared to smokers.

This does not mean that e-cigarettes are risk-free. However, we can be confident that they pose less of a threat than traditional cigarettes.

2: “But e-cigarette vapor contains harmful substances that have caused serious lung diseases, such as ‘popcorn lung, or even cancer!”

One of the most common misconceptions concerning e-cigarettes are that they cause “pop-corn lung.”

This idea came from a few studies during 2015 which found that a large proportion of e-liquid flavors contained levels of diacetyl, which at very high levels of exposure had been associated with this serious lung disease.

However, this study did not look at the link between ‘pop-corn lung’ and e-cigarettes and there is insufficient evidence relating the two.

There has never been a recorded case of pop-corn lung due to e-cigarette usage.

Similarly, there are no documented cancer diagnoses directly linked to vaping or e-cigarette use.

3: “Well, what about the high levels of nicotine found in e-cigarettes? Don’t they cause severe health complications?”

According to Public Health England, 4 out of 10 smokers believe that nicotine is the leading cause of smoking-related cancers, even though evidence and countless studies prove that nicotine actually carries minimal risk to people without heart conditions.

Although highly addictive, nicotine ‘does not cause acute cardiac events or coronary heart disease, and is not carcinogenic.’

Our main concern regarding nicotine should be its highly addictive nature and the changes it can trigger in the adolescent brain.

We teenagers are already more susceptible to addiction than adults because our brains are still developing.

Continued use of nicotine can make other drugs, such as cocaine, more pleasurable.

It can also cause reduce teenagers’ abilities to stay focused and can trigger bouts of anxiety or depression due to nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

4: “There have been several teenage deaths linked to vaping. Surely that proves how dangerous e-cigarettes are!”

It’s true.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have linked vaping with a deadly lung illness which has claimed the lives of 34 individuals.

Hundreds of physicians and investigators have been dispatched by the CDC since the lung disease became a threat to the public, however, no specific substance or single type of device has been linked to all cases.

But in most cases – about 80% – people said they were using liquids that contained cannabinoid products, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana.

Many sick patients said they bought THC vape products on the black market.

The principle deputy director at the CDC, Anna Schuchat, said that data does “continue to point towards THC-containing products as the source of individuals’ injury.”

The most recent death was of a boy in Belgium. He was also found to be vaping THC.

Therefore, we cannot assume that vaping itself causes these fatalities and illnesses, rather, the illegal substances that are bought and vaped are the most likely culprit.

5: “Regardless of the ‘unproven’ health risks, we still don’t know exactly what we’re dealing with.”

This is by far the most important point that authorities cannot stress enough.

We do not know the long-term effects vaporizing certain chemicals have on our health because e-cigarettes have not been around for that long.

We do not have the results of long-term studies because the studies are still ongoing…on us.

We are lab rats in an experiment we didn’t even realize was happening.

It is highly unlikely that e-cigarettes are risk-free, and we can’t be sure of their definite side effects.

As shown by evidence above, it is undeniable that e-cigarettes are less of a health risk than traditional smoking. We should not criticize or discourage those who turn to e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco, as this transition may ultimately save their lives’.

However, under no circumstances should people who have not smoked before take up e-cigarettes because they are “less harmful.” As mentioned before, it is highly unlikely for e-cigarettes to be completely risk free, so we should aim to reduce the number of teenagers who have taken up this unhealthy habit.

Instead of feeling the need to join others in this trend, simply because it has gained obvious popularity, we should do our best to erase this newfound addiction.

Because, at the end of the day, no amount of ‘likes’ or ‘views’ are worth your health, and the health of those around you.

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