What are e-cigarettes? They are battery powered electronic cigarettes. The device heats a liquid into a vapor to be inhaled. Because it's a vapor, it is often referred to as "vaping." The liquid typically contains vegetable glycerin or propylene glycol, flavorings, other additives, as well as nicotine. There is a misconception that they are safe because they aren't as harmful as cigarettes. It may be true that e-cigarettes aren't as harmful, but that does not equate to harmless. They have been for sale in the U.S. for 12 years, not long enough for conclusive, longitudinal research to say how vaping is harmful to your lungs. However, inhaling anything into your lungs, besides oxygen, carries a risk -- even if it is an unknown risk. One thing research is showing is e-cigarette users are at an increased risk for a heart attack. If the person vapes and smokes, it further increases the risk.
You probably have seen someone using an e-cigarette or know someone who vapes. An issue with vaping is it re-normalizing smoking behavior. The population most affected by witnessing e-cigarette vapers are teenagers and young adults. Studies show that e-cigarette usage among high school students increased by 900% from 2011 to 2015. Another survey reported 24% of high school students had used an e-cigarette in the last 30 days. Nicotine is highly addictive. Human brain development continues to the age of 25. Using nicotine while the brain is still developing has negative effects with one being it may lead the individual to other addictive behaviors.
E-cigarettes were originally marketed as a smoking cessation tool, but in 2015 more that half of vapers also smoked regular cigarettes. There are successful, evidence-based and recommended smoking cessation options. To learn more click here.
Meet others sharing about trying to quit smoking while undergoing medical treatment or talking about cancers in one of the many cancer groups on Mayo Clinic Connect. Share experiences, ask questions and find support from people like you.
Liked by Lisa Lucier