Why Vaping is not Harmless
It is true that smoking e-cigarettes, or vaping, is less harmful than smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes. But as the saying goes: safer does not always mean safe. There are significant health risks to vaping, and in this blog post you will learn a few reasons why.
Reason Number One: Vapes have nicotine in them. A lot of nicotine.
In fact, one JUUL pod contains the same amount of nicotine that can be found in 20 cigarettes. Nicotine, specially in such potent amounts, poses very real health threats to users. What young people often don’t understand is that this is a bad thing, because nicotine is harmful to the body. Nicotine is harmful for many reasons, starting with the heart. Nicotine increases the user’s blood pressure and adrenaline, which in turn increases the risk of having a heart attack. Nicotine can also cause damage to the brain and lungs, and can even cause cancerous tumors. Even premature delivery of babies is common among pregnant women who use nicotine. Nicotine use can also lead to dehydration, which can often lead to many other health problems.
Reason Number Two: Inhaling vapor is bad for you. Besides nicotine, there are other things inside of vapes that can be harmful to the body. A vape is an e-cigarette in which the user inhales and exhales an aerosol filled with chemicals rather than tobacco smoke. The lungs are designed to only process oxygen, so anything else that is added can be harmful to the lungs. The main components are often salt, glycerin, water, nicotine, and countless other chemicals that produce flavors such as watermelon or apple pie. Trace amounts of compounds similar to antifreeze have been found in JUUL pods, as well as shavings of toxic metals in other vapes. Breathing in toxic compounds like these can cause significant damage to the lungs. Oftentimes, something called popcorn lung occurs. Popcorn lung is when the lungs are filled up with all of the harmful compounds mentioned earlier, causing the lungs to fill up with liquid and to look like popcorn when an x-ray is taken. Once popcorn lung is developed, it can cause breathing issues, which can impact the ability to exercise and do physical activity.
Reason Number Three: Vaping can lead to smoking. Vaping was initially designed to help smokers quit smoking, which is why there is nicotine inside of it. When users try to quit smoking, they often experience withdrawal symptoms. Some withdrawal symptoms of nicotine are irritability, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, and of course, craving nicotine. To prevent this from happening, vapes were invented. The idea behind vapes is that nicotine is extracted from tobacco and then put into the water vapor. This allows the user to vape the nicotine without having to smoke the nicotine.
Overall, vapes have not been proven to help people quit smoking. Instead, people oftentimes end up vaping and smoking at the same time. This is bad on its own, but an even worse problem ended up occurring: teens who were not smokers began vaping. Rather than people using vaping as a way to quit smoking, they began vaping for pleasure. Teens are often attracted to fruity flavors such as peach smoothie or mango, which allows them to not have to worry about the gross smells of traditional cigarettes. The scary truth is that many teens who vape will end up smoking tobacco anyway. In fact, teens who vape are nearly four times more likely to smoke cigarettes. Cigarettes have massive amounts of harmful cancer causing substances and kill thousands of people a year. For more information on cigarettes, visit the tobacco and drug use section of the Healthy Young NV webpage.
Since vapes have become popular amongst teens, it is important to understand the true dangers of vaping so that you and your peers are well informed. Although it seems like everyone your age is vaping and it’s the cool thing to do, it’s still a dangerous activity that has consequences for your health.
This blog post was written for Healthy Young NV by Brandon Leary, a High Sierra AHEC Student Ambassador. Brandon is part of the class of 2020 at Bishop Manogue Catholic High School. He intends to major in biology and plans on becoming a pediatric heart surgeon.
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