What may have once seemed like a passing fad has now widely taken hold, especially among teenagers.
Several studies warn of health risks associated with vaping. While it is often claimed to be less harmful than traditional smoking, vaping devices are most definitely not harmless.
How does vaping work?
Vaping devices simply heat up a liquid (often referred to as e-liquid) which produces vapour that the person then inhales. The e-liquid is typically a mixture of water, food grade flavouring, and a choice of nicotine levels, cannabis (THC, CBD), propylene glycol (PG) or vegetable glycerin (VG).
There are a number of different device manufacturers and products, ranging from disposable e-cigarettes to refillable pods. In addition, there is a plethora of e-liquids and flavours to choose from, many of which, such as bubble-gum and cola, designed to entice younger users.
Vaping aerosols generally contain fewer toxic chemicals than regular cigarettes. However, they are far from harmless. E-liquids can contain known harmful substances such as nicotine, heavy metals like lead, volatile organic compounds, and cancer-causing agents. Known health risks include:
- Pulmonary problems (including bronchitis, asthma, chronic lung disease, and lung cancer).
- Cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.
- Nicotine addiction.
- Anxiety and depression.
- Sexual impotence.
Furthermore, the widespread use of these products is far outpacing research into their health effects. Studies by Johns Hopkins University reveal the existence of thousands of chemical ingredients in vape products, most of which are not yet identified.
As a result of these concerns and in order to minimise health risks, medical authorities recommend that people:
- Educate themselves about these health risks.
- Do not use THC-containing products.
- Do not use vaping devices obtained on the black market or via informal sources.
- Do not modify or add any substances to a vaping device that are not intended by the manufacturer.
What should I do if my child is vaping?
Children need love and support in order to quit any harmful habit. In addition, it is important to convey that:
- Nicotine can harm adolescent brain development, and because its highly addictive, adolescent e-cigarette users are more likely to smoke cigarettes later in life.
- Far from offering any advantages, vaping is a pointless waste of money.
- Vaping will prevent them from becoming the best version of themselves, be it in cognitive capabilities, behaviour, relationships, sport or personal health.
- In the long run, vaping makes prior symptoms of anxiety and depression worse.