Vapes have grown from being a rising trend to being a widely and easily available product. They are not restricted in anyway and can be obtained in many countries by children under age of 18. Their unrestricted sale remains a major issue even after the restrictions imposed in Europe and USA. However, there have been increasing concerns regarding their health issues, especially after the sudden appearances of lung related fatalities and cases in the US. Doctors have now urged people to quit vapes altogether or cut back on their usage. This has also urged health departments all over the world to start investigating about them and establish concrete evidence linking to their dangers.
The main issue with vapes is that there is little long-term medical studies available about them. This has enabled companies to capitalize on the venture and actually market them with unverified medical claims. Vapes are powered by a battery, which allows them to vaporize their liquid to provide nicotine or any other solution. It fulfills the addiction from smoking cigarettes but does not produce any smoke in the process. Instead, the misty cloud from vapes dissipates easily and without traces.
Vapes are classified as Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) and are also known as e-cigs, JUUL, vaporizers, vapes, etc. They were forced introduced in the Chinese markets back in 2004 as an alternative to smoking and were promoted to help in curbing and then altogether eliminating smoking habits. However, the vaping formula itself mostly contains nicotine, which defeats the purpose. Their unrestricted access has resulted in may teens being addicted to it because they are easy to get. Moreover, the appeal from its trends and the flavors are a major reason why many people resort to vaping.
Some Facts About E-Cigarettes/Vapes
Following are some facts about vapes:
- Vapes are not actually cigarettes as they do not burn tobacco or any other product.
- Vapes are sold as alternates to smoking and are often used to quit smoking tobacco.
- Health authorities have begun cracking down on an international scale against vaping. Although there is inconclusive evidence, many health diseases have been linked with vaping habits.
A Little About E-Cigarettes/Vapes
E-cigarettes and vapes have become almost indistinguishable from each other owing to their almost similar purpose. A vape is commonly referred to the device which heats the vaping juice into a mist which can be sucked in. Vapes are reusable because the cartridge containing vaping juice can be discarded for a new one.
A vape commonly consists of the following parts:
- Mouthpiece from where the mist is sucked on.
- A heating unit to vaporize the vape juice.
- Rechargeable battery to power the unit.
- Internal circuits that run the machine.
When the user starts sucking on the mouthpiece, the sensor identifies the action and activates the heating unit, which begins vaporizing the vape juice, converting it into an aerosol mist. The vape juice can contain anywhere from zero to high concentrations of nicotine up to 36 mg per ml. The mouthpiece is at the end of the vape has a cup within it which has absorbent material for storing the liquid. The cartridge is replaceable, allowing the user to simply change cartridges when empty or to change flavor.
The atomizer is responsible for heating the vape juice so that it can be turned into a mist. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery further increases a vapes life. Vaping unites also have LCDs which show additional information from sensors such as the current settings, vape left and when active or not.
The vape juice is usually nicotine extracted from tobacco mixed with flavoring in a propylene glycol base, which is also used for inhalers. There are numerous flavors, such as menthol, zombie, apple, blueberry and watermelon. Each brand has their own range of flavors.
A JUUL is a highly compact vape unit which resembles a USB drive. It is rechargeable and usually contains a lot more nicotine than its counterparts. Moreover, it uses nicotine salts which enhances nicotine absorption within the body, causing further damage to it. Just a single cartridge has nicotine levels equivalent to 20 packs or even more. It has become a common trend among young people because of accessibility due to which anyone can buy them. User can also choose from numerous flavors, nicotine levels and even THC Cannabis oil which can cause high levels of addiction. All of these factors makes JUULs unsafe for use among underage people.
Are Vapes Useful?
Vapes claim to have some benefits for their users as they quote they are significantly less harmful than tobacco. The companies cite their usage of natural oils and non-nicotine based products, although they have been found to be unhealthy to say the least. However, they have found widespread acceptance as they are smokeless, can have zero nicotine, are portable and reusable. They can be used to quit on smoking by using them as an alternate and then
Dangers of Vaping
Vaping through e-cigarettes has many health hazards. Following are some of the health hazards you need to know about.
- Vape juice contains high amounts of nicotine on average. It is harmful for the brain, especially for underage children whose brain is still growing. Moreover, vaping during pregnancy results in abnormal fetal development.
- The solution within vape cartridges contains harmful compounds which various health departments around the world have advised users to refrain from
- Vapes allow numerous substances such as dicetyl to enter the body, cause lung cancer and irreversibly damage the respiratory system.
- The liquid itself is extremely dangerous. Just tasting it can cause poisoning.
- Vaping is offered as an alternative to smoking. In reality, it is a habit on its own which is equally harmful. The vaping juice contains nicotine and even the nicotine free ones have concentrated amounts of other substances which cause a host of medical complications after long-term usage.
- In most cases, using e-cigarettes can promote people (especially underage children) to try smoking tobacco.
- E-cigarettes come in numerous flavoring which masks the damage caused to the body. This makes them even harder to quit. Moreover, it is the main reason why people tend to start vaping so that they can get a taste of the flavor and know what all the hype is about.
- Vape mist has carcinogenic compounds which contribute towards second hand smoking. People near a vaping person are also affected by their exhaled cloud as they inhale some parts of it.
- There are reported cases of e-cigarettes exploding. They feature compact yet strong batteries which are actively used by the device. Small engineering faults or any other issue can cause the battery to explode, which injures the person using or even storing the device near their body.
What is in the Vaping Juice?
There is much speculation about what goes in the vaping juice. Following are some of the things which are present in the vaping juice.
- Nicotine, which is carcinogenic in nature.
- Ultrafine particulates which are easily absorbed within the body.
- Chemically derived artificial flavoring which is extremely harmful for the body.
- Organic compounds engineered to enhance vape flavoring.
- Carcinogenic compounds.
- Oils which are deposited over time in the lungs and can cause them to fail working.
- Heavy metals which includes nickel, lead, tin, etc.
People using vape expose people in their vicinity to second hand smoking which is dangerous for health. Companies are secretive about the exact composition of the vaping juice to ensure the true extent of damage cause by vaping cannot be released. For example, even nicotine free variants of vape juice have been found to contain traces of the said compound.
Using the Flavors
Vape companies utilize their flavors as the main marketing weapons to attract customers. There are numerous flavors to make sure a single client is never tired of using a vape. This keeps them hooked on the product and on them.
- The majority of young vape users are attracted to the product because of the vast amount of flavors, especially middle school flavors. This makes them dangerously attractive to them and combined with the ease of acquiring them, they are easy to obtain.
- E-cigarettes are marketed to youths with the same marketing strategy of tobacco. Their unrestricted media coverage without health warnings makes them dangerous.
- Curiosity often kills the cat, and the same goes for vape flavors. People are curious about the flavors, especially after second hand inhaling of the vape mist. The vape itself is not irritating (unlike tobacco) which promotes new users to pick the habit swiftly. The availability of flavors keeps them using the product.
The research on vapes has grown over the past few years. The research published on January 2018 identified the vaping juice to contain nitrosamines which are known to alter DNA in abnormal ways. The vaping juice contains heavy oils which over time are deposited in the lungs, thus clogging them. The respiratory system is severely affected by vape smoke and its natural healing factor is greatly reduced. Still, they are marketed as alternate smoking devices which are meant to help in quitting tobacco smoking.
Vaping has been used by many people who have successfully quit smoking as a result. However, when comparing the tradeoff, there is actually very little to gain. Vaping is dangerous on its own terms and poses numerous long-term health risks. It has its own risks, which are subject to further medical research. Companies do not divulge the components of vape juice and hence it is difficult to ascertain what is in them. This makes them a risky choice which does not have much benefit at all.