E-cigarettes are a relatively new tobacco product that has been sold in the U.S. for about 10 years. E-cigarettes currently on the U.S. marketplace have not been systematically reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration to determine their impact on lung health. While much remains to be determined on the long-term health consequences of these products, the American Lung Association is very concerned about the evolving evidence of the impact of e-cigarettes on the lungs.
Michael Blaha, M.D., M.P.H., Director of Clinical Research at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease, shares the following vaping health information:
E-cigarettes heat nicotine (extracted from tobacco), flavorings and other chemicals to make the aerosol you inhale. Regular tobacco cigarettes contain 7,000 chemicals, many of them toxic.
However, there has also been an outbreak of lung injuries and vaping-related deaths. As of January 21 , 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC) confirmed 60 deaths in patients with e-cigarette or vaping associated lung injury (EVALI).
The CDC identified vitamin E acetate as a chemical of concern among people with EVALI. Vitamin E acetate is a thickening agent often used in THC vaping products and has been found in all EVALI lung fluid samples in CDC-tested patients.
Nicotine is the primary agent in both regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes, and is highly addictive. It causes you to crave for smoke and suffer symptoms of withdrawal if you ignore your cravings. Nicotine is a toxic substance, too. It raises your blood pressure and boosts your adrenaline, which increases your heart rate and your chance of having a heart attack. There are many unknowns about steaming, including what chemicals make up the vapor and how they affect physical health over the long term.
People need to understand that e-cigarettes are potentially harmful to your health. Emerging data suggest links to chronic lung disease and asthma, and associations between dual use of e-cigarettes and smoking with cardiovascular disease. You expose yourself to all kinds of chemicals that we don't understand yet, and that are probably not safe.
Both e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes contain nicotine, which research suggests can be as addictive as heroin and cocaine. What's worse is that many users of e-cigarettes get even more nicotine than they would from a tobacco product. Users can buy extra-strong cartridges that have a higher concentration of nicotine, or you can increase the voltage of e-cigarettes to make a greater impact on the substance.
Although they have been marketed as an aid to help you quit smoking, e-cigarettes have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as smoking cessation devices. A recent study found that most people who intended to use e-cigarettes to kick the nicotine habit ended up smoking both traditional and e-cigarettes.
E-cigarettes are more common among young people than any conventional tobacco product. In 2015, the US general surgeon estimated that electronic cigarettes were being used by 900% of high school pupils and 40% of young people who used electronic cigarettes never smoked cigarettes regularly. Both youths and adults find the lack of smoke appealing. With no smell, e-cigarettes reduce the stigma of smoking.
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