E-cigarettes have been advertised as a safer alternative to smoking, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe.
Various claims are made regarding the “benefits” of vaping, such as “it’s less harmful because you’re not inhaling smoke,” “you can control how much nicotine you’re taking in,” or “it’s a way to help people quit smoking cigarettes.”
But the reality is that vaping is far from being a safe or healthy habit. You are still consuming nicotine (addictive and harmful) and potentially exposing yourself to dangerous heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, and carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemicals.
Vaping is Associated With Many of the Same Health Risks as Smoking
Although many people turn to vaping for harm reduction, it’s important to remember that vaping is not a risk-free activity and still poses many health risks like smoking cigarettes.
Additionally, e-liquids may contain flavorings and other chemicals (such as propylene glycol or glycerin) that can be harmful and carcinogenic when heated and inhaled.
Adverse health effects associated with e-cigarettes include:
- ischemic heart disease
- impaired endothelial function
- ischemic brain damage
- circadian clock dysregulation
Since vaping is relatively new, the long-term health effects, specifically concerning cancer, are not yet fully known. Still, the emerging evidence regarding known carcinogens in e-cigarettes is cause for concern.
Vaping Nicotine Can Negatively Impact Brain Development
Regardless of how it is consumed, it can negatively affect brain development, particularly in young people who are still growing.
Since vaping may be more appealing to young people than traditional cigarettes, it may have terrible consequences on their still-developing brain, potentially impacting their cognitive function, memory, and intellectual capacity.
And due to the ease and efficiency of vaping, people who vape may take in more nicotine than they would if they were smoking cigarettes, which could amplify these negative effects.
Vaping Can Increase Your Risk of a Worse COVID-19 Outcome
Smoking and vaping can negatively impact your respiratory system, making you more susceptible to significantly worse health outcomes if you catch COVID-19 or another respiratory infection.
One study in 2020 found that nicotine vapers were five times more likely to receive a COVID diagnosis, and that number goes even high for people who vape and smoke regular cigarettes.
And since vaping can harm your cardiovascular health and immune function, it can lead to a higher likelihood of developing a more severe case of COVID-19.
Vaping Probably Won’t Help You Quit Nicotine
Many people start vaping to quit smoking cigarettes, but there is little evidence that vaping is an effective cessation tool.
Nicotine is addictive regardless of whether you smoke it or vape it. Some people may even use more nicotine when they vape than when they smoke cigarettes, making it harder to quit in the long run.
If you’re trying to quit nicotine, you will probably have greater success by talking to your doctor or therapist about proven cessation methods. The sooner you quit, the sooner you’ll start to heal and lower your risk of developing severe health problems.