Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your heart and lungs – and that includes vaping. Initially, e-cigarettes were considered a possible smoking cessation tool. But data shows that e-cigarettes do not curb an appetite for smoking and instead, can often be a gateway into becoming a cigarette smoker.
“Vaping has serious health consequences,” says Kathryn Silva, MD, a pulmonologist with Atlantic Health System. “Research suggests that electronic cigarettes increase a person's risk of cigarette addiction and may increase their long-term risk for chronic lung problems such as COPD or emphysema.”
According to Dr. Silva, it’s not just water vapor and flavorings that make these products so harmful and addictive. It’s the high levels of liquid nicotine with added chemicals, aldehyde, heavy metals, and other ingredients that damage the lungs. Here are five myths and truths about these dangerous products.:
1. E-Cigarettes help you quit smoking. False.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 30 percent of teens who start using e-cigarettes begin smoking traditional tobacco products within six months. The data also shows that rather than helping people to quit smoking, e-cigarettes can be a launchpad into traditional smoking.
2. E-Cigarettes are less harmful to your lungs than tar cigarettes. False.
Vaping produces several toxic chemicals -- acetaldehyde, formaldehyde, and heavy metals -- all which cause severe lung injury. Observational data suggests that vaping can cause an inflammatory response in the lungs and over time can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema and lung disease.
3. Vaping isn’t addictive. False
The nicotine and flavors in electronic cigarette cartridges make them as addictive as traditional cigarettes. Nicotine is a toxic, highly addictive tobacco product and certain vape brands contain even more nicotine than traditional cigarettes. Conversely, there are no nicotine-free e-cigarettes on the market.
4. Vaping helps relieve stress and anxiety. False
Nicotine increases stress, anxiety and depression in teens and adults – rather than relieving it. For this reason, e-cigarettes are especially dangerous for teens and young adults because this mix of nicotine and toxic chemicals can harm young, developing brains.
5. Vaping is on the rise. False
Actually, vaping is declining nationally as America wises up to its devastating effects. This is because the FDA has made it illegal for manufacturers to market vape products to children. It is also a reaction to the thousands of acute lung injuries that were caused by the Vitamin E Acetate in vape products, which has been regulated and removed by the FDA has.
“People are realizing that vaping is a high-risk behavior with some serious health consequences,” says Dr. Silva, who explains that there is much work to be done around vaping education. “Anyone who vapes is putting their lungs at risk, so we help encourage people to gradually cut back on their consumption of these products for the greatest possible success in quitting.”
Be Proactive About Your Health
To stay safe and healthy, it's good to have a primary care provider who knows and understands your health history and wellness goals.