The truth behind smoking e-cigarettes

Illustration by Evan Koenigs | The Signal

In a world where social media, movies and television glamorize smoking cigarettes and vaping, smoking can become a hard habit to break once someone is hooked. Despite how difficult quitting smoking can be, the harm it causes can lead to a more challenging life.

If anyone is considering taking a break or quitting altogether, these are five  facts about vaping and cigarettes that are worth reading:

  • Smoking cigarettes and vaping are equally as addictive:

Many people resort to vaping to quit smoking cigarettes, but in actuality, they are both just as addictive since they both contain nicotine.

Smoking e-cigarettes can often lead to an even stronger addiction as users can purchase cartridges that have a higher nicotine concentration in them than a cigarette.

Although companies market e-cigarettes as less addicting and a “healthier” alternative to smoking than traditional cigarettes, it has not been proven to treat nicotine addiction.

  • Vapes contain metal particles and harmful chemicals:

Along with nicotine, e-cigarettes contain toxic chemicals such as propylene glycol, carcinogens, acrolein, diacetyl and metal tiny metal particles such as lead and nickel.

All of these are chemicals and additives in other household products such as antifreeze, weed killers and paint solvent, all of which can lead to several lung, teeth and mouth diseases.

Scientists have found that once these liquids heat up, it causes more toxic chemicals to form.

  • Vaping can cause heart and lung disease:

E-cigarettes contain many harmful chemicals and additives, and studies have shown smoking these toxins can cause significant damage to the lungs and heart.

Several lung diseases such as popcorn lung, lipoid pneumonia and collapsed lung are linked to vaping.

Some common symptoms people may experience with these diseases are chronic coughing, chest pains and shortness of breath.

With vapes being relatively new products, there is still some uncertainty about the adverse effects vaping can cause.

According to the American College of Cardiology, users who vape are 56% more likely to experience a heart attack and 30% more likely to stroke.

When people inhale the fresh vapor, research has shown that it instantly tightens and stiffens the blood vessels, cutting off blood from other parts of the body.

  • Flavored e-cigarettes are made to appeal to a younger audience:

E-cigarettes come in a wide variety of colored packaging and fruity flavors such as mango, cotton candy and pineapple.

These things alone are enticing to teens as it appears to be just flavored air, making it something fun to smoke compared to a regular cigarette.

Many commercials and campaigns urge  the youth not to take part in vaping. In 2019 a new federal law increased the age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21-years-old.

This effort to slow down and stop youth e-cigarette consumption is still ongoing as the FDA reported that over 2 million teens are still using e-cigarettes. Among those 2 million teens, 11.3% are high school students and 2.8% are middle schoolers.

  • Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine:

Many consumers are under the impression that vapes are just harmless flavored air and less harmful than a traditional cigarette, but in reality, most e-cigarette products do contain nicotine.

According to the CDC, 99% of e-cigarettes sold within the United States contain nicotine.

Nicotine is a highly addictive stimulant that can cause many health problems for users ranging from high blood pressure to change how the brain works.

Smoking e-cigarettes during adolescence can also have lasting effects on someone’s memory, learning ability and mood.

Nicotine is not a safe substance to introduce to young kids or young adults as the brain continues developing until age  25.

Becoming addicted to something like this could stunt their growth or lead to more serious drug addictions.