Think vaping is safer (and cooler) than smoking? Think again
The satisfaction of your elitist ego when your vape smoke rings cloud your friends’ Snapchat, is immense. While you are blissfully ignorant about the deadly impacts of this so-called safer alternative, your lung cells are fighting for survival. In 2019 alone the death toll is 805—with a median age of 23—according to a widely discussed report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of deaths related to vaping has grown to 12 per week since the publication of the report.
Smoking vs Vaping
Although the trend of smoking has shifted from cigarettes to vaping, a large portion of people still resort to smoking cigarettes. No matter how much smoking is normalized; its harms are just as deadly. The addiction from nicotine that can spike up your blood pressure is often the root of serious cardiovascular diseases. The damage done to your lungs is incomparable because every puff of cigarette inclines you towards death as lung cancer settles in slowly.
Vaping is like the Diet Coke of cigarettes.
You think it’s not harmful because it has no “sugar”, but you are oblivious to the unique harms inflicted. Compared to cigarettes, vaping can be used to take in more nicotine at a time depending on the amount of nicotine you infuse in the juice. Due to the availability of various flavours, vaping is alluring to a lot of youngsters making it more accessible and consumed in a broader market.
Identifying which compound triggered any given reaction involves the variability of individual immune systems, meaning some people have severe illnesses after inhaling something that others tolerated—like gluten in the bowels of a person with celiac disease
Potential health hazards of vaping
In addition to nicotine other addictive chemicals such as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can be incorporated in an e-cig. This adds to the list of substances you can be addicted to, increasing potential health complications such as neural performance, paranoia, short term memory problems, psychosis, panic etc. amongst other problems.
Just because an ingredient is “natural” or is safe to smear on one’s face, or to eat, does not make it safe to inhale. Substances such as Vitamin E and glycerin are often present in vape juices which can trigger inflammatory reactions in the lung tissues. The subjectivity of the reactions makes it difficult to predict the severity and extent of the harms.
Curbing the risks
The magnitude of the problem is often overlooked because of the negligence of the stakeholders. If drastic measures are not implemented, the problem will accelerate faster. What is it that can be done? Before placing the product on the market, it’s advised to measure the safety and purity of the substances that are incorporated. The provision of safety certification in vape juices may be a good start. The problems can be mitigated by ensuring that illegal substances such as THC are prohibited in wide-scale selling of vape juices. Overall regulation of the market will assist in the eradication of black market dealers whose prime targets are the youth who can be lured in easily with unknown or creative flavours. The government can always be helpful by increasing indirect tax on vape products or create awareness on the harms of vaping.
Nevertheless, the onus of ensuring safety is on you, the users. Because irrespective of the solutions made, if the users are not careful and sincere about the dosage and usage of vaping, it is difficult to say how much of the problem can be resolved. Since vape is considered a better substitute for cigarettes, you need to use it in a manner that ensures the net marginal harm is less.