What is vaping?
Vaping utilizes a Propylene Glycol or Vegetable Glycerin based liquid, mixed with small amounts of nicotine and food grade flavoring that then get vaporized in a small battery powered atomizer, Simulating the experience of smoking. The vapor created is inhaled and exhaled much like cigarette smoke hence the term “VAPING” as opposed to “SMOKING”
What are electronic or e-cigarettes?
Also called hookah pens, e-hookahs, or vape pipes, e-cigarettes are smokeless battery-operated devices that contain three parts. There is a cartridge (filled with liquid nicotine and other chemicals and flavorings called e-liquid), heating device (vaporizer), and rechargeable battery. Puffing activates the heating device, which vaporizes the liquid in the cartridge. The aerosol or vapor is then inhaled (called vaping).
E-cigarettes can look like cigarettes or like everyday objects such as pens, lipstick, or USB drives. While e-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco or create the chemicals from burning tobacco, they may contain nicotine (the highly addictive chemical found in tobacco products). Because no smoke is inhaled, e-cigarettes appear as if they are a safer, less toxic alternative to conventional cigarettes.
E-cigarettes tend to be cheaper than cigarettes, and are easy to buy in stores, in gas stations, online, or at mall kiosks. Since the e-liquid also comes in a rainbow of colors and candy-sweet flavors, it’s not surprising that e-cigarettes are increasingly popular, especially among adolescents. Vaping may also serve as a gateway for youth to try other tobacco products.
What’s the harm?
Unlike tobacco products, e-cigarettes are not regulated by the FDA. This means that you don’t know what you’re getting. The amount of nicotine can vary greatly (and be different from what’s listed on the package), and there’s no way to know the purity or safety of the e-liquid.
The vapor in e-cigarette products can contain carcinogens, toxic chemicals, and toxic metals. If even small amounts of e-liquid are ingested or absorbed through the skin, they can cause vomiting and seizures or be lethal to small children.
There have been no long-term studies on e-cigarettes, so the lasting effect on the health of users or those exposed to secondhand vapor is unknown. Exposure to the e-cigarette aerosol can also make it harder to breathe for people with respiratory problems like asthma.
Can they help?
It’s not known for sure if e-cigarettes can help people stop smoking. Until more is known, it’s best to use FDA-approved smoking cessation aids that are shown to be safe and effective, such as nicotine gum, lozenges, and patches. If you use e-cigarettes, make sure to keep them out of the reach of children. Check out these resources if you’re quitting—or thinking about quitting—tobacco:
QUITPLAN Services provides free quitting assistance to all Americans. Call 1-888-354-PLAN or visit justecigandvape.com.