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When they were first introduced, electronic cigarettes (often known as “e-cigs” or vape pens) were billed as convenient alternatives to tobacco products. Proponents of these devices claim they expose users to fewer toxic chemicals than traditional cigarettes, leading many to believe that vaping is safer for your health than smoking. Many even believed that vaping could help put a person on the path to stop smoking cigarettes.
Researchers and doctors, however, dispute these claims, citing lung injuries and deaths among vape users as evidence that vaping poses serious health risks.
As usage rates rise, especially among adolescents and teens, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other state and local health departments continue to study e-cigarette use and potential risks and complications.
Although many of the long-term effects of vaping remain unclear, it’s important to understand how these devices work and how they may impact your health.
How Does Vaping Work?
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat liquid components—nicotine, marijuana extracts, flavorings or other potentially harmful substances—to form a vapor, or aerosol, that you inhale. Some vapes automatically activate when you take a puff, while others require you to push a button. E-cigarettes come in different shapes, sizes and styles depending on the brand, with some resembling pens while others look like portable USB drives.
Health Risks and Potential Complications
- Increased heart rate, blood pressure and breathing activity
- Release of glucose, which impacts blood sugar levels
- A drop in insulin produced by the pancreas
Vaping and Addiction
Your tolerance for nicotine will increase the more you vape, which may lead you to consume higher doses to achieve the same initial effects. Many companies, like the popular brand JUUL, sell high-potency cartridges that contain more nicotine than a typical cigarette. Some e-cigarettes allow you to control the voltage settings, allowing you to get a greater hit of the substance.
Nicotine is particularly dangerous for adolescents and teens, as it can affect the development of growing brains. And despite claims that vaping devices help users quit smoking, data indicates that teens who vape are more likely to start smoking cigarettes. Additionally, some users continue to use both traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes. Due to the known and unknown dangers associated with vaping, the FDA has not approved vaping as a method of smoking cessation.
If you or a loved one is struggling to quit, Inspira Health is here to help. Our Quit Center offers an array of services, from low-dose CT scans to group sessions and one-on-one counseling.
Request an appointment online or call (856) 641-8633 for more information.