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Category: Is Vaping Bad?
Is Vaping Bad For You? — Facts, Myths & Mysteries
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Is vaping bad for your health?
Vaping has made its mark on modern society and it’s clear to see why people enjoy it. Vaping offers an enjoyable experience of inhaling flavorful vapor. In addition it satisfies their nicotine cravings and gives them an reason to take some air outside.
In spite of its popularity, vaping has been met with plenty of criticism. A growing community of users, intent on leading smoke-free lives are finding electronic vapor as a helpful alternative to tobacco.
However, some critics of the practice have stated that it’s no safer than tobacco. Reflexively, some proponents have argued that it’s no more toxic than the air we breathe. While both statements are extreme and create their own inaccuracies and leaving the vaping world wondering, is vaping safe?
We investigate the data to address the questions that keep potential users from considering the switch to vaping. Hopefully, inspiring others to try vapor as an alternate source of nicotine.
We’ll discover the origins of the safety concerns on vaping. Additionally, we’ll try to answer is vaping bad for you, and what the potential risks are. We will confront the concerns of vaping in order to determine an answer to is vaping bad.
Is Vaping Safe?
One of the leading causes for concern for vapers of all levels is physical harm. A surge of negative publicity attacked e-cigarettes in an early phase of their development. While some of these incidents were based on facts, vaping isn’t as harmful as its portrayal. For this reason, we’ll address each concern to dispel the rumors of how bad for you vaping actually is.
The most common criticism of e-cigarettes is the exploding battery story. Some poorly made e-cigs exploded and injured their users, however, there were logical explanations for why these instances occurred.
Vaping products should always be purchased from a trusted, reputable retailer. Second, most e-cig manufacturers have a built-in system for identifying genuine products. Authentication systems include checking QR codes, serial numbers and other non-replaceable details. These safeguards guarantee that the device being purchased is not an inexpensively made clone or knock-off.
Purchasing vaping products from a reliable retailer with prevent physical injury to due improperly packaged components. Further, inspect all batteries before installing them. Make sure their protective plastic coating covers the entire body of the battery to prevent accidental activation or instability.
Lithium-ion batteries have a reputation for being unstable. However, if produced responsibly, they are perfectly safe when handled and used according to set specifications. Irresponsibly manufacturing methods caused explosions and fires. The use of inferior equipment caused circuits to overload and bridge without the intention of their users.
With that in mind, this is a primary reason not to store extra e-cig batteries in your pocket. Anything metal including conductive coins, could cause it to activate. Bridging the terminals of a battery, can cause it to generate energy, heat and possibly flame. We advise housing spare batteries in non-conductive, static-free plastic carrying cases.
As a necessary component to vaping, e-juice is the essence of what becomes vapor. Inhalable clouds of flavorful vapor are formed with two common additives. The chemistry of vaping is as important in keeping users safe, as the electrical engineering in a mod.
Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerin (VG) are binding agents that allow other ingredients to be carried in vapor. As a result, there has been some recent research and resulting criticism about them. Most of which is related to the effects of PG and VG when heated and possible dangers.
Is Vaping PG Bad For You?
Propylene glycol sounds like a complicated chemical; however, it surprises many people to find out it is a common additive. In fact, consumer and medical goods commonly contain PG. Propylene glycol’s chemical property of binding to molecules like nicotine allow them to be carried by vapor.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) both regard PG as safe to use. Though, PG has been under attack by critics who claim harmful byproducts may result in heating it. A study conducted by Portland State University found that heating PG at very high voltage would produce a higher amount of formaldehyde gas than traditional cigarettes.
However, analysis of their findings revealed that power levels used in the study were considerably higher than the majority of users. Additionally, vaping at that high of a voltage would cause fouling of the flavor.
With this is mind, there is a chance users may be allergic to propylene glycol. Initial symptoms may include sore throat, body rash, diarrhea, and muscle pain. These effects are similar to the flu. Consult the advice of a medical professional if experiencing symptoms longer or more intense than normal.
VG Vaping and Other Additives
Vegetable glycerin is a commonly used additive in consumer food products. Everything from sugar substitutes and pet food to eye drops and toothpaste can contain amounts of VG. It’s low toxicity and high vaporization capability make it an ideal additive to e-liquids.
Government entities have determined PG and VG are generally safe. However, a potentially harmful condition called popcorn lung is a notable concern for vapers. It may sound innocuous and silly; however, this serious lung disease is an actual cause for concern. This was attributed to a chemical additive called diacetyl which is no longer used.
The chemical diacetyl is found in a range of consumer products including beer, wine, many fruits & vegetables, honey and tobacco to name a few. Diacetyl gives buttery products their unique flavoring, a major reason why it was added to e-juice.
However, a handful of unregulated, disreputable e-juice manufacturers were adding it irresponsibly to their products without concern for consumers. This resulted in a spike of cases, leading many to assume that it was an industry-wide problem.
On the contrary, the top juice manufacturers were making e-liquid as they had been. Typically, e-juice is made of VG, PG, flavoring and if specified by the user, nicotine. As evidenced, a combination of rumor and biased evidence can create dangerous stereotypes that scare potential users from their benefits.
While recent studies have suggested that nicotine may have benefits in treating or even preventing diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, other effects on the human body are well documented. Most notably nicotine acts as a stimulant, affecting both the central nervous system and the cardiovascular system. Nicotine can cause blood vessels to constrict, raising the heart rate and increasing blood pressure.
The effects of nicotine can include periodontal disease due to the constriction of blood vessels in the gums. The Royal Society for Public Health in England suggests it is no more harmful than the caffeine in coffee. Derogatory claims of nicotine stem back to FDA regulations and their crusade to eradicate smoking as a national health concern.
Government watch dogs were unsure how to regulate e-cigs when they came to market. After a failed attempt to categorize them as medical devices, the FDA attached the closest regulatory parameters onto the entire industry for the misfortunate reason of simply sharing a single attribute: nicotine.
Nicotine, a stimulant government entities has labeled an addictive drug was the only similarity between tobacco and e-cigs. As a result, this comparison created turmoil in the vaping industry, killing small business entrepreneurs with a pen stroke. With that in mind, the decision to regulate e-cigs as tobacco appeared to be an attack on a misunderstood industry. Vaping products would have been more appropriately categorized similarly to coffee and espresso machines.
What are the Health Risks of Vapes?
Studies into the health risks of vaping have been gaining traction in recent years. Many of which suggest that e-cigs may be as harmful as smoking. To clarify, any irritant, stimulant or chemical added to the body that doesn’t naturally produce will have an indeterminate effect. Like smoking, vaping, drinking coffee, alcohol, eating processed foods or taking medicine, vaping has its effect. Every exterior influence introduced to the human body has its drawbacks and benefits.
Advertisements for medication on television, must dedicate the last remaining seconds to quickly list the possible side effects. However, doctors prescribe these medications every day for the treatment of ailments. Any peripheral effects of vaping act similarly.
Many of the studies have found that vaping may result in certain lung and heart-related markers associated with disease. However, these markers do not directly suggest that the contraction of these conditions will definitely be the result. It’s important to know the risk factors for something as new and unstudied as the long-term effects of vaping. It will take time for any effects to become visible given how new the technology is.
Vaping does not replace smoking, it is simply an alternative. There are no documented health benefits to using e-cigarettes and in no way, are we equating them with medicine. However, with anything new, the doubts and unknowns are numerous. Studies into health effects are slow to start and the evidence so far inconclusive.
Are There Any Side Effects to Vaping?
There are some immediate side effects that some vapers may experience. The following side effects of vaping are possible, but not guaranteed results of vaping:
Symptoms of dryness can appear and feel quite like an allergy attack. Users who switch to vaping commonly report dry eyes, dry mouth, skin, lips and throat. Excessive thirst or oral dryness may be due in part to the introduction of the vapor. Due in part to PG vaping has properties that attract or distill moisture. To counteract the symptoms of this humectant, users should drink more water to restore moisture.
Acne or Rash
A common condition known as quit zits and itchy skin or rashes are a known result of the switch. Many users report their acne subsiding within one week to three months. Though rare, allergic reactions to both PG and VG are possible. Discovering whether a user is susceptible to side effects to one or both can be daunting. Some users combat their reactions with over-the-counter allergy medication. However, serious allergies can have potentially harmful results. It is recommended users discontinue use and consult a medical professional for advice at the sign of serious reaction.
Hidden Gum Disease
Use of any nicotine product causes blood vessels to constrict. In vapers who develop gum disease or other periodontal problems, this can cause warning signs to remain hidden. Obviously, t’s best to brush and floss regularly to maintain good dental health. It’s even more crucial for those who use nicotine products to take care of their health due to hidden dangers. While it’s not necessarily one of the side effects of vaping, it’s an important factor to keep in mind.
Propylene glycol draws moisture as it travels. PG can leech bodily fluids that are a natural part of the nasal cavity while traveling through the nose. Some vapors have reported extreme cases that include burning smells, and bodily harm as a result from repetitive exhalation through the nose.
Lowered Immune System
When many people quit smoking, they report intense cold and flu infections. Symptoms include stuffy or runny nose, sinus pressure, coughs and body aches. However, a study on animal subjects conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health drew parallels to the possible effect vaping can have on the human lungs. Their research led them to believe that vapers could be more susceptible to respiratory infections. This was as a result of what they determined to be byproducts.
Finding the appropriate nicotine level for new vapers requires research. It’s important to supplement the amount the body wants, though, without over serving it. In some cases, withdrawal as a result of insufficient doses can cause heightened anxiety. While many smokers believe nicotine calms them down, the truth is, the chemical is a stimulant. Additionally, it raises blood pressure and constricts blood vessels, both of which can cause vapers to become ‘edgy’.
Sleepless nights are a frequent complaint from those switching to vaping. Either due to nicotine withdrawal or an excessive dose, the regulation of vaper’s sleep schedules depends largely on physically acclimating to the new practice. Lowering nicotine dosage may help some fall asleep easier. However, nicotine is a stimulant. It’s wise to taper the frequency of use as the hour grows later, just like drinking coffee.
Dizziness and Nausea
Frequently, when determining the appropriate nicotine dosage vapers require, they start a bit too high. It’s helpful to think of the human brain and body as machines with built-in warning signals for overload. Dizziness and nausea are often due to excessive doses of nicotine the body is unaccustomed to processing. More often than not, lowering the milligram dosage of nicotine will make them go away.
Coughing (possibly due to lungs clearing)
While vaping producing no burnt material or particulate carcinogens, it isn’t strange to develop a cough when switching to vaping. A cough may bring up carcinogenic material that’s been deposited by years of smoking. It’s recommended users seek the expert counsel of a physician if a cough become persistent or worsens.
As a result of nicotine stimulating blood vessels in the brain, users may experience headaches. In fact, vapers predisposed to migraines find that the use of nicotine can trigger them. However, being in control of the dosage of nicotine allows users to dial-in their mg levels. They are able to vape below the amount that brings these headaches on.
With that in ‘mind’, some users have an over sensitivity to propylene glycol. Additionally, a small margin of vapers find that they have allergic reactions to PG. This, plus the humectant properties of the additive are possible reasons for why the use of propylene glycol causes headaches.
The aforementioned symptoms, they may be easily addressed with adjustments to e-juice or routine. However, if any of the above symptoms cause vapers discomfort or they suspect a serious condition may be the cause, they are encouraged to discontinue use of their device and seek medical treatment immediately.
Does Vaping Cause Cancer?
Presently, no concrete evidence exists to conclude that vaping has any direct link to any forms of cancer. Vaping is not known to possess any of the known carcinogens or particulates that are byproducts of burning tobacco. This is especially true with deposits and harmful chemicals related to the depositing of tar, as e-juice and vaping contains, nor produces tar, which is unique to the burning of tobacco.
That said, new users should know the possible risks being studied presently. The FDA has determined the atomizing additives PG and VG as safe for use in food and consumer products. However, there hasn’t been much study into what they produce when heated.
Possible toxins created by heating PG are under academic review. In the Portland State University study conducted on e-juice byproducts, researchers detected high levels of formaldehyde gas.
Of course, there are still vapers who insist on pushing their devices. They may insist on reaching the maximum voltage possible. In the interest of safety, those vaping at 3.3 to 5.0 volts consistently should understand the risks. Formaldehyde gas is associated with heightened risks of leukemia and nasopharyngeal cancer. This cancer effects the part of the throat behind the nasal cavity and above the mouth.
Is Vaping Bad for Your Lungs?
Any foreign substance introduced into the human body will have unknown results including food products, medicine or even tainted air. However, knowing the risks of vaping to human lungs can make it easier to prevent unforeseen hazards. Having discussed the possible side effects of vaping on the lungs, we’ll directly address the prospective dangers that directly relate to the lungs.
While nicotine is being studied as a possible treatment for other ailments, in some subjects it can cause inflammation. Nicotine is absorbed through the lungs. It is possible for nicotine to reduce lung tissue to fend off foreign substances.
The paralyzing effect nicotine has on the lungs is a serious factor in the depositing of carcinogens. That said, if users aren’t inhaling additional contaminants, the temporary disabling of this barrier may pose little danger.
A number of critics of vaping suggest that vaping can cause problems such as COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. However, the evidence for this is based on conjecture. The data was analyzed from using devices at impossible or improbably high temperatures. In fact, some research suggests that switching to vaping may reduce the risk of developing asthma.
In essence, any evidence gathered pointing to vaping as the direct cause of lung problems, is incidental. Determining whether vaping is bad for your lungs or not, will require further research. However, more research is sure to come as the vaping industry grows, and regulation with it.
Is Vaping Addictive?
A primary concern to government regulators and health professionals with regards to vaping is addiction. Unfortunately, the close association of e-cigs with tobacco causes critics to regard it as addictive. However, rarely do they discuss the reasons behind why they consider it so.
Nicotine, as mentioned before, is a stimulant. When absorbed, it appeases parts of the brain that release adrenaline. Animal-derived adrenaline, or Epinephrine is used in medical treatments. The hormone increases blood circulation and create a rush of energized stimulation in different parts of the human body.
This euphoric effect, can be addicting, causing the user’s body to create a physical attachment and need for it. However, physical exertion, exercise, panic or stress can be paralleled to a similar feeling. In fact, the term “runner’s high” describes a similar effect on humans. Exertion and intensity created by stressful physical activity generates adrenaline causing runners to feel ‘high’.
In effect, this heightened exhilaration is a remnant from human’s ancestral ‘fight or flight response’. This occurs when the body and mind create a reaction intended on saving an entity’s life from an imminent threat. While vaping isn’t an imminent threat, the FDA seems to treat it like one.
Another common reason some believe vaping is addictive is due to ritual. The repetitive practice of muscle memory and familiar feeling encompassed by an action. In addition, this is a reason many smokers are unable to kick their habits.
Though vaping shares some perceived negative attributes with cigarettes, the associations are circumstantial. Negative stigmas were applied to e-cigarettes to maintain opposition to tobacco.
Popcorn Lung and Vaping
Popcorn lung is a serious medical condition that causes the narrowing of airways. To explain, bronchiolitis obliterans takes its familiar name from popularity as a flavor additive. A chemical called diacetyl gave certain foods such as popcorn a richer and more ‘buttery’ taste.
Symptoms of popcorn lung include shortness of breath, wheezing unrelated to other conditions, dry cough and exhaustion. Popcorn lung cases spiked, due to diacetyl added to e-liquids.
Diacetyl was a primary ingredient in butter-flavored popcorn. In fact, factory workers who packaged microwave popcorn were discovered with a higher occurrence of popcorn lung. In response, some manufacturers stopped using the chemical.
However, the association of popcorn lung with vaping, stems from two particular studies. Bear in mind, vaping at power levels beyond normal voltage skewed at least one of them. According to myth checker Snopes.com, a Harvard study concluded that low dosages of diacetyl in e-juice were not likely a risk factor in contracting the condition. Further, another study concluded that tobacco cigarettes contained a higher dosage of diacetyl. Concluding, users were no more at risk of contracting popcorn lung than non-smokers.
Popcorn lung is a legitimate concern for consumers. However, vapers are no more at risk of falling victim to popcorn lung than certain industrial workers or tobacco smokers. Any chemical damage may contribute to getting popcorn lung. However, there is no direct evidence to suggest that vaping puts users at any additional risk.
FDA Vaping Regulations
When e-cigarettes were first introduced to American consumers, the FDA scrambled to create rules to govern their use. Finally, they opted instead to classify them as tobacco products. This was due primarily to their similarities to traditional cigarettes; explicitly nicotine.
However, the vaping community turned out in force to oppose the restrictions. They claimed that any incidental similarities were no cause for the overreach. For an industry experiencing a boom of both new users and new entrepreneurs, the FDA regulations would discourage competition and small business. The new rules made it nearly impossible for any new companies to enter the market. Most were unable to pay for millions of dollars of testing and product research they simply could not afford.
What became known as ‘the deeming rule’ took a great deal of criticism. The decision seemed to foster big corporations in favor of small businesspeople. Rewriting aspects of existing policy to include preventing customers from sampling merchandise or giving away testers, discouraged some vapers.
While a massive selection of flavors is still available, the FDA is exploring the possibility of changing that. The vaping community views the possibility of outlawing flavors as a serious danger. It risks shattering both the safety and future of the industry. In effect, banning flavors would drive manufacturers to a black market. Consumers will have no protections, all in an attempt of the FDA to curb underage use.
How Bad Is Vaping For You?
Given what we know, it’s unclear if, or how bad vaping is for users. However, the evidence available suggests vaping may be harmful to its users than previously thought. In fact, it may be less harmful than some hidden dangers in our everyday lives. That said, we are in no way claiming any medical expertise or guarantees based on the expectations and research of others. However, we believe in vaping and we believe in its future.