Is Vaping Safe? What the Latest Research Says About the Cigarette Substitute

Prolonged smoking harms millions of people around the world annually. There are several thousand toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke, at least 70 of which are known carcinogens. Exposure to these chemicals—nicotine, lead, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, polonium-210, arsenic, and others—can give rise to a wide range of health conditions, such as lung disease, heart disease, oral disease, cancer, and many other serious issues.

For the sake of your health, you might want to consider kicking the habit. Giving up smoking is easier said than done, however. The addictive nature of tobacco and the distressing withdrawal symptoms you experience when you stop cold turkey can make for an uphill struggle. To cope better in the transition from tobacco products, many smokers take to vaping.

What is vaping?

Vaping involves the use of e-cigarettes, vape pens, and other vaping devices that contain liquid-filled cartridges. The vaping device heats the liquid, which is infused with nicotine, flavoring, and other chemicals, and the user can then inhale the resulting vapor. It is similar to what you would experience with smoking regular cigarettes and cigars, except without the smoke and smell of burning tobacco. There is no issue of second-hand smoke with vaping and that has been making it more socially acceptable than traditional tobacco products.

In many states in the United States, vaping is legal for people above the ages of 18, 19, or 21. They can buy and use vaping devices, but they are required to follow state-issued laws about where they can engage in vaping in private and public places.

Is vaping safe?

Vaping has been marketed as a safer alternative to smoking. Since vaping devices contain fewer harmful chemicals than regular cigarettes and cigars, the effect on your health will be comparatively less. Does that mean vaping is healthier than smoking? Not necessarily. If you indulge in too much vaping, you could still end up injuring your lungs. It could also activate the bacteria present in your lungs and lead to bacterial infection.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the people most likely to experience lung injuries are those who either modify the vaping devices or alter the vaping liquids.

If you are going to try vaping as a cigar or cigarette substitute, the CDC has the following recommendations:

• Choose high-quality vaping products and devices.

• Do not modify the e-cigarette, vaping pen, or other vaping devices. Use it exactly as instructed by the manufacturer.

• Do not alter the content of the vaping liquid and don’t try to refill cartridges with cheaper black-market stuff.

• Make sure that you do not use vaping liquid containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC vaping products make use of Vitamin E acetate as a thickening agent. According to the CDC, it is a chemical that can harm your lungs.

Other tips for safe vaping

It may also help be moderate in your vaping practice. Since vaping products also contain nicotine, they can get addictive too, just like regular tobacco products. You might also end up inhaling more nicotine than what you would normally get from cigarettes or cigars if you use extra-strength vaping liquid cartridges.

If you are using vaping to quit your smoking habit, make sure that you stop smoking cigarettes and cigars. Otherwise, as with many people, you will end up both smoking and vaping. And the combination won’t bode well for your health.

Recent studies show that people who use both regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes have higher levels of inflammatory and oxidative stress profiles. The levels are significantly lower if you only use e-cigarettes, and much more so if you don’t vape or smoke at all.

So, is vaping safe? Well, as discussed, it depends on how you intend to use it and how determined you are to quit smoking and not get addicted to a new habit. At present, with smoking being frowned upon in many public places around the country, vaping is on the rise. There are currently over 40 million people in the United States who use vaping devices. It seems to be particularly prevalent with the youth, many of whom have never smoked traditional tobacco products and find vaping flavors appealing.

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