Doing Life Together

woman-2586198_1280Vaping has become cool for many teens due to the availability of flavored e-juices. The argument goes, I can vape without using nicotine, so it must be safe, right?

Wrong, but if you read the number of vaping articles written on the Internet from vaping companies, you might think it is safe. Search the Internet, but pay attention to who is writing the articles. Read the reputable science sites, not the vaping companies who are promoting their products.

Vaping is marketed to teens and young adults using fruity flavors that are considered safe in food classification. But liquids sweetened with flavorings do harm to the lungs when heated and inhaled. According to researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center, over time, vaping and e-cigarettes create cell damage that can lead to a host of medical problems–asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, fibrosis and more. The researchers found chemicals that might be safe to ingest in food products to be a different story when heated and inhaled. Inhalation triggers an inflammatory response that eventually damages the lungs. And when several flavors are used, a worse reaction seems to occur.

The FDA has a list of 93 harmful or potentially harmful chemicals in cigarettes and because E-cigarettes have fewer chemicals, they are referred to as a healthy alternative. But the liquids that don’t contain nicotine may have health risks we’ve yet to see and are filled with chemicals that could do harm. For example, high voltage devices can produce levels of formaldehyde, a carcinogen. The concern is that toxins are created when flavorings are exposed to heat. So vaping without nicotine is not risk free.  Nicotine may be absent, but the chemicals in vaping can have negative effects on the body. And the long-term impact of vaping is not known yet.

Another concern is that teen vapers often don’t know what they are vaping. Vapes are passed around as a social thing. Teens that try different flavors at parties and social events may not know if nicotine is in the vape or not. And one of the most popular pods of Juul does contain nicotine. In fact, a single pod contains 40 mgs of nicotine, about the same as a pack of cigarettes.

Finally, there are studies that say that if a teen begins vaping, they are more likely to smoke conventional cigarettes and use tobacco products later. This is probably a major reason tobacco companies support vaping–they are building a future customer base. If you use one product and get in the habit of vaping, it is easy to use other products that might contain nicotine.

The bottom line is that vaping without nicotine is safer than with nicotine, but still isn’t risk free. Vaping produces gases that can damage cells and harm human infection-fighting cells. So tell your students and teens, vaping doesn’t have to have nicotine to be toxic!

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