March Vaping Awareness

March is Vaping Awareness Month, and to recognize this, I decided to dedicate the articles this month to raise awareness of the Vaping epidemic and address the concerns regarding vaping.

Week One (How vaping affects your health)

More than 2.5 million students used tobacco products in 2021, with e-cigarettes being the most commonly used tobacco product amongst middle and high schoolers. The harsh reality is that this number is only going to increase over the years, since vaping has drastically grown in popularity in recent years, especially among teenagers. However, despite the growing number of vapers in the United States, many are still unaware of the dangers that e-cigarettes pose to their health.

E-cigarettes contain dangerous ingredients that severely harm the body, mainly the lungs and brain. Besides the danger of inhaling ultrafine particles into the lungs, flavorings such as diacetyl are present at dangerous levels in e-cigarettes. The flavorings greatly increase the risk of lung cancer in someone who vapes.

Exposure to diacetyl has been associated with respiratory impairment and obliterative bronchitis, a very serious lung disease that is irreversible. When someone has obliterative bronchitis, or “popcorn lung” the most narrow airways in the lung – the bronchioles – become scarred and constrict which blocks the movement of air. This disease has no lasting cure, so chronic symptoms such as shortness of breath and wheezing are common.

Dangerous chemicals including acetaldehyde, acrolein, and formaldehyde are produced from e-cigarettes. These can cause lung disease and cardiovascular (heart) disease. Not only that, but e-cigarettes also contain acrolein, which is a herbicide mainly used to kill weeds. Acrolein can cause acute lung injury and COPD, which may result in asthma and lung cancer.

The nicotine in e-cigarettes also damages brain development, especially in young people. Many people who vape are young and their brains are still developing in regard to self-control and maturation. However, individuals who repeatedly vape decrease their impulse control and are likely to have mood disorders and permanent damage to parts of the brain responsible for memory, emotion, and critical thinking.

Even though nicotine in e-cigarettes is extremely harmful, it’s also incredibly addictive. Nicotine releases dopamine in the brain, which gives users a good feeling. Over time, the brain starts to crave that nicotine feeling so people need to use more and more nicotine products to have that same good feeling.

The other side-effects of vaping include feelings restless, and increase in anxiety, headaches, shortness of breath, headaches, and nausea.

Any sort of addiction is difficult to overcome, but nicotine addictions are especially difficult. However, it is important to quit using nicotine products, including vapes. This is important, now more than ever, with caping growing more common. Seeking necessary help and alternatives is a challenge, but doing so avoids damage to the body.