The Dangers of Vaping
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Over the last couple of years, electronic cigarettes and “vaping” have grown drastically in popularity, especially among teens. While many believe that vaping is a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes, several credible studies prove otherwise.
While many of the teens (13% of high-schoolers reported using an e-cig in the last 30 days in a recent CDC study) that vape do so to be “cool” or to become a so-called “vape god,” others do so because they believe it is safer than smoking tobacco products. However, a federally-funded Harvard study “confirmed dangerous, lung-destroying chemicals are commonly found in the liquids used in electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices.” Furthermore, the study found evidence that the chemicals in the vapor can destroy the lungs’ tiniest airways, and lead to a condition that is known as “popcorn lungs.”
Many electronic cigarettes contain the same highly addictive nicotine as regular cigarettes, while delivering over 5 times the amount of formaldehyde (which is linked to several cancers). Additionally, there are quite a few other toxic chemicals that a user inhales into their lungs, one of which is diacetyl, and is linked with serious lung diseases.
Are these serious risks really worth the popularity or satisfaction that vaping delivers, at the cost of potentially damaging your lungs and increasing your risk of lung cancer?
On the contrary, there is some evidence that suggests vaping is safer than smoking cigarettes. For starters, one who vapes is not inhaling any smoke into his lungs. While there is inconclusive research on vaping, early estimates lead experts to believe there are fewer toxins in vape than in cigarette smoke.
“There’s no question that a puff on an e-cigarette is less toxic than a puff on a regular cigarette,” according Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco. However, “few studies have looked at the toxicity of their vapors. As a result, scientists have been circumspect about describing e-cigarettes as safe.”
That same advice can be carried over to the vaping vs. smoking debate. If someone wants to avoid serious harmful side effects, it is better off to avoid both. True, electronic cigarettes might be safer than regular cigarettes, but asking if one should vape or smoke in order to avoid the most serious dangers is like asking if one should rob a bank or possess an illegal substance in order to get the least amount of jail time possible. While possessing an illegal substance will probably land a lighter sentence than robbing a bank, it is best to commit neither crime as to avoid jail time.