While tobacco products, combustibles as well as dip and chew, continue to be utilized by more than thirty million adults in the United States1, vaping seems to be the new smoking. Research shows that vaping is one of the most popular substances use trends, especially among young adults and teens. Flavors that are enticing to young people, including sweet, fruity flavors and menthol have led to their popularity. Additionally, vaping devices come in forms that are appealing and discreet, making them more accessible than other forms of nicotine.
Vaping has also become popularized as a strategy for tobacco cessation. There is a perception that vaping is a healthier option than smoking. However, despite its popularity, vaping does not come without risks. We share a few myths and misconceptions to help clarify the dangers of using vaping devices and e-cigarettes.
Myth #1 Vaping is safe. While those who vape avoid exposure to tar, carbon monoxide and harmful chemicals that are associated with combustible tobacco, studies show that there are still thousands of toxins, metals, and ultrafine particles that people who vape are exposed to2. Further, the substance that is released from vaping is not a water vapor. The substance released is an aerosol, which over time can result in cardiovascular and respiratory problems. Additionally, it has been estimated that more than 90% of vaping cartridges and liquids sold in the United States contain nicotine, which can be harmful to adolescent brain development and lead to nicotine dependence3. Vaping also presents risks for those who are pregnant. Vaping during pregnancy can result in low birth weight, and problems with lung and brain development in babies4,5. In essence, vaping is not free from health risks for adults, youth, or those who are pregnant.
Myth #2 Vaping can help with tobacco cessation. While some have had success with quitting tobacco after initiating vaping, many who vape also continue to smoke in some capacity. Most American public health agencies discourage vaping and e-cigarettes as a tool for tobacco cessation because there are known, and unknown health risks associated with their use. Certified nicotine treatment specialists can assist those trying to quit in exploring safer options.
Myth #3 Vaping is not addictive. As noted earlier, most vapes contain nicotine, a substance that is highly addictive. Both physiological and psychological addiction are possible consequences of vaping. Working with a nicotine treatment specialist can help with developing strategies for managing cravings and other symptoms associated with nicotine addiction. They can also assist with nicotine replacement therapies that are deemed safe for those who are trying to quit.
In summary, vaping has become a popularized form of smoking, but it is not risk-free. Learn more about the risks of vaping and the impact it can have on you and those around you, especially if you are pregnant.