“They are calling it the snapchat of smoking. All the kids are doing it and even older millennials don’t know whats going on. We’re talking, of course, about Vaping.”
Vaping is an act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol produced by an e-cigarette or a similar device.
Electronic cigarettes are battery powered vaporizers- They contain cartridges filled with an e-liquid containing nicotine, flavoring substances and other chemicals but not tobacco. A battery heats and vaporizes this liquid , delivering nicotine in form of aerosols and vapor – the person exhales this vapor instead of smoke- hence called vaping- the cool and dangerous new alternative to smoking.
Some common street names for E cigarettes are:
E-Cigs, E-Hookahs, Vapes and Vape Pens.
Teachers and parents look out.. that new USB stick might be an E cigarette: An increasingly popular E Cigarette device, called JUUL, is shaped to look like a USB flash drive. It has a high level of Nicotine. Few searches on google and we found out that a single JUUL Pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes.
The Vaping Crisis
Misinformation and very little research on e cigarettes is creating dangerous levels of confusion surrounding the surge in vaping related illness and lung injuries. The Vaping crisis is directed towards two major concerns;
The first one that we found to be common in every news coverage and broadcasts- The surge in E-cigarettes and Vaping associated lung injury (EVALI).
And the other includes worries related to the rising trend of vaping among teens.
2019-2020 Vaping Lung Illness Outbreak in United States:
An outbreak of severe vaping associated illness- EVALI started in 2019 and is ongoing in US. Research into this proved that exposure to the varying chemicals in vapors were responsible for the injury
When inhaled, vapors cause bronchiolitis obliterans commonly known as Popcorn Lungs.
The major culprit recognized is the Vitamin E Acetate which is used as a cutting agent in unregulated THC containing Vape products.
This can make you wonder what harm can vitamin E do? Don’t we all take it as supplements?
Hold your horses there! Vitamin E is good as long as you take it as a supplement or put it on your skin but not when you heat it and breath it in or as they say- Vape it in.
Heating is vital process in the working of e-cigarettes and creates some very toxic chemicals like aldehydes and acetaldehydes.
The odds of inhaling Vitamin E includes
Dyspnea (trouble and pain in breathing ) and Cough
Gastrointestinal Problems- Abdominal pain,nausea and emesis (vomiting)
Fever and Chills
Apart from this many other chemicals present in the E liquid (acrolein, propylene glycol and other ultra fine particles) along with Nicotine, a highly addictive substance, can cause lung inflammation when heated to different temperatures by the vape devices.
And then there are the flavors containing another hundreds of chemicals which come along with their own long term health effects- contrary to the belief that “we are just inhaling a bunch of oil”. Cool as it may sound but its not!
Teen Vaping Addiction
Many teenagers erroneously believe that vaping is safer than smoking traditional cigarettes.
In most cases Vaping is not better than smoking cigarettes. It predisposes the teenagers to smoke traditional tobacco cigarettes.
Vaping, a potential gateway to smoking for the teens, is increasing at an alarming rate.
The three reasons vaping may be enticing to young people may be:
The belief that smoking is less harmful.
E-cigarettes have a lower per-use cost than regular cigarettes.
Finally the wide array of flavorings available – from Cotton Ccandy to Martini Royale!
Teenagers are at a particular risk for adverse affects of vaping including nicotine addiction. Nicotine slows down the brain development in teens affecting memory and learning.
Another underrated aspect of teen vaping that we found out was that Vape pens can be used to ingest Marijuana and other illegal drugs.
Signs of Teen Vaping Addiction
Vaping can have grave deleterious effects on physical and mental health of your kid. Here are some signs that your child is up in this smokless trend:
Increased thirst as vaping dehydrates the mouth
Loss of flavor perception- Vapor’s Tongue
Unfamiliar USB drives
Sweet smells from their belonging
Reduced Caffeine intake
Why do People Vape?
Globally this industry is worth more than $22 billion and the popularity of vaping is showing no signs of slowing just yet. So what is making people vape?
#As an aid to smoking cessation- Contrast to this belief the studies have showed that most smokers who use e-cigarettes in an attempt to quit smoking end up smoking cigarettes along with vaping nicotine.
#The belief that they are safer alternatives to smoking- This holds true only for those adults who have never smoked before. But the statistics aren’t very promising and most people end up doing both.
#As a way to get around easily with smoke-free laws
#The joys of e-juice flavors- For vapors there is an array of flavors available and the flashy advertisements make it even more appealing.
When India said No To Vaping
E-cigarettes were outlawed in India in September 2019
The Indian vaping ban came amidst concerns of rising trends of vaping among the youth.
“The Decision was made keeping in mind the impact that e-cigarettes have on the youth of today.”
-India’s finance minister, Nirmala Sitharam
The ban covers the sale, importation, storage, and advertising of vaping products. The offenders can face upto one year in prison and a fine of one lakh rupees. Repeated offending is fined with Rs. 5 lakhs and three years imprisonment.
The founder of Association Of Vapors, Samrat Chowdhery however argued that “An outright ban would lead to the creation of black market”. He instead suggested about regulation of sales and application of taxes.
CONCLUSION: Six Truths about Vaping
Busting the myths
- Vaping may be less harmful than smoking but is still not safe.
E-cigarettes heat nicotine and other chemicals which makes it almost as injurious.
- Vaping is bad for your lungs and heart.
- Electronic cigarettes are just as addictive as regular ones.
Some e-cigarettes have as much nicotine in their single pods as 20 regular cigarettes.
- Electronic cigarettes aren’t the best smoking cessation tools.
Many people end up doing both.
- New generation is getting hooked on Nicotine.
The tantalizing flavors and market technology has helped to drive the surge among teens.
- The Indian ban on sale of electronic cigarettes has given way to black markets.
|The bottom line – Its clear that there is a lot about vaping we don’t know. Research studies are going on and until we know more, we need to think twice about vaping. our lungs were meant to inhale clean air and nothing else. it took many years to recognize the damage regular cigarettes can cause. We could be on a similar path with vaping. We need to educate people that e-cigarettes are not safe and they are NOT just inhaling steam.|
Ayesha Em Ayaz- Rama Medical College, Kanpur
Ahmad Umama Jafri- Governmemt Medical College, Badaun