Vaping has become increasing popular and the one thing that everyone wants to know is whether or not vaping is safe? Health experts and retails are often confronted with questions on the topic, is vaping safe? how harmful is vaping? Is vaping heathier than smoking?
Vaping vs smoking
First let’s look at the intended user base, smokers. Vaping became popular in China where more than 60% of men are smokers and vaping was designed as an alternative to this habit. People who smoke generally do so because they become addicted to nicotine which is a highly addictive substance. Nicotine by itself is not considered to be a significant health hazard, it does not cause acute cardiac events or coronary heart disease and is not carcinogenic. However, if you have a heart condition it may cause issues as it does raise the heart rate which would contradict the goal of any treatment you may or should be receiving.
Vape kits or e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco and do not produce tar or carbon monoxide which are by far the most damaging constituents in cigarette smoke. The substance you inhale while using one of these devices is vapour produced from the heating of the liquid rather than smoke produced by burning. If you are currently a smoker looking to improve your health and quite smoking, vaping is considered to be a much healthier alternative. As it mimics the act of smoking, most people looking to quit find switching to vaping more successful than many of the other alternatives.
A study funded by the British heart foundation found vaping to be less harmful to a user’s blood vessels than smoking cigarettes. Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associated Medical Director at the British heart foundation said the following:
“This study suggests that vaping may be less harmful to your blood vessels than smoking cigarettes. Within just one month of ditching tobacco for electronic cigarettes, people’s blood vessel health had started to recover.”
He also said:
“Just because e-cigarettes may be less harmful than tobacco doesn’t mean they are completely safe. We know they contain significantly fewer of the harmful chemicals, which can cause diseases related to smoking, but we still don’t know the long-term impact on the heart and circulation, or other aspects of health. E-cigarettes and vaping should never be taken up by people who don’t already smoke but could be a useful tool to help people to stop smoking completely.”
Vaping and lung health
To date, there has been no direct link to a decline in lung health and the use of vaping equipment. However, it took nearly 30 years for the long term health affects caused by smoking to become clear and could be another 20 years before and long term effects can truly be understood. If you have a pre-existing lung condition, such as asthma, vaping may worsen this condition. If you experience shortness of breath, develop a cough, experience chest pain or nausea shortly after switching to vaping it would be advisable to seek medical attention.
Who should not vape?
Vaping has become increasingly popular and concerns have been raised about whether the glamorisation of vaping is encouraging none smokers to take up vaping and become addicted to nicotine. If you are a non-smoker or have already quit smoking you should not take up vaping. In addition, if you have any ongoing health concerns, particularly heart or lung conditions, it may be advisable to seek professional medical advice before starting to vape. It is also recommended that you should cease vaping while pregnant. Although e-cigarettes contain much fewer toxins compared to normal cigarettes, you are still exposing your baby to nicotine which could be harmful. No one under age of 18 should take up vaping.
What about the US deaths linked to vaping?
In August 2019, an outbreak of serious lung disease was linked to vaping and tragically, a number of people died. It has since been identified that vitamin E acetate that is added to cannabis products was the primary cause of the illnesses and deaths. In the UK, which has strict legislation in place to control the safety of vaping, vitamin E acetate is banned.