Nicotine, As Always, The Demon
Electronic cigarettes are also known as e-cigarettes, e-cigs, vape pens, tank systems and mods, among others. In their most basic presentation and operation, e-cigarettes are devices that basically heat a liquid, which is most typically nicotine-laced, into an aerosol. The e-cig user then proceeds to inhale the fumes from the aerosol.
Vaping, which is the verb derived from the act of inhaling from a vape pen or e-cig, is a relatively new fad—10-15 years, give or take; 21st C. anyway. This is the reason the Food and Drug Administration has not yet systematically reviewed electronic cigarettes for their impact on lung health and other parameters. However, in January of 2018, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine published a consensus study report reviewing and coalescing the finding of over 800 studies. The report established some facts beyond doubt:
- The use of e-cigarettes is harmful to your health.
- Nicotine is the main culprit here, affecting the brain’s growth well into the mid-20’s.
- E-cigarettes both contain and emit several hazardous substances, chief among them propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, which are toxic to the human cells.
- There is a high presence of aldehydes —acetaldehyde, acrolein, and formaldehyde— which may result in lung and cardiovascular disease.
- Moving along, acrolein is a herbicide used to kill weeds. It is also present in the vaping liquids and can cause acute lung injury, COPD, asthma and lung cancer.
- Moderate to high evidence indicates that the use of e-cigs in youth is conducive to increased coughing and wheezing, as well as asthma exacerbation.
- As far back as 2016, the US Surgeon General stated that secondhand emissions contain: nicotine; ultrafine particles, which can penetrate deep into the lungs; flavorings such as diacetyl, which is linked to serious lung disease; volatile organic compounds, including benzene (such as is found in car exhaust); and heavy metals like nickel, tin, and lead.
- Moreover, the FDA has not found seen any evidence that would lead to think that e-cigarettes are safe and effective in helping smokers quit.
The link of e-cigarette use, serious harmful effects and youth is especially worrisome to the state and central administrations, having conducted endless studies and prospections on use, negative effects and possible help. Because nicotine causes or could cause irreversible lung damage and disease. The stats among the youth are growingly worrying. In 2018, approximately 1 in 5 high school students reported smoking e-cigarettes. The trend, from 2011 to 2018 (the latest effective stats available), shows a continued rise in e-cig use across all student groups, mostly among high school students (22%), but equally preoccupying for middle school students (close to 5%). This is a dramatic spike over 7 years, when basically both figures were next to nothing.