While the occurrence of smoking cigarettes has gone down, overall tobacco use due to vaping devices has remained steady.
Vaping refers to the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol, or vapor, created by a device. A vaping device includes a mouthpiece, a battery, a heating component, and a cartridge that contains the e-liquid or e-juice. The e-liquid is a combination of nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. The battery in a vaping device powers the heating component, which heats up the e-liquid (aka vape juice). As a result, the device produces water vapor. This vapor is then inhaled into their lungs.
Types of Vaping
Types of vaping devices include the following:
- E-cigarettes – resemble traditional cigarettes and are also called e-cigs, hookah pens, or vape pens
- Advanced personal vaporizers (also known as “mods”) – can be customized by the user
- Vape pens – look like large fountain pens
No matter how it is delivered, nicotine is harmful. Vaping devices typically contain nicotine as well as other chemicals that are known to damage health, including harmful chemicals that are inhaled directly into an individual’s respiratory system. In addition, vaping devices hold more nicotine than a standard cigarette; often disguised within enticing flavors.
For example, one JUUL pod contains 20 cigarettes worth of nicotine.
Effects of Vaping
There are numerous short- and long-term effects of vaping, including:
- Nicotine addiction
- Shortness of breath, coughing, and fevers
- Acid reflux
- Damage to brain development in adolescents
- Increased likelihood of contracting lipoid pneumonia – which occurs when fatty substances are inhaled into the lungs
What You Can Do If Someone You know is Vaping
There are some steps that you can take to help a loved one avoid the perils of vaping.
- Look for warning signs – Unfortunately, e-cigarettes do not have an odor; making them harder to detect. But there are other signs to watch for, including bloodshot eyes, increased thirst, nosebleeds, and cough.
- Keep open communication – Avoid questions that result in yes or no answers. Use open communication to talk to your loved one about vaping. What have they heard about vaping? What do they think about it? What do their friends think about vaping? Approach the conversation with compassion and curiosity as opposed to judgment or condemnation.
- Let them know about the dangers of vaping
- Be a good example – If you do not want those around you to vape, then you should not vape either. The dangers and health risk apply to all. Your loved one will have a hard time believing that vaping is dangerous if they see you doing it.
Vaping devices make nicotine consumption easy. It is a growing epidemic that is quickly spreading out of control. Please know that you are not alone! We can help you put down the vaping devices and stop the spiral of nicotine addiction.