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How safe is vaping, e-cigarettes compared to regular smoking? Check here


The nicotine–containing e-cigarettes have emerged as the most popular tobacco and nicotine delivery modality among adolescents in the past decade. It was introduced in the United States tobacco market in 2007, as a tobacco cessation tool.

Now, the e-cigarettes have gained widespread popularity among adolescents, also vaping has become pervasive among middle and high school students.

When in 2003, e-cigarettes were launched, study showed that vaping is 95% healthier than smoking. However, recent studies have challenged this fact and it has been shown that e-cigarette use is associated with respiratory symptoms, though the risk might be lower than that with cigarette smoking.

On being compared of lung function between vapers, cigarette smokers or those who didn’t smoke any of the above, study conducted in 2021 showed revealed that vaping has similar detrimental effects on pulmonary function as smoking.

ALSO READ: Race to replace cigarettes is heating up

In addition, increasing vaping uptake among youth could stimulate uptake of cigarette smoking, creating a smoking-dependent generation, said the study.

“E-liquid aerosols are associated with direct harm to respiratory epithelium, leading to altering of lung function, lung inflammation, decrease mucociliary clearance and lung histology. Most E cigarettes contain three components: 1. Nicotine, 2. A solvent, 3. Chemical flavours. Nicotine leads to serious adverse effects on all organ systems, but when inhaled leads to specific harm. A solvent contains propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin which can lead to specific harm to lungs. Findings suggest that propylene glycol contains oral and nasal irritants and cause squamous cell metaplasia,” HT Lifestyle quoted Mumbai’s Masina Hospital Consultant Chest Physician – Pulmonologist, Dr Sanket Jain, as saying.

He added, “Flavours are highly variable given the enormous variety of available flavors in e liquids. Flavoring ingredients is said to be harmful, resulting in brochities obliterans. In around 2019, there was random increase in the cases of acute respiratory failure due to E cigarettes or vaping products use associated lung injury (EVALI). The e cigarette users have been divided into two subtypes – 1. Active smokers seeking to quit traditional cigarettes – When compared to other forms of nicotine replacement therapy, e cigarettes found to be very effective. 2. Recreational users – Regards to recreational users, a specific group of youth who never smoked a traditional cigarette.”

Highlighting the misconception Dr Jain said:

1) Aerosols from e-liquids are less addictive than traditional cigarettes.

2) Does not contain any nicotine.

3) Has become a style statement amongst youth.

He concluded, “The rise in e-cigarette use has been increased due to numerous factors such as features of it being small, sleek, technologically advanced in terms of nicotine and salt formulations and also, attractive flavours. There has been conflict regarding the use of e-cigarettes as smoking cessation tool but there are direct effects on lungs due to vaping which have been proved by many studies published in various journals. Also, there is a public misconception which is playing a major role in the increases of vaping among people.”

Sharing similar views, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital’s Lung Transplant Director, Dr Sandeep Attawar, said, “Flavouring agents have been shown to have disastrous effects on lung cells and structure especially sweet and cinnamon flavours. Then flavours such as cherry and sweet flavoured e-cigarettes have chemicals that have major impact on lung function. Hence although information on impact of vaping on lung function is still emerging but what can be concluded that there are toxic chemicals in e-cigarettes which leads to unhealthy lungs and decline in lung function (more than normal) and chronic respiratory symptoms are observed with its regular use. Long term studies about the risk of lung cancer with vaping are lacking and this area is yet to be researched.”

Despite vaping be viewed as a “lesser of evils” for current cigarette smokers but still, there is a lot about vaping we need to educate on. One way we’ll learn more is by revealing the possible or current health problems that result from vaping. These cases of severe lung disease among people who vape raise important questions about the safety of vaping.

Nicotine – the primary instrument in regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes – is highly addictive and causes to crave a smoke and suffer withdrawal symptoms if you ignore the craving.

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