Vaping can be referred to as the inhalation and exhalation of vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or a device which is similar. The electronic cigarette is a device which is battery operated and releases doses of vaporized nicotine, or non-nicotine solutions, for the inhalation of the user. The user inhales an aerosol, it may or may not contain nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. They may be called other names like e-cigarettes, e-cigs, vaporizer cigarette, electronic nicotine delivery systems, and vape pens. The aim is directed to provide a likely sensation to inhalation of tobacco smoke just without the smoke. The models of electronic cigarette can look like the traditional tobacco cigarettes, pipes, cigars or everyday things that lie around like pens or USB memory sticks. There are some devices that have fillable tanks; those have a different look. They are some of these devices that are disposable, though a majority of them are reusable with replaceable and refillable cartridges. All the devices are made of the same components despite the difference in design or appearance they operate in the same way. These devices are sold as a means to quit or lower the rate of smoking. The first time they appeared in the market was in the year 2004 in China and since then have been circulated all over the world. It was invented by a Chinese pharmacist named Hon Lik, who worked for a company previously called Golden Dragon Holdings currently known as Ruyan. Exportation by this company to major markets began in 2005 to 2006. Presently the different recorded brands in the market are over 460 in number.
The Epidemic of Vaping
Among teens of today electronic cigarettes are quite popular, and in the United States, youths use it as the most common form of tobacco. This age group is more appealed to the use of electronic cigarettes because it is readily available, the advertisements about it are alluring, it has various e-liquid flavors and the notion that the use of electronic cigarettes is safer compared to cigarettes. Most high school students after a study were discovered to use electronic cigarettes for dripping. Dripping is an act in where the users produce and inhale vapors by placing drops of e-liquid directly onto atomizer coils that are heated. This is like the new vaping as e-liquids can be switched to different flavors. The coils can even be rebuilt or customized. Teens had several of reasons for this action, most of them mentioned that it was to produce to create thicker vapor, others reason were: to create a stronger throat hit (this is a feeling of the throat contracting when the vapor hits it, apparently pleasurable), and to improve the flavors. Experts are a bit concerned by these actions because they found that more harmful chemicals are emitted with high temperatures of the coil during dripping. Some evidence shows that the use of electronic cigarettes may assist as the introductory product for the preteens and teens that later go ahead to use other products containing tobacco even cigarettes, which may result in disease or premature death.
There is indeed a spike in vaping by teens, and this has drawn the attention of the US Food and Drug Administration. It was cited that the use of electronic cigarette by teens in high school have increased by 900% from the year 2011 to 2015. When the National Youth Tobacco Survey was carried out in 2016, it was discovered that 1.7 million high school students admitted to the use of electronic cigarettes in the last 30days. There are even occasions where teachers had had reports of students vaping in the classroom. This is not as easy to control as some designs come in the form of a flash drive which is the most popular among the students, so the kids can just put it away after they are done, and no one will know. School administrators have pointed out that it is also a problem as there is a general deficit of knowledge when it comes to electronic cigarettes. Most of the teens probably think it is nothing more than water in there and there is no danger when it comes to the use of electronic cigarettes.
Potential Risks of Vaping
- Nicotine which is quite addictive and tends to trigger changes in the brain of an adolescent is present in most electronic cigarettes
- Solvents, toxicants, and flavorings contained in the aerosol is believed to cause harm
- Diacetyl is a substance known to cause “popcorn lung” which is a serious and irreversible lung disease is exposed to the lung when electronic cigarettes are used
- As a result of accidentally swallowing and inhaling of e-cigarette liquid, potentially fatal poisoning
- At some point, there is a higher chance of teens who previously used an electronic cigarette to begin to use regular tobacco
- Second-hand smoking is not abolished by vaping because carcinogenic emissions are still released by vaping
- When nicotine is used continually, other drugs like cocaine is made more pleasurable
- The use of vaping materials during the practice of dripping, which if we recall is the inhalation of e-liquids that are out directly onto the heated coil for the different desired reasons, puts the teens at higher risks due to exposure to more chemicals.
So far as research goes, it has shown that for those that are chronic smokers, electronic cigarettes are less harmful than the smoking cigarettes when they switch to them as a total replacement. This does not mean electronic cigarettes do not damage the health of a person, it still does. Due to concerns about the epidemic in vaping, experts have called for action to decrease the risk of vaping. These actions are the prevention of access to e-cigarettes by teens, tax policies, price, and retail licensure, incorporation of e-cigarettes into smoke-free policies, regulating e-cigarette marketing possibly to attract youths and most of all educational initiatives targeting teens and young adults. Generally, the use of tobacco is not safe, and as e-cigarettes are tobacco products, it is advisable to be cautious when using it.
Brazier, Y. (2017). E-cigarettes: How they work, benefits, and risks. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/216550.php
Electronic Cigarettes (E-cigarettes). (2018). Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/electronic-cigarettes-e-cigarettes
Selig, R., Cannaviccio, D., & Hawks, C. (2018). Vaping now an epidemic among US high schoolers. Retrieved from https://edition.cnn.com/2018/04/06/health/high-schools-vaping-epidemic/index.html