Vaping: A Devil in a New Dress

Popularity in Recent Years

How They Work and Impact Health

http://www.bu.edu/research/articles/behind-the-vapor/

Final Verdict — The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and the Uglier

The Good

If you currently are a cigarette smoker and have no intent to quit entirely, then e-cigarettes should be a strong consideration. E-cigarettes are a safer alternative to cigarettes, but they are in no means “safe”. The adjustable nicotine level of the e-cigarette provides the opportunity for long term tobacco consumers to gradually decrease nicotine dependency (Frasalinos&Polosa, 2014). Even if smokers turn to electronic cigarettes on a regular basis, the liquid vapor is much better than being exposed to 50 carcinogens in each puff of tobacco smoke.

The Bad

The general consensus on the impact that electronic cigarettes have on public health is greatly divided. Scientists still haven’t fully come to a conclusion on the risks of marijuana after decades of research. It will take years for conclusive evidence to come out on the exact health effect of vapor inhalation. Since there are so many legal and health factors that are involved with keeping e-cigarettes on the market, e-cigarettes are here to stay.

The Ugly

E-cig companies promote the image that vaping is a sleek and sexy social movement that young adults are missing out on. Research on nicotine exposure during adolescence has been repeatedly tested. Not only does nicotine cause abnormalities in brain development, it can also “prime” your brain for addiction to harder substances (JourneyCenters, 2014). While the exact physiological harm of vapor exposure is inconclusive, no one will deny that high levels of nicotine consumption in adolescence has severe ramifications on the behavior of addiction According to a report from the Surgeon General, 1 in 6 high school students have used e-cigarettes in the past month.

The Uglier

Since the FDA has only recently begun to regulate the product, the verdict on the exact harm of e-cig use is still up for debate; however, most preliminary research proves that vaping is not safe. Again, the chemicals in each liquid sample greatly varies. One study shows that when cells are exposed to e-cigarette vapor, increased DNA strand damage and cell death occurs, which is also called genotoxicity (Ganapathy et al., 2017). This genotoxicity is responsible for the various types of cancer that arises from smoking tobacco. While the degree of DNA damage from vapor is not as severe as cigarettes, it is still present. E-cigarette vapor is not inert and exposure can lead to cell damage. Another study suggests that e-cig exposure induces inflammation, causes behavioral changes, suppresses the lung’s ability to fight of infection, and can trigger asthma. (Hiemstra & Bals, 2016). Overall, preliminary data shows that e-cigarettes have some degree of negative health implications similar to that of smoking tobacco.

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We are committed to advancing the overall health and wellbeing of the students at Marquette University through comprehensive wellness services and programming.