Vaping, e-cigarettes and pens have been hitting the news a lot recently. Every day we learn more and more about the risks and perils of vaping and I wanted to take the opportunity to put this into perspective.
At no point am I going to defend or recommend vaping. It is undoubtably a harmful, addictive and destructive habit that you should never consider picking up unless you use it for its original intended purpose which is to ween you off real cigarettes.
As a former 40-a-day smoker, who used vaping to put the tobacco down, nothing upsets me more than seeing these kids pick up vaping because they think it looks cool or they want to do smoke tricks etc. WHY? Why burden yourself with a harmful addiction that will be eating away at your lungs and your wallet for years to come just to be trendy?
The main fear surrounding vaping is that the long term side effects are so far unknown as it is a new phenomenon. The habit has taken the world by storm and people are starting to think of the consequences.
Smoking tobacco products is a habit with centuries of history behind it with well documented health risks. We all know it causes cancer and a whole manner of weird and wicked illnesses to the point where, quite frankly, I’m surprised its not illegal.
Smoking, on average, claims 100,000 lives every year from cancer, lung disease and a myriad of other illness and mishaps in the UK, but in the last year only 12 deaths have been linked to vaping. While obviously vaping is not safe and healthy, it does put it into perspective versus the monster it was invented to help defeat.
In America there have been a great deal more deaths and illnesses reported. Some of these are due to the fact there are a lot of illicit THC and CBD infused liquids in circulation that have been doing most of the harm.
The UK’s stricter stance on Marijuana products means that these aren’t commonly available in the UK. This is where the big scares in the media are coming from at the moment, but what the media is failing to cover in enough detail is what exactly is causing the vapes to be harmful.
If you do vape, please make sure you’re buying your liquids and refills from a reputable retailer and have done some research into what you are buying. None of them can be called healthy, but you should be looking for a couple key things to avoid.
One of them being Diacetyl – a chemical found in some flavourings that has a potential link to a condition nicknamed ‘popcorn lung’ otherwise known as bronchiolitis obliterans. This is a condition that affects the smallest airways in the lungs which can get inflamed, damaged and cause scaring that blocks the airways.
The other main things to avoid are Acetyl Propionyl and Acetoin for the same reason as Diacetyl. Both have concerns flagged about them as there is a risk of them being another cause of popcorn lung.
Another thing to be wary of is the flavour you use. Some flavours require chemicals that are more harmful than others. In general avoid cinnamon, vanilla, creams and caffeinated flavoured liquids among a few others.
Vaping also comes with another risk: pneumonia. This is due to the nature of what you are inhaling. With smoking it is a dry smoke, but with vaping it is a moist liquid vapour you are inhaling. Liquid in the lungs is not a good thing and in excess can lead to pneumonia.
While easier to treat than other illnesses such as cancer and lung disease, it can still cause serious long lasting effects and potentially death in more vulnerable sufferers such as children and the elderly.
While definitely not healthy and I would never recommend anyone to start vaping unless they were looking to quit smoking cigarettes, I feel like I can safely say that vaping is a healthier alternative to smoking.
And in my personal experience of having used vaping to quit smoking, I feel a whole lot healthier than I ever did while smoking. I don’t have shortness of breath, I don’t smell of tobacco and I’m not ‘gunked-up’ from the tar and pitch that’s mixed into the cigarettes to make them burn better.
I fully intend to quit vaping in the near future, once I’ve focused on another aspect of my health which I feel is more important to deal with first.
I am dangerously overweight and that puts me at risk of far more serious future illnesses I would rather avoid. Once I have dealt with that headache I will be quitting the vape.