medical BLOG | DATE- 2022-05-05

Health Effects of Vaping|E-Cigarettes

Vaping also called inhaling sweet aerosols, vaporizing e-liquids or e-cigarettes are getting popular and are flying off the shelves like candy. In 2019 alone the e-cigarettes market had driven 26 billion USD in sales worldwide. And in 2025 that number is expected to double.

Although vaping comes with serious consequence on health, unfortunately it’s not getting enough attention by concerned bodies. What makes it more concerning is the main users of this product being teenagers. There was 900% growth in the use of e-cigarettes by youth between 2012 and 2015.

E-cigarettes were originally created to provide smokers a cleaner form of nicotine to help with their cigarette addiction. But these devices seem to be made perfectly for the smart phone generation. Because they are small, rechargeable, easy to use, easy to modify, nice smelling, and some of them are advanced enough to tell how much they have vaped.

Teens are usually open to try new and wild technologies. They also seek independence and they love making things their own, and that's what this products are taking advantage of, by allowing them both to innovate and personalize their vaping experience.

They can choose from more than 15,000 different e-liquid flavors and multiple different nicotine concentration. They can even create their own nicotine flavor combination.

They can change

They also use these devices for Marijuana vaping. And what makes this experience unique is since these devices use lower temperatures they don't burn or combust the Marijuana, therefore teens can avoid the smell of burnt Marijuana.

Another reason teens vape is Cloud chasing. Also called vaping tricks which involve large vape clouds with quick shapes and names like rings, dragon, ghosts etc...

cloud chasing med in ethiopia

There is even a competition that gives prize for the most innovative shaped clouds.

All these features that make the vaping experience unique is one of the biggest reason why it's astoundingly used by the youth population.

The Device

  1. Receptacle- can be a tank, pod or a plug for the e-liquid.
  2. Battery - charges the coil which then vaporizes the e-liquids
  3. Mouth piece- where the user can draw from the e-cigarette

Types of E-Cigarettes

med in ethiopia vaping

pen vaping device ethiopia

mods vaping device med in ethiopia

juul vaping device med in ethiopia

It looks like a USB device and can also be charged with a USB outlet. Nowadays, among teens the term vaping is changed to Juuling due to this well-known device. Pods are really discrete, producing a little vapor that teens are using them in class rooms hiding them in their clothes and their books.

Health Consequences of Vaping

Toxicity to Vital Organs

Although many teens think that these products are safe since what they produce is just a water vapor this is far from reality. Because what's produced in these devices is an aerosol which contains many finely suspended particles of liquids and gas from whatever is in the e-liquid. The aerosol they are inhaling could contain glycein and propylene glycol. Although these 2 contents are safe for edible use, we know very little about their safety following long-term inhalational exposure. The e-liquids could also have an alcohol contents sometimes in high level and inhaling alcohol aerosol has a known toxic effect on the brain.

The e-liquid or the aerosols can contain metallic products like cadmium, lead and chromium which are generated when the devices are heated and these particle are well known for causing toxicity in vital organs like the lungs leading to pneumonia or even lung cancer.

Nicotine Exposure

The other concern is exposing the teen brain to nicotine through e-cigarettes. Because their brain is highly sensitive to even low levels of nicotine, its likely to get addicted in a short period of time. As a former FDA commissioner quoted

'Nicotine is a Pediatric disease'

because it has been proven smokers that started smoking before the age 18 are usually lifelong chain smokers and they have hard time quitting.

These e-cigarettes expose teens to large amounts of nicotine, as many of the devices contain an amount of nicotine that is in one pack of cigarettes. Long term exposure to nicotine changes the functioning of several organs. For example, it decreases the flexibility of the blood vessels and changes how the heart responds to acute challenges like stress. In addition, nicotine is a well-established neurotoxin. It decreases learning memory and attention processes and increases hyper activity symptoms like seizure.

Behavioral addiction

Teens who use e-cigarettes regularly report symptoms of craving, feeling anxious when they don't use these devices.

Epigenetic changes

Heritable changes in genes like those involved in Asthma imply teens using nicotine are not only harming themselves but also their future generations

Suggestions to tackle this new coming epidemic

When trying to tackle one big health problem which is cigarette smoking, we may have created another colossal one. And just like cigarette epidemic and many cigarette-related diseases it looks like history is repeating itself in e-cigarettes.

Now is the time for action.

We live in a frequently changing environment thanks to technology many devices that make life easy are invented, but many of these devices may come with unacceptable risks to our own health. So we don't necessarily have to celebrate every new tech innovations right away, before looking at them with a critical eye, perhaps even through a medical perspective.   

 

 

 

WRITTEN BY - Hiwot Endale-Med In Ethiopia Team

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WRITTEN BY - Hiwot Endale

Med In Ethiopia Team

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