Some say using e-cigarettes/vaping is a healthier alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes. It is claimed they are better because they supposedly don’t have carcinogens, won’t cause tar buildup in the lungs, and because they don’t feel as if they burn the lungs upon inhalation. However, these are not valid claims as it has been shown that even without the tobacco, using e-cigarettes and vaping still damages the lungs. Nicotine is an addictive stimulant naturally found in tobacco, but it also causes inflammation of the lung tissue. Because of its inflammatory effect on the lungs, it reduces the tissue’s ability to protect the body from foreign substances. Dr. Irina Petrache, a lung specialist, concludes that vaping/e-cigarette use is no better for the lungs than cigarette smoking.
What about second hand smoke? E-cigarettes and vapes don’t produce smoke so there’s not risk for it right? Wrong. A study showed that e-cigarettes are not “emission free” and the pollutants e-cigarettes produce are a health concern for not only users, but also innocent bystanders. Ultrafine particles from the vapor can be deposited in the lung tissue through inhalation and this can cause an increase in lung inflammation through stimulation of nitric oxide, a natural vasodilator in the body.
So what about vaping liquid that doesn’t have nicotine? If tobacco causes tar buildup, and nicotine causes damage to lung tissue, then vape liquid that doesn’t contain anything other than flavoring should be safe, right? Again, this is wrong. The flavoring in the liquid was found to also disrupt the barrier function of the lung. While further research needs to be done to explain why this happens, Dr. Petrache and her team suspect this has to do with solvents and other toxic materials in the liquid. A study on the effect of different e-cigarette flavors showed cells could not replicate at normal rates, or were completely destroyed by the flavorings. Vape smoke has been proven to make it harder for the body to fight off infections such as staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that causes pneumonia.
It is important to not get tricked by the claims that because e-cigartettes and vapes do not contain tobacco (and sometimes no nicotine) that they are safe and won’t cause any harm to the body. Treat your body well and try to protect it. That means being conscious of the fact that even second-hand vape smoke can cause harm.
If you want to learn more about healthy living contact the SCNM Medical Center.