To Vape or Not To Vape? By Russell Garvey, Jr., Staff Writer

Smoking e-cigarettes, or Vaping, is fast becoming the standard for smoking. E-cigarettes were initially invented to be a replacement for conventional cigarettes with the intention of quitting. This has not been the case. Andrew H. Lee of the Department of Otolaryngology at Columbia University Medical Center, reported “that “vaping” does not associate with successful quitting.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no evidence determining that electronic cigarettes can help you quit smoking. “Smokers will obtain the maximum health benefit if they completely quit both tobacco and nicotine use,” also reported by the WHO.

The modern e-cigarette, invented by Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik in 2003, consists of a mouthpiece, a tank, a heating element, a microprocessor, and a battery. The e-cigarette commonly uses the heating element, or atomizer, to vaporize the fluid, called “e-liquid” in the tank. “e-Liquid” typically consists of propylene glycol, glycerin, water and nicotine.

Consumers believe that e-cigarettes are better than regular cigarettes due to the assumption that there are less chemical additives in an e-cigarette. This is partially true because the only harmful part of e-liquid is nicotine. But nicotine is associated with cardiovascular disease, increases blood pressure and heart rate, effects fetal brain development and has a psychological and physical dependence on the user. The average cigarette can yield between 0.5 mg to 1.5 mg of nicotine. The e-cigarette yield can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but on average is closer to about 2 mg of absorbable nicotine.

Nicotine is highly addictive and can be compared to heroin and cocaine when it comes to addiction and physical dependence. Withdrawal causes anxiety, irritability, anhedonia (the inability to derive pleasure in activities that are found to be usually enjoyable) and minor tremor symptoms for several weeks after disuse.

In another study by the FDA’s Division of Pharmaceutical Analysis, studied the ingredients in samples from two of the leading producers of e-cigarettes. These samples were found to contain diethylene glycol, a chemical used in antifreeze, and several other carcinogens, including nitrosamines.

In an article by Dr. Rachel Grana, Ph.D., titled E-Cigarettes: A Scientific Review, she stated that the “vapor has been found to contain flavors, propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine, tiny amounts of toxicants, carcinogens, heavy metals, metal nanoparticles and other chemicals.” Nicotine breaks down into several other toxic chemicals.

One of the larger risks warned by the FDA when it comes to e-cigarettes, they are sold without legal age restrictions and are sold in fun flavors, such as chocolate, marshmallow and mint. Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., commissioner of food and drugs recently reported, “The FDA is concerned about the safety of these products and how they are marketed to the public.” The newest trend in “vaping” is building your own e-cigarette and making your own e-liquid, which can be bought online with no concern for the users age.

The FDA wants parents be mindful of what your children are doing and make them aware of the health risks and marketing ploys that will come their way when it comes to e-cigarettes.

“Vaping” is a craze and is harmful just like cigarettes and has no proven fact that it helps quit smoking. It has only become an easy to acquire and socially acceptable alternative.

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