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BRAIN ATTACK:

Vaping: Understanding the Risks and Impacts on Health

By Dr Ashish jain in Pulmonology

Aug 22 , 2023 | 2 min read

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In recent years, vaping has emerged as a popular alternative to traditional tobacco smoking. Marketed as a "safer" option, vaping involves inhaling vaporised e-liquids through an electronic cigarette or similar device.

The Basics of Vaping

Vaping devices, often referred to as electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes, consist of a battery-powered heating element that vaporises a liquid solution known as an e-liquid or vape juice. This e-liquid typically contains a mixture of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, flavourings, and nicotine.

Nicotine is a common ingredient in e-liquids. The nicotine content in these liquids varies widely, ranging from negligible amounts to levels equivalent to or even higher than traditional cigarettes. The presence of nicotine raises concerns about the addictive potential of vaping and its impact on the developing brains of adolescents.

Health Risks

Respiratory Health

The aerosols produced by vaping devices contain fine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs. These particles can lead to irritation, inflammation, and potential long-term damage to lung tissue. Additionally, some e-liquids contain harmful chemicals, such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, which are known to cause respiratory issues.

Cardiovascular Health

Vaping has also been associated with adverse cardiovascular effects. Nicotine, a vasoconstrictor, can lead to elevated blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease. Moreover, certain compounds found in e-liquids, like diacetyl, have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular problems.

Youth and Addiction

Vaping has gained significant popularity among young adults and adolescents, partially due to appealing flavours and marketing tactics. The presence of nicotine in many e-liquids puts young users at risk of developing nicotine addiction, which can have lasting effects on their cognitive development and overall health.

EVALI

In recent years, a concerning phenomenon known as E-cigarette, or Vaping, Product Use-Associated Lung Injury (EVALI) has emerged. EVALI is characterised by severe lung damage, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pain. The exact cause of EVALI is still under investigation, but it has been associated with the use of vaping products containing THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, as well as vitamin E acetate, a thickening agent sometimes used in vaping liquids.

Regulatory Measures

Governments and health organisations worldwide are grappling with how to regulate vaping products effectively. Vaping has been banned in India since 2019. Some countries, including India, have implemented strict regulations, including bans on certain flavourings, restrictions on nicotine content, and requirements for detailed ingredient lists on e-liquid packaging.  While vaping may be perceived as a less harmful alternative to traditional smoking, the risks and potential health impacts are far from negligible.

It is essential for individuals, especially young adults and adolescents, to be aware of the potential risks and make educated choices about their health and well-being.


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