Vaping is a trend that’s really taken off over the last few years or so. While it is often used as a tool to help quit smoking, that’s not what generally comes to mind when you hear the term.
In case you don’t know, an e-cigarette (also known as a vape pen) is a battery operated, smoking device that looks a bit like a real cigarette. These devices are often marketed as a safer way to get your nicotine fix or quit smoking altogether.
How do they work? Well, the cartridge or tank that holds the liquid you’re “vaping” heats up, depending on your device that might happen automatically when you inhale or you may have to turn it on briefly before you take a drag.
Once it’s been heated up, the liquid turns into a vapor which you then inhale.
There are thousands of vaping liquids out there. They come in all different flavors. Some have nicotine in them, some don’t. You can even make your own custom mixed flavors if you want.
While they aren’t 100% safe, most experts agree that they are less unhealthy than traditional cigarettes. In fact, in 2015 Public Health England released a review stating they believed e-cigs are 95% less dangerous than the real thing.
With experts agreeing about their safety and their potential to help people quit a dangerous and often lethal habit, why does vaping get such a bad name?
One of the reasons this habit gets a bad rep is because, while they are safer than traditional cigarettes they still do contain chemicals. Aside from containing nicotine, which everyone knows is an addictive chemical, they can also contain things like formaldehyde and propylene glycol which is actually an ingredient found in antifreeze. The flavors you use with these can also contain things like a buttery tasting chemical called diacetyl. This particular chemical can cause “popcorn lung” when inhaled.
Fear is another reason vaping gets a bad rep.
With all the tasty flavors like cotton candy, candy cane and candy apple available it’s easy to see why vaping might appeal to kids and teens. It smells good, it tastes good and there’s no tell-tale “smoke” smell on your clothes to get you grounded by your mom if you snag a couple puffs from a friend on your way home from school. One of the biggest reasons people take issue with this habit is because they’re afraid of their kids getting hooked and graduating from candy flavors to the real thing. Studies done in 2015 and 2016 showed that teens that never smoked but used e-cigs would be up to 6 times more likely to try a traditional cigarette or other tobacco product. However, a study done by the CDC has shown that although the use of e-cigs by teens went up to 25% in 2015, the use of real cigarettes by teens dropped dramatically to a mere 11%, a historic low.
While e-cigs might get a bad rep, don’t let that stop you from using them if it means weaning yourself off the far more dangerous alternative. Your health is more important than the opinions of the random strangers that might look at you funny when you blow out a cloud of cotton candy rather than regular smoke.