What Does Vaping Do To Your Lungs?

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The chemicals typically found in vape liquids are linked to a rare, irreversible lung condition. In fact, an e-cigarette, or vape liquid, contains nicotine and other chemicals which may potentially be toxic to your lungs. Highly addictive nicotine, as well as other chemicals such as formaldehyde, could potentially get into your lungs while you are vaping.


E-cigarettes, being flammable, create toxic chemicals such as acetaldehyde, acrolein, and formaldehyde, all of which may lead to lung and heart diseases. E-cigarettes, sometimes called vapes, operate on batteries and heat up nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals. Vaping products (electronic cigarettes, or vapes) are devices that heat up liquid to form an aerosol, which is smoked (inhaled) into the lungs. Vaping devices contain oil, usually called vape juice, which is added with nicotine and any number of potentially harmful chemicals to provide flavoring or create a specific flavor, such as cotton candy or blueberry.


Most vaping products contain nicotine, the same highly addictive substance found in cigarettes and other tobacco products. Both vapes and cigarettes contain nicotine, and studies have shown that it can be just as addictive as heroin and cocaine. The nicotine found in many e-cigarettes is a highly addictive drug, as is found in regular cigarettes, and may stunt adolescent brain development and raise the risk for future addiction.


While vaping may provide an alternative to smoking cigarettes, it still poses several intrinsic risks, particularly to youth. While many people think that vaping is a far less severe blow to the lungs than smoking traditional cigarettes is (it is), both acute and chronic harm is still done.


In the past few weeks, there have been nearly 400 cases of serious acute lung diseases caused by vaping, and at least six deaths attributed to vaping. While tobacco smoking has long been strongly linked with cancer, health risks of vaping are only beginning to be understood, as vaping is still not regulated. We already know about some of the health risks from vaping, and we also know that vaping does not appear to be helpful in quitting smoking.


So far, studies have shown that vaping is less harmful than tobacco smoking, and it may help people stop smoking. While you may think vaping is less harmful than smoking tobacco cigarettes, this does not mean that vaping is a healthier choice.


In theory, vaping products are created as a safer alternative than cigarettes, but there are still some harmful effects from vaping. Some vaping products make you dependent on nicotine, so if you have never smoked, it could become a gateway to cigarettes, or it could make quitting that much more difficult.


While long-term side effects of vaping are not well known, Juul and other vaping products have been linked to serious health problems, like serious lung damage, seizures, nicotine dependence and poisoning, and increased risks of heart attack and stroke. The mechanisms for what smoking an e-cigarette might do, in both long-term and short-term ways, to your body are still not entirely understood – but researchers do know it is highly unhealthy, and that vaping seriously impacts your lungs. While the long-term data about chronic lung damage caused by vaping is not yet available, researchers have evaluated what those inhaled aerosols might be doing to your lungs tissue, and it is not pretty.


Your lungs are also at an increased risk of other types of harm caused by vaping, like lipoid pneumocolitis, a condition that occurs when you breathe in oily substances from an e-liquid, and which can then cause inflammation in the lungs. Inhaling oily substances found in e-liquids can trigger an inflammatory response in the lungs, leading to lipoid pneumonia. When combined and heated into a vapor, it has been shown that these substances can trigger inflammation of pulmonary tissues just like inhaling mainstream smoke. There are a few studies showing a particular chemical called diacetyl, which is used in e-cigarettes to provide a buttery, buttery taste, is responsible for causing diseases in the lungs tiny airways, by causing thickening of air sacs and inflammation.


In addition to nicotine, many vape oils have ingredients such as propylene glycol, glycerol, and heavy metal particles, which may harm your lung lining. Vape vapor produced by vaping contains harmful chemicals and ultrafine particles, which are inhaled into the lungs and exhaled into the environment. We are finding very similar harms caused by heating vaporizing solutions and breathing this vapor into your lungs.


Michelle Hart, a nurse-physician pulmonary specialist with Baystate Pulmonary Rehabilitation, points out that vaping does not just cover your lungs in vapor, it also covers them up with harmful chemicals. While vaping is typically recognized as less dangerous than smoking, an increasing amount of evidence suggests vaping can still expose users to cancer-causing agents. What we know is that vaping contains 15 times more formaldehyde than mainstream cigarettes, and this cancer-causing chemical is linked with increased risks for lung, mouth, and bladder cancer.


While these devices have less of the 7,000 chemical ingredients found in traditional cigarettes, they have been found to contain all sorts of potentially harmful substances, including chemicals known to cause cancer. An FDA analysis of two leading brands of electronic cigarettes found samples contained carcinogens and other dangerous chemicals, including diethylene glycol, found in antifreeze. The levels of carcinogenic compounds were as much as three times higher among teens who smoked vaping cigarettes compared with subjects who did not vape.


Although it is not drawn so deep into the lungs, there is evidence that non-smokers exposed to secondhand aerosols from vaping take up nicotine at levels similar to those exposed to secondhand smoke from cigarettes.


What is worse, says Michael Blaha, is that many vapers are getting even more nicotine than they would get from tobacco products: You can purchase extra-strong cartridges, which contain higher nicotine concentrations, or you can turn up the voltage on your e-cigarettes to get more hit of the stuff. The American Lung Association says that breathing the ingredients found in vaping products exposes people to higher levels of toxins that may lead to permanent damage to lungs and lung disease. While a lot remains to be determined regarding the ultimate health effects of these products, the American Lung Association is extremely concerned by emerging evidence regarding e-cigarettes effects on the lung. At least 39 people have died from mysterious lung disease linked to e-cigarettes, and an estimated 2,050 people have suffered from vaping-related respiratory illnesses across 49 states, including many teens and young adults who had to be hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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