Vaping first hit the market in the late 2000s in the form of e-cigarettes. Marketed as a safer alternative to tobacco, hundreds of thousands of tobacco users made the switch to vaping before any significant research was done. As flavored e-liquids began to emerge, vaping started to become a popular trend amongst teens and young adults. Young people were drawn to popular e-liquid flavors like bubble gum, mango, pumpkin pie, and mimosa. Marketing professionals jumped on the opportunity to draw in hundreds of thousands of young adults, leaving them addicted to vaping, before there was any substantial evidence to prove it was safe.
The act of vaping involves inhalation of an e-liquid. Vaping devices use a heating element to turn e-liquid into a vapor, which is inhaled by the user. Devices range from disposable pens to battery-powered packs, but the most popular vaping device is the JUUL. One problem with vaping is that the key ingredients of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin produce chemicals when heated. The particles, toxic chemicals, oils, and other unknown elements of e-liquids can be harmful when inhaled. With this knowledge, scientists and healthcare professionals are starting to link vaping to cancer, lung problems, and heart disease. Studies have already begun to show that vaping is also detrimental to the respiratory tract, resulting in severe illness and even death among users.
7 Known Risks of Vaping
Now that vaping has been around for more than a decade, the Federal Drug Administration and Center for Disease Control are starting to uncover research findings that show how vaping affects the body. This is a growing concern among communities all over the United States as the U.S. Surgeon General reports a 900% rise in vaping amongst high school students from 2011-2015. Let’s take a closer look at the known risk of vaping.
- Vaping causes lung disease. The CDC reports more than 1,000 cases of vaping-related lung injuries to date. Lung disease symptoms reported by vapers include shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and stomach pain.
- Some vaping-related injuries lead to death. There have been 18 confirmed deaths caused by acute respiratory distress syndrome that were linked to vaping.
- Vaping is addicting. Although vaping is marketed as a way to overcome tobacco addiction, most e-liquids contain the same addictive substance as cigarettes, nicotine. In fact, vaping devices deliver more nicotine per inhalation than actual cigarettes.
- Vaping isn’t regulated. When you vape, you bring unknown chemicals into your body. Since the FDA doesn’t regulate vaping, you don’t know what you’re inhaling and don’t honestly know the risks involved.
- Vaping can increase your risk of lung disease. Studies have already shown that vaping harms the respiratory system. Coughing, wheezing, and asthma-like symptoms have been reported among vape users. Although “popcorn lung” hasn’t definitively been linked to vaping, the American Lung Association considers it a dangerous risk.
- Vaping can increase your risk of heart disease. Nicotine use has been linked to high blood pressure, increased heart rate, reduced blood flow to the heart, and narrowing of the arteries. While experts don’t know the actual effects of vaping on the heart, preliminary reports link vaping to a higher risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart disease.
- Vaping is a gateway to smoking. For those who have never smoked cigarettes, vaping has been reported to lead to smoking. It also appeals to a new generation that might not have been likely to smoke otherwise.
The Positive Effects of Quitting on the Body
Quitting is hard. Most people who vape don’t want to stop because they worry about withdrawal symptoms. The truth is that withdrawal symptoms are minor and temporary. When vapers know what to expect, it’s easier to quit vaping. The most commonly reported withdrawal symptoms include:
- Psychological effects
- Mood swings
- Trouble concentrating
- Physical effects
- Increased appetite
- Abdominal cramps
If the known risks don’t give you enough reason to stop vaping, the positive effects of quitting may convince you. Studies show that positive impact of quitting includes:
- Cardiovascular improvements such as healthy circulation, heart rate, and blood pressure
- Lowered risk of heart attack
- Improved sense of taste and smell
- Improved blood circulation
- Improved lung capacity
- Lowered risk of stroke
- Reduced likelihood of lung infections or complications from the flu and pneumonia
- Lowered risk of cancer
After you quit vaping, your lungs start to rebound as time goes one. A significant improvement to your lung health is the renewal of microscopic hair-like structures inside the lungs. These push out mucus and help your body fight infection. Experts also expect that after 20 years without smoking or vaping, your body will return to its full, healthy state as if you never vaped at all.
7 Tips to Help You Quit from the Experts at University Urgent Care Fort Worth
If you’ve decided to quit vaping, taking the first step can be hard. We talked to the board-certified nurses at University Urgent Care Fort Worth and gathered their best professional advice on how to quit vaping. These tips can help you feel less overwhelmed and set you on the path to take back control of your life.
- Set a definitive date and time when you will stop vaping. Have your final e-cigarette before that time comes.
- Focus on the future. Vaping and smoking do nothing for you. Therefore, you’re losing nothing when you quit. What you are doing is gaining back your health. You won’t only have better health, but you’ll also have more energy and money, an increase in confidence, self-respect, and freedom, and a better quality of life.
- Remove all vaping products from your house. There is no such thing as just one. Once you quit, quit completely.
- Stay strong during withdrawals. Remind yourself that symptoms are temporary and minor. The worst will be over in as little as three days.
- Stay active. Socialize. Do whatever you can to keep yourself busy and to avoid focusing on the fact that you are no longer vaping.
- Avoid substitutes like patches, gum, and nasal sprays. These only keep the addiction alive. But don’t avoid being around other vapers. The longer you avoid exposing yourself to people who do vape, the harder it will be to cope when you inevitably come in contact with other active vapers. The truth is that there will be people vaping and smoking in front of you throughout life. Learn to accept that you no longer vape and give that accomplishment power.
- Get support. Talk to your doctor or another relevant healthcare provider for tips and resources. Tell your close friends and family about your intention to quit. Find a team of people willing to keep you motivated and encourage you. You can even call hotlines like 800-QUIT-NOW or 877-44U-QUIT for support.
If you experience respiratory symptoms from vaping or need additional support to help you kick the habit, our team is here to help. Our facility is located on the edge of the TCU campus and cares for patients across the entire Fort Worth community. We’re open seven days a week from 10 AM- 8 PM. Book an online appointment, stop by our facility, or give us a call at (817) 439-9539 for quick yet thorough care.