Vaping probably started as a way to stop smoking but do you find yourself addicted to it now? Since there’s no tobacco, these newfangled e-cigs are totally safe, right? Not exactly. The new way of lighting up may still do serious harm to your body, experts warn. (FYI: “Vaping” is the same as smoking an e-cigarette. Electronic cigarettes can also be called “e-hookahs,” “mods,” “vape pens,” “vapes,” “tank systems,” and “electronic nicotine delivery systems,” or ENDS.)
Instead of inhaling smoke as with regular cigarettes, users of e-cigarettes inhale vaporised liquid (or aerosol) made up of a mixture of water and nicotine as well as other substances sometimes added for flavour and texture. There are now more than 7,000 different electronic cigarette liquid flavors, says Dr. Holly Middlekauff, a cardiologist at UCLA Health and researcher who’s published several papers on the effects of electronic cigarettes.
Here’s why e-cigarettes aren’t great for you:
They still cause addiction
Older models (that often looked like cigarettes and were called “cigalikes”) likely dispensed the least amount of aerosol, says Middlekauff, but newer, fancier models (“mods”) allow users to change the resistance and voltage of the device. This is bad news because, for one, they deliver a much larger volume of aerosol, says Middlekauff. “Second, in some instances, you can dial up the temperature at which the liquid is heated, and research shows that hotter temperatures are more likely to generate carcinogens, or cancer-causing substances.”
Yes, e-cig vapor has a much lower content of carcinogens than old-fashioned combustible cigs do, but that’s not where the e-cigarettes health risks end. Most e-cigarette liquids still contain nicotine—an incredibly addictive substance, says Middlekauff.