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:
The nicotine is harmful
Not only is it addictive, but Lawrason adds that nicotine is known to produce several reactions in our bodies, including rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure, reduction in the oxygen supply of vital organs, blood clots, and reduced insulin levels, and may cause certain cancers on its own, no actual smoke required.
And when nicotine is inhaled through electronic cigarette use? It seems to cause the same cardiac abnormalities as those seen in patients with heart disease, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association authored by Middlekauff. That, and it’s linked to increased inflammation of the aorta (the large artery in your chest) and increased levels of oxidative stress—both important markers in the development of atherosclerosis (or clogged arteries), a huge risk factor for heart disease.
Some borderline good news: several e-cigarette manufacturers make models that deliver progressively lower amounts of nicotine (including models with no nicotine at all). But that’s only one ingredient. “E-cigarette use is growing rapidly,” says CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden, M.P.H. “Yet there is still a lot we don’t know about these products.”