Here’s the good news: According to the CDC, smoking tobacco across the United States has declined from 20.9% in 2005 to 14% in 2017! Way to go America! However, we have a new problem on our hands.
The use of E-Cigarettes is at an all-time high and are the most commonly used tobacco products among youth ages 12-24. These devices [aka JUULs, e-cigs, vapes, e-hookahs, vape pens, and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)] were actually created to help current tobacco smokers quit smoking. They were never intended to be used for long-term replacement of tobacco or by those who have never smoked tobacco. However, these devices are not only being used as a replacement to help current smokers quit smoking but are also being used by people who have never even smoked! As a matter of fact, according to the CDC, of those using e-cigs between the ages of 18 and 24, 40% have never smoked tobacco. The question is this then: are the chemicals used in vaping actually safe? As stated on the CDC’s website:
“The chemicals in the aerosol used for vaping generally contains fewer toxic chemicals than the deadly mix of 7,000 chemicals in smoke from regular cigarettes. However, the aerosol is not harmless. It can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances, including nicotine, heavy metals like lead, volatile organic compounds, and cancer-causing agents. The use of e-cigarettes is unsafe for kids, teens, and young adults.
· Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine. Nicotine is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development, which continues into the early to mid-20s.
· E-cigarettes can contain other harmful substances besides nicotine.
· Young people who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future.”
So, the answer is NO. Vaping is not safe and should not be used long-term, recreationally or as a permanent replacement for smoking cigarettes.
There are several options to help a person quit smoking. The first step, as always, is to want to quit! Please see your healthcare provider to discuss your options for quitting! But, for those of you who have never smoked and are only vaping recreationally because you think it’s a safe alternative, I hope this article has clarified these misperceptions!