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Vaping & Health

A Beginner’s Guide to Vaping: Health Concerns

By soupwire - February 12, 2019

The vaping industry has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade. An increasing number of people are switching from cigarette smoking to vaping in the hope that they can reduce their dependence on nicotine. A younger crowd is also hopping onto the bandwagon for a variety of reasons.

While many manufacturers of vaping products claim that vaping is safe, some studies suggest that it can be detrimental to health. Before you pick up the vaping habit, it’s essential that you have a clear understanding of the health risks involved. Discover some of the common health concerns related to vaping.

What Is Vaping?

Image via Flickr by lindsay-fox

Vaping is a trendy pastime that involves inhaling and exhaling vapor produced through the process of electrically heating an e-liquid, concentrate, or dry herb. It’s done with a specialized device called a vaporizer. Since it doesn’t use combustion, a vaporizer creates vapor that doesn’t contain certain toxic and carcinogenic substances found in tobacco smoke. As such, it’s healthier than regular smoking. The vaping material is usually flavored, which results in a pleasant-smelling vapor. It may or may not contain nicotine.

Are There Health Concerns From Vaping?

Many studies have been conducted on the health effects of vaping, but they show conflicting results. More research is needed to examine its long-term effects. However, it’s known that the health risks of vaping vary depending on the product you use.

Most e-cigarettes use vape juice that contains nicotine, which is an addictive substance. If you decide to stop using nicotine, you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, depression, insomnia, loss of concentration, nausea, and sore throat. Also, this substance may worsen heart problems and damage arteries. However, the potential health concerns over vaping go beyond nicotine.

Vaping products from some manufacturers have been found to contain certain harmful chemicals. These include formaldehyde, which is commonly used in building materials; polyethylene glycol, a key ingredient in antifreeze that has cancer-causing properties; and diacetyl, which can contribute to lung disease. There’s also a likelihood that vaping can have a negative impact on teenagers and children by altering mood, behavior, attention, brain development, and learning ability.

In addition to health risks, vaping may also pose safety risks. There have been instances where lithium-ion batteries in e-cigarettes exploded and caused injuries to users.

Is Vaping Safer Than Smoking?

Most medical experts think that vaping is less dangerous than tobacco smoking. In the United States, smoking causes over 480,000 deaths per year. Most of the damage results from the thousands of harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke. Since e-cigarettes don’t burn, users aren’t exposed to many of those toxins. The vapor from these devices has a handful of chemicals that are unlikely to be harmless, but the ones that are potentially detrimental are usually at much lower levels than in tobacco smoke.

When comparing the safety of vaping to traditional smoking, it’s important to consider the amount of nicotine found in the vaping material. The nicotine levels in e-juices can vary greatly. Products that contain a high amount of nicotine are more harmful and less effective in helping users quit smoking. In addition, they can cause non-smokers to develop nicotine dependence.

Since the majority of vapers are also — or have been — cigarette smokers, it’s difficult for researchers to clearly determine the health effects of vaping. While it’s believed that vaping is significantly healthier than regular smoking, this doesn’t mean that it’s perfectly harmless.

Vaping and High Blood Pressure

To date, studies on how nicotine affects blood pressure are mostly conducted on tobacco smokers, not vapers. However, some of the results can be generalized since both practices involve the use of nicotine. It’s known that nicotine consumption results in a short-term elevation of blood pressure. Soon after a cigarette is smoked, the blood pressure should return to normal.

According to some studies, vapers have an increased chance of developing high blood pressure, even though they aren’t exposed to tar and other toxic chemicals. This is because nicotine from e-liquids leads to the narrowing of blood vessels, which in turn causes blood pressure to rise. It’s also known to speed up heart rate, which is another contributing factor to high blood pressure. It has been found that nicotine inhalation can cause elevated blood pressure in head-up and seated positions.

Vaping and Heart Disease

The possibility that vaping can raise blood pressure makes it an indirect risk factor for the development of heart disease. The heart depends on blood flow to get the oxygen it needs to function optimally. Elevated blood pressure, constricted blood vessels, and a faster heart rate put a strain on the heart and increase the risk of a heart attack.

Nicotine consumption can be dangerous for people with existing heart conditions because it contradicts the goals of most treatments. However, it isn’t a major health hazard for those without heart problems, as it doesn’t cause acute cardiac events.

Another ingredient in e-liquids that can contribute to heart disease is the flavoring. As mentioned earlier, the flavoring in some e-liquids has been linked to lung disease, which also puts extra stress on the heart. If there’s chronic inflammation in the lungs, it may trigger heart disease or a heart attack.

Additionally, researchers have discovered that certain types of e-liquid flavoring, including menthol, cinnamon, clove, vanilla, and acetylpyridine, may inhibit the cells’ ability to produce nitric oxide. This heart-healthy gas can reduce inflammation, prevent blood clots and improve blood flow by causing the blood vessels to open up. A drop in the production of nitric oxide may increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Vaping and Sore Throat

Throat irritation is a common problem among cigarette smokers and it’s one of the reasons why people turn to vaping. However, many vapers also experience sore throats, despite the fact that vapor doesn’t have nearly as many toxic compounds as tobacco smoke.

One of the factors that cause throat irritation is smoker’s flu. If you have been smoking regular cigarettes before you start vaping, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as sore throat, headache, nausea, stomach pain, and insomnia. Although this condition has nothing to do with vaping, it may confuse some beginners.

The level of nicotine in your e-liquid can also have an impact on your chances of getting a sore throat. If you’re used to smoking cigarettes with a low nicotine level, you should opt for an e-liquid that contains only a small amount of nicotine. You’ll be more likely to experience throat irritation if you use a high-nicotine product.

Another reason why vapers get sore throats is because of the two main ingredients in e-liquids: propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. These substances are mildly sweet, colorless, and odorless. They also have the tendency to attract moisture, which can make your mouth and throat feel dry and cause irritation. Additionally, using an e-liquid with a high level of propylene glycol can result in a strong throat hit and consequently a sore throat.

The way you vape can also cause you to get a sore throat. If you take long, hard drags like you do with a cigarette, you’re more likely to experience throat irritation. If you’re new to vaping, it’s advisable that you take slow drags and let the vapor stay in your mouth for a while before inhaling it down your throat. You’re also at a higher risk of having a sore throat if you vape regularly because frequent vaping can make your throat feel dry. If this is the case, you should consider taking a break from vaping.

There are a number of things you can do to avoid throat irritation that results from vaping. It’s essential to select an e-liquid with the right nicotine level. Also, make sure the ratio of propylene glycol to vegetable glycerin is well-balanced. The best propylene glycol-to-vegetable glycerin ratio is 70/30, which will give you a solid, comfortable hit with a strong flavor. If you vape frequently, make a point to stay hydrated because a dry throat is a common cause of throat irritation.

Vaper’s Tongue

If you’ve been vaping your favorite flavor and suddenly realize that you don’t like it anymore, you may have developed the dreaded vaper’s tongue. This condition can worsen to the extent that you’re unable to taste anything and your tongue feels numb.

Also known as vaper’s fatigue, vaper’s tongue is fairly common among vapers. It results from olfactory fatigue, a condition that causes you to become temporarily immune to a certain smell after prolonged exposure. While taste and smell are two separate senses, they work together to create the flavor you experience when you vape. If you’re exposed to the same smell or taste frequently, your sensory receptors will slow down the rate at which signals are sent to your brain, causing the aroma or flavor to become less intense over time.

Nonetheless, vaper’s tongue isn’t the only factor that causes you to experience reduced taste sensations. It’ll also be harder for you to taste the flavors of e-liquids if you have a taste disorder, damaged taste buds, mouth dryness, blocked nose, mouth or nose injury, inflamed gums, zinc deficiency, or stress and anxiety. Dehydration can also cause your sense of taste to diminish.

Fortunately, you can take a wide range of measures to fix vaper’s tongue. Adding a variety of flavors to your rotation is a good way to prevent yourself from getting used to one flavor, which will help you avoid vaper’s fatigue. You can also try vaping a stronger flavor, such as menthol, to refresh and shock your palate. Other measures include staying hydrated, maintaining good oral hygiene, and taking a break from vaping.

Vaping and Mental Health

Vaping can be both good and bad on mental health. Many people pick up this habit because it makes them feel calm and relaxed. Due to its ability to enhance relaxation, vaping has been used to help people overcome mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. For those who are suffering from these disorders, having a tool to calm themselves or take their minds off things makes it easier for them to live with their conditions. In addition, vaping is also an effective way to quit smoking, which is very good for mental health.

While it may not directly cause a person to develop a mental disorder, vaping can worsen certain mental conditions. For instance, if you’re suffering from depression, you’re more likely to feel sad or upset when bad things happen. Say you’re at work and having a vaping break, and all of a sudden someone tells you that the vapor is harmful to those around you. This may upset you because you have no intention to harm anybody. Although it’s perfectly fine and legal to vape, the incident may cause you to feel guilty whenever you vape.

It’s also known that vaping can lead to anxiety attacks because of its side effects. An anxiety attack usually results from the realization that something isn’t right. If you have an anxiety disorder, you’ll start feeling scared and panicking when you experience something unusual in your body.

Anxiety can happen when you’re vaping because of what it does to your throat, heart, and lungs. It’s common for people to experience a faster heartbeat after vaping. For someone with anxiety, this can be seen as something dangerous and result in an anxiety attack. Vaping can cause breathing difficulty or tighter lungs, which can also aggravate anxiety. However, it’s important to know that these side effects happen to every vaper, so there’s no reason to feel alarmed.

When you’re vaping with a mental condition, you should have a good understanding of the process and its effects on your body and mind. This will give you the peace of mind you need to keep symptoms of mental disorders at bay.

While it involves some health risks, vaping is a lot safer than regular smoking. If you want to reduce the negative health effects of vaping, you should make a point to only use vaping products from reputable manufacturers.

Like what you just read? Consider clicking one of the affiliate links in this post or using the Vape Deals page on the site to make your next purchase. You get the chance to buy products (at a discount) from great companies, and we get a small commission when you use these links — which helps keep the lights on and pay for more great content. It’s a win-win!

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