A misconception among adolescents and teenagers is that e-cigarettes are alternative to conservative combustive tobacco smoking and help in smoking cessation and controlling the withdrawal effects of nicotine.
Electronic (e)-cigarettes (Electronic Nicotine Delivery System - ENDS) vaping has gone almost double amongst adolescents and teenagers in a few years after the emergence of these new addictive nicotine delivery devices. So, it is an issue of massive impact concerned about the health of teenagers worldwide.
E-cigarettes are electronic devices that come with a battery, liquid component, a place to hold the liquid, and a heating element. These e-cigarettes come in different shapes in the form of pens, pipes, USB sticks, etc. Once the heating element heats up the liquid, aerosols containing nicotine and other chemicals are released and are inhaled by the users, similar to cigarette smoke. The aerosols produced by the e-cigarette contain,
There are two classes of teenage and older e-cigarette smokers:
(A) Those who never smoked conventional tobacco cigarettes.
(B) Those who were previously on conventional combustible tobacco smoking shifted to e-cigarettes for recreational purposes or adopted it just to quit tobacco smoking. Eventually, many have started using both of them, which is the main concern for medical attention.
Responsibility of Physicians:
Physicians ask their patients very little about smoking. It is highly recommended to ask 5-A's to every suspected patient.
Ask if he smokes tobacco.
Advice about the cessation of smoking.
Assess if the patient is willing to quit.
Assist in quitting smoking.
Arrange for a proper follow-up and reinforcement.
A new trend has become famous amongst adolescents: e-cigarettes, and they feel this is harmless compared to conventional tobacco smoking. But they mostly end up in actual tobacco smoking. E-cigarettes contain high concentrations of nicotine and produce an aerosol that is inhaled.
It causes addiction, pleasure, and a feeling of reinforcement.
Researchers believe that nicotine inhalation can cause a lack of confidence and a social cut-off amongst teens.
Problems with neural development.
Irritation of the respiratory tract starting from the lips to the ends of alveoli in the lungs, thereby causing cough and ear, nose, and throat infections.
Headache, insomnia, diarrhea.
Bone issues like backache.
Skin problems like acne.
Deranged and painful menstrual flow.
Cardiac rhythm abnormalities and high blood pressure (ultimately lead to problems involving blood vessels).
Loss of appetite and indigestion.
Miscarriages and also causes harm to breastfed babies.
The e-cigarettes heat up the liquid in it and vaporize it to form an aerosol. So, vaping is the alternate name as smoking is used conventionally for tobacco products. If used continuously at a higher voltage setting, it is very harmful to health. It may affect small blood vessels throughout the body and coronary arteries in the heart. Arteries become thicker, stiff, and get blocked, making them unfit to serve as an optimal conduit for the blood to pass according to the need of the organs in hours of strenuous activity like running or exercise.
It contains acrolein, glycerine, nitrosamines, propylene glycol, flavoring, other chemicals, and toxic metal nanoparticles. The propellant agents used in e-cigarettes end up in metabolic end products like formaldehyde and acetone that are very well-known chemical carcinogens. Although these hazardous chemical vapors are far less harmful than those emitted in conventional combustible tobacco smoke, they are still bad for health. Assuming it to be less harmful to human health, some people use e-cigs as an alternative aid for quitting tobacco smoking. But this is not true, and a lot more research is needed yet to confirm that. Unfortunately, very little data is available to say about the safety of these products, but it is definitely harmful to human health.
These devices are easily available in developing as well as developed countries and have become a status symbol unfortunately amongst the youth. It is manufactured at a low cost and so easily available to the masses. School and college-going students are the major prey to this industry.
E-Hookahs (Sheesha) is an alternative name for the same kind of product that works on the same principles.
Advertisement is the mother of all modern era illnesses, and it is almost always based on unreal myths shown as facts, and the dilemma is that nobody ever bothers to stop this dangerous game.
They claim it to be an alternative to tobacco smoke and an aid to help in quitting. But the research and clinical experiences say the people who smoke tobacco also smoke e-cigarettes, and they continue both of them and remain exposed to the hazardous effects of both products. But they actually would have started e-cigarettes as an aid to quit smoking in the first place.
Flavor, a Contributor to the Addiction: Apart from the nicotine content, different flavors available in e-cigarettes are also a reason that triggers the addiction and popularity of these products amongst youth. But nicotine in e-cigarettes makes this addiction manifold.
No, one thing is clear that e-cigarettes are neither a recommended alternative to conventional tobacco smoking nor is it an FDA-approved (The United States Food and Drug Administration) aid to quit smoking.
You are not sure what you are exposed to in the liquid chemicals used to refill the e-cigarette liquid aerosol system, which is all provided by unregulated non-FDA-approved companies. Also, these products increase nicotine addiction and badly interfere with tobacco smoking cessation.
The FDA has approved many other cessation aids such as nicotine patches, nicotine gums, inhalers, and non-nicotine medications used orally, such as Varenicline (Chantix) and Bupropion. Giving these FDA-approved tobacco cessation aids a try with the advice and guidance of your treating physician can be beneficial.
Until the arrival of peer-reviewed studies, vaping cannot be considered a healthy alternative to smoking or a beneficial technique to quit smoking. Do not use e-cigarettes as they also can lead to respiratory and heart diseases.
Last reviewed at:
20 Dec 2021 - 4 min read
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