The rising amount of avid vapers across the nation, and not to mention, the world is causing great debate over the safety of vaping. Vaping has become a social norm, much like recent past hobbies such as smoking cigarettes, however, numerous experts consider vaping nicotine to be much less risky behavior. E-cigarettes are becoming a more common topic across social media, recent headlines, and research studies.
With the immense popularity of vape devices, you are bound to fall victim to a horror story regarding constant vaping at some point in your life. In the remainder of this article, we will be discussing issues the general public may have concerning the safety of vaporizing devices.
Vape Culture and Societal Norms
The term 'vape culture' was first coined as the Oxford English Dictionary's 2014 word of the year. It refers to a wide range of individuals who vape either as a past time, socially, or simply as a method of quitting cigarettes. Vaping has gained so much popularity that there are now vape lounges other areas specialized for vaping.
While the culture may encompass everyone who has ever inhaled from a vape device, everyone does it for varying reasons. For the average teenage boy, it may be compared to a video game in which blowing large amounts of vapor is the goal. Adults who have previously suffered from an addiction to smoking cigarettes may consider it a safer hobby.
Financial Expenses of the Average Vaper
Many have made the switch from cigarettes to vaping not only for the less risky health effects but for the cost efficiency as well. Recent statistics from the Center for Disease Control have shown that the average cigarette smoker smokes one pack a day, totaling up to an average of nearly $3,000 a year.
Vapers spend a much more minimal amount of $500 a year which is the much lighter burden on your wallet.
Mechanisms of a Vaporizing Device
Many individuals who are inexperienced in vaping may not be familiar with the 'hows' of the hobby. Vaping devices may look complicated but have a quite simple mechanism. The atomizer containing a coil heats the vape juice or e-liquid and allows for the liquid to become a thick vapor. Taking longer inhales of such devices will result in larger clouds rather than shorter inhales.
The Debate on Vape Safety
One recent event has brought to light the debate regarding the safety of vaping. President Donald Trump has announced his plans to place a ban on a majority of flavored e-cigarettes including the most popular brand, Juul. This has been the result of nearly five hundred cases of lung illnesses that may have a possible link to vaping nicotine.
Michigan has already taken the first step to eliminate e-cigarettes from the market. However, according to several sources, nicotine is not to blame- rather, vaping THC is. THC, a component of cannabis is responsible for the 'high' one experiences after smoking marijuana. As of October 4th, 2019, the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) has advised vapers to avoid using any THC cartridges in their vapes. Counterfeit THC cartridges are more likely to induce illnesses rather than those sold legally.
One brand that has been identified to have a probable link to the occurrence of these illnesses is Dank Vapes. Dank Vapes is a counterfeit brand that sellers can sell in the market regardless if they own the brand or not. The packaging can be purchased online; this leaves sellers to fill the cartridges with whatever substance they may please.
Research done on Dark vapes and similar counterfeit brands has shown that sellers have been adding thickeners (Vitamin E acetate) to these THC cartridges. Vitamin E acetate, after inhaled, has the ability to coat your lungs and potentially cause great harm. Vitamin E acetate creates the perfect thick liquid that a consumer desires to purchase.
These black market carts have been the subject of the ongoing investigation surrounding the mysterious lung illnesses that have been spreading, however, media propaganda has deduced that vaping may have a role to play regardless of the fact that there has not been reliable research to support this claim.
Nicotine's Effect on the Human Body
Nicotine is categorized as both a sedative and stimulant. It stimulates the adrenal glands to release adrenaline which creates the 'buzz' many vapers desire. This feeling of euphoria is accompanied by an increase in breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure. After inhaling vapor containing nicotine, it takes approximately eight to twenty seconds for the nicotine to arrive at the brain. Studies have shown that the inhalation of nicotine can also lead to increased concentration and improved memory.
A study from 2017 studied the effects of long-term nicotine vaping on several individuals who have been vaping for an average of seventeen months. The subject of the study was to determine the amount of NNAL, a chemical known to cause lung cancer and illnesses, that remained in the body after inhalation of nicotine.
Individuals who had been vaping nicotine were found to have 97% less NNAL concentration in their bodies compared to those who had been smoking tobacco. Research has been ongoing in the long-term and short-term effects of vaping nicotine for nearly three decades and there has not yet been any reliable evidence supporting media propaganda that vaping nicotine has severe health effects.
Avoiding 'Bad' E-Liquid and Vaping Safely
While vaping nicotine may not have severe health effects, there are a few ways to prevent any negative experiences while vaping nicotine. It is important to avoid purchasing your e-liquid from unlicensed sellers to avoid any expired e-liquid. However, e-liquid has an average shelf-life of 1-2 years. One way to tell if your vape juice is expired is by the color. Overtime, vape juice tends to take on a darker, yellowish shade. This problem can easily be solved by containing your juice in a dark-colored container or bottle.
The first step that should be taken toward vaping safely is to inform those about how to make smart decisions. E-liquids are a vital component of vapes, and as such, research should be performed before making any purchase of lesser-known brands. Daily intake of higher concentrations of nicotine has also been linked to becoming addicted to the substance, and as such, it is important to vape in moderation.
A majority of individuals who vape in the United States are adolescents and young adults. Underage vaping has risen by 78% in the past year and has become one of the most prominent issues that the state governments are working to solve. As a result, multiple sellers have taken the step to identify fake identification as well as any legal adult attempting to purchase vape-related products for younger individuals.
State governments aim to play their role by enforcing stricter laws on the regulation and sales of vape-related products to consumers aged eighteen and over. They are also rebuking licenses given to any retailer guilty of selling vape products to underaged children. Underage vaping can create an addiction early in life that can disrupt academics, social lives, and personal lives.
The main takeaway is to be smart about your decisions because while nicotine has not proven harmful, unwise decisions can result in unpleasant experiences.