For years, e-cigarettes have been promoted as a less harmful alternative to traditional cigarettes, and as an option for current smokers to quit or reduce their use of tobacco. New research indicates, however, that e-cigarettes may have the opposite effect, especially in younger people who have never smoked. A report from the US Surgeon General says e-cigarette use among youth and young adults has already risen to the level of a public health concern.

In recent months, there has been an outbreak of lung injury associated with e-cigarette use.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1,000 people have been diagnosed with vaping-related lung disease this year, with new cases reported every week.  Investigators have not determined the specific chemicals causing the lung disease, but the CDC recommends that people refrain from using e-cigarettes or vaping products, particularly those containing THC.

Not Just Nicotine

Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes or vaporizers, put nicotine into your lungs and bloodstream. Nicotine is the addictive substance in tobacco products. E-cigarettes allow users to get nicotine without the smoke and tar of a regular cigarette, but it’s still nicotine – an addictive drug that can be habit-forming and have serious health effects.

Other harmful things can also get into your body when you vape. E-cigarettes run on batteries that heat up the nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals and turn them into vapor you can breathe in. Many cancer-causing chemicals are in this vapor, including formaldehyde, heavy metals and particles that can get stuck in the deepest parts of your lungs. One chemical in some e-cigarette flavorings is a buttery-flavored one called diacetyl. It’s been linked to a serious lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans, also known as popcorn lung. The disease gets its name because people working in a microwave popcorn factory got sick with serious lung problems from breathing in diacetyl. It was being used to flavor popcorn, caramel, and dairy products.

A Gateway to Tobacco Use

A recent study from the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth College concluded that although e-cigarettes may be of some benefit to adults who are trying to quit smoking combustible cigarettes, they may act as a gateway product for other people. In particular, the study findings suggest that e-cigarette use may be associated with teenagers and young adults starting to smoke traditional cigarettes and, eventually, becoming daily smokers.

Ready to quit?

The Sound Health & Wellness Trust offers the support you need to start your journey to a tobacco-free life. The tobacco cessation program is offered to all Trust participants and their eligible spouses, 18 years of age or older and is fully paid for by the Trust. To get started you’ll:

  • Work with a coach in personalized phone-based sessions.
  • Receive nicotine replacement therapy, if prescribed.
  • Get information to help you stay on track, and much more!

Call 1.866.784.8454 or visit our website for more information.

Source: American Cancer Society, National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention