Vaping has been around, in one form or another, for over a decade. But it’s only in recent months that the healthcare community and general public have become aware of some of the health risks and challenges that stem from this tobacco alternative.
What is Vaping?
Vaping is a generic term used to describe the process of smoking electronic cigarettes. JUUL is one of the most popular brands and, as a result, has become a catchall term for these devices.
“JUUL is similar to many other types of vaping devices, or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). People may call these devices e-cigarettes, e-cigs, vapes, vape pens, e-hookahs, mods or tank systems,” The Sawaya Law Firm explains. “The devices deliver nicotine – or other drugs such as THC or CBD – through an aerosol rather than smoke. When a person puffs on a JUUL or another type of e-cigarette, the suction activates a battery-powered heating element that converts a liquid solution (or “e-juice”) to an aerosol which a person inhales and exhales.”
Vaping is especially popular among adolescents and teenagers, with high school students making up a large portion of the market. Because JUUL devices are easy to hide and don’t give off a strong odor, it’s easy for teenagers to hide their vaping habits from parents and other authority figures. Thus, it’s possible for someone to become addicted to vaping without showing overt signs.
3 Negative Health Effects
What’s the big deal with vaping, you may ask? Well, doctors and scientists are in the process of uncovering numerous short-term and long-term health consequences. Here are a few of the biggest ones:
First and foremost, you should know that vaping devices deliver nicotine. As is the case with traditional cigarettes, nicotine is highly addictive. It causes you to crave more and can lead you into unhealthy dependence. It’s also a toxic substance, leading to increased blood pressure and spikes in adrenaline. In extreme cases, it can even increase your risk of heart attack.
- Lung Damage
According to the CDC, nearly 200 e-cigarette users have developed severe lung diseases in 22 different states around the country. Most of these cases involve teenagers and young adults. The scariest part is that health professionals and researchers still aren’t completely sure of what’s causing these lung problems. Possibilities range from chemical irritation to allergies.
Reports from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggest that at least 35 people have suffered seizures after using electronic cigarettes over the past few years. And while FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb and his team are still studying the reports, it’s a scary issue that must be acknowledged.
“The FDA is committed to monitoring this issue closely and taking additional steps as necessary to protect the public, especially our nation’s youth, from the dangers of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products,” Gottlieb says. “We will continue to provide updates as more is learned.”
How to Stop Vaping
If you or someone you know is hooked on vaping, it’s important that you take immediate action. Vaping might seem innocent now, but as the research clearly shows, it’s not healthy. Here are some steps you can take to stop the habit:
- Set a goal. Begin by setting an exact quit date. It helps to have a concrete mile marker in place so that you can strive for a specific outcome.
- Take it slow. If you’ve been addicted to vaping for a period of time, don’t try to quit cold turkey. Take it slow and gradually scale back. The goal should be to use your JUUL a little less each day.
- Learn your triggers. Know what sets you off or makes you more likely to vape. For example, is it something you do out of boredom? Or are there specific people you like to vape with? Does stress do it? Once you identify these triggers, try to eliminate them. If you can’t eliminate them, look for healthy behaviors you can adopt instead.
- Ask for accountability. It’s hard to defeat an addiction on your own. Try to find a person or group of people who will encourage you and hold you accountable.
Vaping is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with immediately. The more the public is made aware of the dangers of vaping, the fewer lives and families that will be affected. Now’s the time to stand up and take action!