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Biomedical Research

The Dangers of Vaping to Your Lungs

Vaping has been an uprising trend recently, especially amongst teens. However, what is actually in these vapor pens, and what does it mean for the safety of today’s teens?

Vaping has been a rising trend since the early 2000s and teens are getting more and more addicted to the e-cigarettes. Vaping has been very familiar especially with the teen demographic and has been seen all over social media. If you are a millennial or gen-z chances are you’ve heard of vaping and maybe even seen it in public. There have been many debates on the harmful effects of vaping, but is vaping bad for you? Are they a substitute for regular cigarettes? What chemicals are in e-cigarettes? In this article, I will be tackling all the positives and negatives of the world of vaping.

United States Vaping Rates

Smoking rates have significantly dropped over the years, however, vaping rates/ e-cigarettes have increased especially amongst teens. In the article, “U.S Smoking Rate Hits New Low, But Vaping Rises” it states that, “21% of U.S high school students had vaped within the past month in 2018.”  These vaping rates have gotten steadily higher since 2018 and vaping amongst youth has gotten very popular. In another article, “Vaping Statistics 2020” by the single care team tells us the vaping rates amongst adults in the United States are only 9%. As you can see, the vaping rates for teens are drastically higher than they are for adults.

Why is Vaping Common Around Teens?

So what are attracting these teens to vaping? Well, vaping pens are very marketable towards teens and are also very easy to obtain. The cost of vaping pens usually ranges from 8 dollars to 10 with the lowest one costing only a total of 6 dollars. These prices are noticeably cheap and very affordable for the average teen. Not to mention, the various flavors you could choose from. This includes cotton candy, banana nut bread, peach green tea, and many more. Many vaping brands use flavors as a strategy to appeal to teens and younger children. Social media also has a huge impact on the influence of young teens vaping. All over social media, there are tons of posts promoting vape and can be seen vaping in the image as well. One of the most popular brands known for selling e-cigarettes is JUUL. JUUL’s social media profiles heavily promote their product, however, their Instagram account is restricted to viewers who are under the age of 21.

What Vaping Does to the Lungs

Vaping is without a doubt not good for your lunges at all. There are many chemicals in vape pens including acrolein which damages the lunges, carcinogens which are chemicals that are known to cause cancer, and nicotine which negatively impacts brain development for younger folks. Vaping is actually also very harmful to the heart as well, since vape raises your blood pressure it can increase your heart rate that can cause a heart attack. There are also chemicals like an aerosol in vaping pens that are the same chemicals used in hairspray. Further on, Vaping can be extremely damaging to the lungs and can even cause a collapsed lung. Having a collapsed lung can result in difficulty breathing and sharp chest pain. Vaping overall can damage your heart, brain, and lungs, however there is still much research going around vaping since it has been a more recent topic.

Can E-Cigarettes be Substituted for Smoking?

Even though both vaping and tobacco is damaging to the lungs, tobacco is far worse than e-cigarettes. People who smoke tobacco usually have a higher risk of cancer (specifically lung cancer) and are very harmful to the heart. E-cigarettes have been marketed as substitutes for regular cigarettes and have been used for folks who want to quit smoking. However, there are still many harmful effects of vaping, and people who want to transition from regular cigarettes to e-cigarettes should be aware of the negative effects vaping still has. 

Conclusion

Vaping contains many harmful chemicals in them and is very harmful to the lungs, heart, and brain. Teens who vape are inhaling nicotine and nicotine affects youth brain development. Even though in the United States, the legal vaping age is 21, there are still several teens vaping in the states. It’s important to educate the youth about the harms of vaping and inform them about what chemicals they are putting in their body when they vape. Teens are very young and impressionable and many are influenced and vape daily. E-cigarettes can be a substitute for those trying to quit regular cigarettes however those who want to start using vape should know the harmful effects it has as well.  The after effects of vaping is harmful and dangerous . So before you vape, know how vaping can cause damage to your lungs, brain, and  your overall health.

Mary Mai, Youth Medical Journal 2020

References

“The 3 Main Reasons Youth Use e-Cigarettes.” Truth Initiative, 19 Mar. 2018, truthinitiative.org/research-resources/emerging-tobacco-products/3-main-reasons-youth-use-e-cigarettes.

“6 Best Vapes to Help You Quit Smoking for Good [Sept. 2020].” Vaping360, vaping360.com/best-beginner-e-cigs-vapes/us/.

Broderick, Stephen R. “What Does Vaping Do to Your Lungs?” What Does Vaping Do to Your Lungs? | Johns Hopkins Medicine, http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/what-does-vaping-do-to-your-lungs.

CDC. “Health Effects.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 Apr. 2020, http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/health_effects/index.htm.

Cornell, James. “E-Cigarettes and Vaporizers: A Safe Substitute for Smokers?” Winchester Hospital, 2019, http://www.winchesterhospital.org/health-library/article?id=650334.

Hudson, Lindsey. “Vaping Statistics 2020.” The Check Up, Single Care , 17 July 2020, http://www.singlecare.com/blog/news/vaping-statistics/.

Products, Center for Tobacco. “2018 NYTS Data: A Startling Rise in Youth E-Cigarette Use.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, 2018, http://www.fda.gov/tobacco-products/youth-and-tobacco/2018-nyts-data-startling-rise-youth-e-cigarette-use.

Reporter, Dennis Thompson HealthDay. “U.S. Smoking Rate Hits New Low, But Vaping Rises.” WebMD, WebMD, 14 Nov. 2019, http://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation/news/20191114/fewer-americans-than-ever-smoke-but-vaping-poses-a-growing-threat-cdc.

“Vaping – What You Need to Know.” The Lung Association, 17 Mar. 2020, http://www.lung.ca/lung-health/vaping-what-you-need-know.

“What’s in an E-Cigarette?” American Lung Association, 13 July 2020, http://www.lung.org/quit-smoking/e-cigarettes-vaping/whats-in-an-e-cigarette.

Ybarra, Michele. “The Influence of Social Media on Teen Use of E-Cigarettes.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 21 Mar. 2019, http://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/connected/201903/the-influence-social-media-teen-use-e-cigarettes.

“Youth Vaping in the United States: Risks, Trends, and Potential Policy Solutions.” Tobacco Atlas, 11 May 2020, tobaccoatlas.org/2020/05/11/youth-vaping-united-states/. 

By Mary Mai

Mary Mai is a student at Balboa High School in California. She is interested in fields of medical genetics, neurology, psychiatry, and pediatrics.

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