VAPING: LUNGS AT RISK
What you need to know about e-cigarettes and your health
If you’re among the millions of U.S. teens and adults who smoke electronic
cigarettes, it’s time to consider switching off your vape pen and kicking the
habit. “Vaping and e-cigarettes are relatively new,” explains pulmonologist
Jeffrey S. Lessar, MD, of Valley Health Pulmonary and Internal Medicine.
“They aren’t regulated the way cigarettes are. Prior data suggested they
might be safer than cigarettes, but we’re learning more about the risks.”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
E-cigarettes can threaten your health. The aerosol from a vape pen sends
nicotine, heavy metals, cancer-causing chemicals, and lung-harming
substances deep into your lungs. In recent studies, e-cigarettes doubled the
risk for heart attacks and affected cancer-related genes in human mouth
tissue. While last fall’s headline-grabbing lung illnesses and deaths from
vaping seemed related to marijuana products, the cause was still unknown
in late 2019. As a result, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the
American Medical Association, and the American
Lung Association recommended avoiding all vaping
Young vapers face extra risks. For teens and young
adults, nicotine from e-cigarettes can harm parts of
the brain involved with learning, memory and mood,
according to the CDC. Young vapers are more likely
to end up smoking regular cigarettes, too. And the
sweet, fruity, minty flavors that two-thirds of middle
school and high school vapers use contain chemicals
like diacetyl that cause serious lung diseases.
“Parents can make a difference by having a serious
conversation about vaping with their children,”
Dr. Lessar suggests. If you’re among the wave of
younger vapers trying to quit, ask your parents or
doctor for help.
E-cigarettes won’t help you quit smoking. They
have been touted as a great way to kick smoking,
but “recent data shows people have as hard a time
quitting e-cigarettes as regular cigarettes,” Dr. Lessar
says. “They’re just as addictive. If you’re trying to
quit smoking, have a plan, get social support, and
consider using an FDA-approved quitting method
such as nicotine replacement products or the medications
Chantix™ varenicline tartrate or Zyban™
bupropion hydrochloride,” which can double your
odds for success.
W I N T E R 2 0 2 0 5
WANT TO KICK THE NICOTINE HABIT?
Adults can attend Freedom from
Smoking classes offered at Valley Health.
N-O-T: Not On Tobacco is a smoking
and vaping cessation program offered for
teens by the American Lung Association.
Visit lung.org for more information.