Is vaping just the latest fad or is it here to stay? Is it healthier than smoking a regular tobacco cigarette? These are questions the WPS Wellness Team and physicians around the country are hearing on a daily basis as electronic cigarettes (e-cigs), personal vaporizers (PVs), and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) gain in popularity. These devices use a heating element, also known as an atomizer, that vaporizes a liquid solution—typically a mixture of various chemicals, flavors, and nicotine—and help deliver that vapor to the user’s lungs.
The use of these devices has soared in the last eight years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sales increased from 50,000 such devices in 2008 to 3.5 million in 2012.
There are a few issues and concerns with these devices.
1) They are highly unregulated by the FDA. This means that the nicotine levels and chemical ingredients are inconsistent. These devices have also resulted in accidental nicotine poisoning, especially in children.
2) Lack of long-term research. In the 1960s, smoking at work, in airplanes, and at restaurants was the norm. The long-term effect of secondhand smoke was not completely understood at that time and the fear is that the potentially toxic vapor exhaled from these electronic devices could have similar or worse effects on innocent bystanders.
3) Attractiveness to our youth. These devices are becoming more popular with young people and are being seen as a gateway to future tobacco use and nicotine addiction. The fruity flavors, odorless aftereffect and lower cost all make them attractive to our youth.
As of right now, more research is being done on these devices and they are becoming more regulated. They are not advised and have not been proven to help in tobacco cessation by any of the main health organizations, such as the World Health Organization or the U.S. Government smoking cessation site. If you’re looking for information on how you can quit smoking, our online Health Center offers tips on finding the right quit-smoking program for you, as well as other information.