Vaping: Not A Panacea

It seems like only yesterday that e-cigarettes were marketed as the “healthier” option to traditional cigarettes. They were—and still are in many circles— touted as a way for users to enjoy nicotine without incurring the ill effects from the additives used in cigarettes. But with vaping at an all-time high among teens and young adults, there is now reason to reconsider.

Following reports of nearly 100 kids with lung problems related to vaping—some serious enough to require hospitalization—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, announced that it is opening an investigation into the health effects of e-cigarettes.

Some research has already pointed to significant problems. A recent study published in the journal Radiology found that simply inhaling the vapor in e-cigarettes (without nicotine) has an adverse effect on blood flow. According to an article in Wired, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine found the negative impact on arteries and veins was almost immediate:

Using an MRI, the researchers examined the veins and arteries of 31 people before and after they took a few puffs of an e-cigarette. Their e-cigarettes contained only vape juice, a mixture consisting primarily of water and either glycerol or propylene glycol… The test subjects—who were all between the ages of 18 and 35—were nonsmokers and first-time vapers. But after taking 16 three-second puffs, the participants had worse circulation, stiffer arteries, and less oxygen in their blood.

“The results of our study defeat the notion that e-cigarette vaping is harmless,” says Felix Wehrli, the study’s principal investigator.

The latest results from the annual Monitoring the Future survey of 44,000 students nationwide, showed that vaping was increasing at an alarming rate: Among high schoolers 37% reported vaping, a 28% increase from the year before.

“Teens are clearly attracted to the marketable technology and flavorings seen in vaping devices,” said Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “However, it is urgent that teens understand the possible effects of vaping on overalll health, the development of the teen brain, and the potential for addiction.”