As workers in the safety industry, we understand the importance of using respiratory protection. Why then, have so many people come to accept that it’s okay to inhale the huge billows of smoke produced from vape pens?
Today we’re talking all about vaping. Here’s what you need to know about the risks associated with e-cigarettes and why (contrary to popular belief) vaping isn’t healthier than smoking.
What’s the risk?
A recent study found a dramatic 74% increase in youth vaping in Canada. With flavours like strawberry, peppermint and blue raspberry, it’s no wonder e-cigarettes are attracting the attention of so many young people. However, these flavours are created using vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol. While these products have been approved for use in cosmetics and sweeteners, the knowledge of how harmful they are when inhaled is still widely unknown.
Bottom line: the microscopic particles in e-cigarettes have been linked to heart attacks, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. Even in small amounts, the liquid containing nicotine can be extremely harmful if swallowed or absorbed through the skin.
Breathing in vapour of any kind can irritate the lungs and cause wheezing – the body’s natural reaction to discarding harmful pollutants. Moreover, wheezing can be a sign of emphysema, heart failure and even lung cancer.
But isn’t vaping healthier than smoking cigarettes?
Although e-cigarettes were developed in part to help adult smokers cut their tobacco-use and to provide a “healthier” alternative, no study can confirm what the long-term effects of vaping are yet. While e-cigarettes don’t burn tobacco, it doesn’t mean they’re less harmful than traditional cigarettes. Even if the vapour is free of nicotine, it can still have other carcinogenic products such as metals and unknown chemicals which can cause major damage to your heart and respiratory system.
The heating element in e-cigarettes that vaporizes the liquid emits tiny particles which can lodge themselves deep into the tissues of the lungs and get absorbed into the body’s circulatory system. Most alarming, many of these chemicals are not regulated, so it’s unclear what exactly you may be breathing in.
Those who have switched from traditional smoking to vaping are reported to have not seen an improvement in their breathing or wheezing as their airways are still constricted due to the vapour inhalation.
You would never deliberately breathe in harmful chemicals or dust at work. So the question is: Why subject yourself to them recreationally?