E-cigarettes have been touted as a safer alternative to cigarettes since they do not burn tobacco and don’t produce the harmful compounds in your run-of-the-mill tobacco products. But recent research has shown that e-cigarettes may not be as safe as marketers want us to believe. Teens and other vulnerable groups are more likely to experience some side effects that might affect them over a lifetime.
What Are E-Cigarettes?
E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that vaporize liquid nicotine in the so-called vape juice through a heating element and deliver it to the lungs and bloodstream without producing smoke. E-cigarette makers tout them as safer alternatives to cigarettes because the user is not exposed to tobacco smoke, which has been linked to various health risks, including lung cancer. At the moment, it is estimated that regular cigarettes kill around 1 in 2 users over a lifetime.
Are E-cigarettes Safer than Regular Cigarettes?
While marketers have been peddling e-cigs as a safer alternative to cigarettes even for teens, the jury is still out on their overall safety. A growing body of research shows that e-cigarettes are associated with a laundry list of health issues and side effects, including:
- Dry and sore throat
- Eye inflammation
- Lung issues
- Balance issues
- Circulatory issues
- Lung disease.
However, problems don’t stop here. E-cigarettes are hazardous to human health because they still contain nicotine, which is the substance that gets people hooked on regular cigarettes. So, because nicotine is so addictive, e-cigarettes may act as gateway devices to smoking even though many parents sleep soundly while falsely believing that their teens’ use of e-cigarettes is the lesser of two evils.
E-cigarettes are also dangerous because they release disease-causing aerosols and hazardous particles. Even though e-cig makers claim that the devices release harmless water vapor, the aerosols and particles may lead to inflammation and damage to the airways, heart, and brain.
According to a recent study, the damage inflicted by these particles can be so significant that they may cause heart disease later on.
Also, in 2016, the U.S. Surgeon general issued a warning about the devices. According to DHHS researchers, vape juices contain substances that may become toxic when heated, such as heavy metals, artificial food additives, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbonyl compounds, and cancer-causing chemicals.
Why Are E Cigs Unsafe Teens and Young Adults?
E-cigs are especially unsafe for teens and young adults because their brains are still developing, and nicotine can have a disastrous impact on a developing brain. According to CDC estimates 99% of all e-cigarettes sold in North America contain nicotine even if they are marketed as 0% nicotine.
When it reaches the brain, nicotine alters the teen’s impulse control, mood, and ability to learn areas. Even though young people’s brains regenerate faster and build synapses at a quicker rate than an adult brain does, nicotine disrupts this regeneration process. The human brain is in the developing stage until age 25.
Also, teens and young adults who are not interested in smoking might get hooked on nicotine and start smoking or doing drugs later if they used e-cigarettes during adolescence. Kids and teens are more likely to start to use e-cigarettes because vape juices come in enticing flavorings such as strawberries, bubblegum, and gummy bears. They are also trendy, so kids and teens might start using them just to fit in.
Some e-cigarettes are shaped like USB flash drives or pens, so parents might not even be aware that their teen has started vaping. With smoking, it was harder for a teen to fly under the radar if both parents were non-smokers.
Even though e-cigarettes have been touted as a safer alternative to cigarettes even since their rollout, reality proves otherwise. A growing body of evidence shows that e-cigs may be just as bad or even worse than traditional tobacco products, mostly because they are being marketed to kids and teens.
JUUL e-cigarette manufacturer was recently hit with lawsuits over misleading the public about its device’s safety to get adolescents and other young people addicted to the product. That is why, if you or your child have become hooked on nicotine after using this e-cigarette, you can hire a specialized lawyer and get the compensation & settlements you are rightfully due. Fighting nicotine addiction is an uphill battle, and you’ll need all the help you can get.