The dangers of vaping and its effects on your lungs

Darvin Nelson

Vaping is an epidemic among the youth. The dangerous search for a quick buzz among college students has led to many health problems and serious nicotine addictions. Nearly 10 percent of college students use e-cigarettes that have toxic chemicals that harm the body, specifically your lungs. Over 63 percent of users, ages 15-24, don’t even know the devices contain nicotine, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

A significant increase in the use of “nicotine-delivery devices” in youth, with 3.6 million teens using e-cigarettes in 2018, shows that E-cigarettes have become more popular over the years; and as the use rate increases, so does the research. 

There’s been many recent cases in which young vape users have suffered permanent damages. Lieff Cabraser Attorneys at Law note that twenty-two year old Maxwell Berger suffered a major stroke and spent over 100 days in the hospital after being addicted to Juul tobacco products. After three brain surgeries, Berger suffers from a 50 percent loss of sight in both eyes and left side paralysis. Nationwide recognition of this case can lead to new studies and information about the dangers of e-cigarettes. 

Surprisingly, a lot of vape users don’t know that the e-liquid or “vape juice” used in e-cigarettes contains many harmful chemicals. The nicotine in a Juul is about 0.7mL or 59 mg per pod, which is roughly equivalent to one pack of cigarettes, says the Cleveland Clinic

 According to the American Lung Association (ALA), other dangerous chemicals produced from the e-liquid like acetaldehyde, acrolein and formaldehyde can cause lung and heart disease. The ALA also states that vaping also doubles the risk of heart attack over not vaping at all. The more components in the e-liquid, the more toxic it is.

A chemical that was used in more than half of mass market e-cigarettes, is diacetyl. UNF Student Health Director, Dr. Perez says this chemical was used in popcorn factories to make the product taste like butter, and is used in e-cigarettes “to help bind the flavor to the e-liquid.” When workers in a popcorn factory began to get sick, the media called it “Popcorn Lungs” or bronchiolitis obliterans (BO), which can result in exposure to different chemicals causing inflammation and obstruction of the bronchioles causing the lungs to scar.

There are many rumors about e-cigarettes circling around like “vaping has no nicotine” or that “people who vape don’t smoke”, so you shouldn’t believe everything your peers tell you.

“Sometimes in the vaping machines, it will say it’s nicotine free, but because it’s not really controlled or regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), how do we know what these products are selling us?” said Dr. Perez.

Vaping is healthier than smoking tobacco or cigarettes, although many people who vape to stop smoking just end up doing both, increasing their risk of heart attack by five times, according to the Master of Public Health Online,  

As a medical professional, Dr. Perez says she doesn’t see any good in vaping.

“If you are vaping, try to cut down and if you haven’t done it, it’s probably not a good idea to start,” said Perez. “I’ve been working here thirty-two years and most of the kids, I think, listen to us; we’ve got a pretty healthy campus, but it breaks my heart when I see someone walking around vaping.” 

If you are having trouble quitting you can contact the free smoking hotline at (800)784-8669 or visit a health counselor here at UNF that can help you quit your addiction.

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