Busting Vaping Myths
E-cigarettes and other vapour products have been appearing in the hands of Canadian youth with greater frequency. Unlike regular cigarettes that are limited in how they can be presented to the public, vape pens draw in customers with sleek and cool looking packaging, alluring flavours and implication of their purported coolness.
Yet, despite their popularity, most people in Canada don’t know what some of the risks associated with vaping products are. Let us help bust some of myths and misconceptions.
Are e-cigarettes harmless?
Simply put, no. E-cigarettes – like anything else you take into your lungs – release chemicals into your lungs. E-cigarettes produce a number of dangerous chemicals that can cause lung disease, as well as cardiovascular (heart) disease. More research is needed to truly understand the long-term impacts of inhaling aerosol associated with vaping. However, we do know that vaping may have some immediate health effects for its users including cough, wheeze and worsening of asthma symptoms. In general, anything you inhale can be harmful to your lungs. The bottom line is if you have never smoked or have successfully quit, don’t introduce e-cigarettes into your life. They are not harmless.
Can e-cigarettes be addictive?
Yes they can. Nicotine is present in most e-cigarette products. Nicotine is an addictive chemical and as such can lead to nicotine addiction. In some cases, this might mean that someone who “only” used e-cigarettes will switch to regular cigarettes or begin to use both.
Are e-cigarettes a good smoking cessation tool?
It is true that Health Canada has legalized the sale of e-cigarettes with nicotine, so that they could be an option for people looking to quit. But we should stress that there are many other options available for those looking to quit. These include nicotine replacement therapy, prescription medication and many others. Before you reach for an e-cigarette, be sure you have explored all other options.
If you have tried other methods to quit and haven’t been successful, you could try e-cigarettes. However, you shouldn’t use both e-cigarettes and cigarettes at the same time. If you switch to e-cigarettes, you should have a plan to quit altogether.
If you have lung disease and you are looking to quit smoking cigarettes, be even more cautious. Work with your healthcare provider to come up with a safe cessation solution for you.
Isn’t an e-cigarette better than a tobacco cigarette?
Unfortunately, many people who use e-cigarettes do so in addition to regular cigarettes. This means that they are inhaling more and more nicotine.
Although, e-cigarettes might be less harmful they are not harmless.
Isn’t using e-cigarettes (vaping) just a harmless trend?
While it is often presented as such, it is far from the truth. As mentioned above, it has short-term effects on lung health, introduces an addictive chemical in an attractive package and puts the user at risk of yet unknown long-term health effects. In addition to all of those elements, e-cigarettes seem to re-normalize smoking like behaviour among youth. This is a dangerous trend that threatens to undo more than four decades of educational and advocacy work.
The bottom line is, be cautious with what you inhale into your lungs. Anything from wood smoke, to air pollution or cigarettes (e-cigarettes or traditional) can have a negative impact on your airways and lungs. If you are looking for a cessation tool, be sure to try other methods first. These include support programs, nicotine patches or support groups. If you have never smoked, do not start vaping.