One of the questions that increasing numbers of people are asking today is “Is vaping bad for you?” These days, there is a lot of debate going on about whether or not vaping can be harmful to human health and, while some people believe that it is completely safe, others have a firm belief that it is equally dangerous as smoking tobacco. So, is vaping bad for your lungs in the same way as smoking is? Or does it not affect them at all?
Smoke And The Lungs
It’s well known that smoking causes a lot of harm to the lungs. Inhaling burning tobacco over an extended period leads to esophageal and lung cancers as well as a number of other potentially fatal lung problems like chronic bronchitis, COPD and emphysema. Smoke contains a huge number of hazardous chemicals, and 70 of them are carcinogenic. The particulate matter from burned tobacco is also deposited in the lungs and can bury itself into the lung tissues. Vaping, on the other hand, produces no known carcinogens in any quanityt great enough to be a genuine risk, and there are no solid particles to become lodged in the lungs.
Inhaling smoking also causes operational and structural damage to the lungs. The toxic combusted material affects the bronchioles and cilia leading to less function and the lungs also start to produce extra mucous which will then no longer properly clear away.
As e-cig vapour isn’t actually smoke there has been no convincing evidence that inhaling PG and VG blends can cause any long term damage, although there may potentially be a risk in inhaling some types of flavourings. Some flavouring agents have been associated with popcorn lung (or bronchiolitis obliterans to give it its proper name). These chemicals – acetyl propionyl and diacetyl – have been linked to popcorn lung cases which have occurred in workers at flavouring factories where employees have inhaled a large amount of the powdered substances. The good news, however, is that no vaper has ever been diagnosed with popcorn lung, and even though there are considerably more acetyl propionyl and diacetyl in standard tobacco cigarettes than in e-cig vapour no smoker has ever been diagnosed with the condition either.
Vaping And The Heart
Carbon monoxide which occurs in tobacco smoke reduces the ability of the blood to absorb oxygen and this makes the heart beat more powerfully in order to supply the body’s organs. This results in the organs such as the heart being damaged through impaired circulations. Smoke also causes extra clotting of the blood which adds an extra risk of a negative cardiovascular event. E-cig vapour contains no carbon monoxide and none of the toxic components that makes smoke damaging to the organs and blood vessels. It is therefore highly unlikely to result in the same kind of damage to the circulatory system or heart.
Is Nicotine Bad For You?
Both standard cigarettes and many types of e-liquid contain nicotine, so is that going to cause any health problems? The general consensus is that while nicotine may be a little more risky for people who already have heart disease, there is no comparison between nicotine’s minor risks and the huge amount of damage to the arteries and heart caused by smoking. Nicotine containing e-liquids do not present these risks. Pregnant women are often encouraged to avoid nicotine containing e-liquids before the birth of their baby simply because, as yet, the risks of nicotine during pregnancy are not yet completely understood. However, when compared to the known harm caused to unborn babies by mothers-to-be smoking during pregnancy, vaping is certainly a better and safer alternative.
For most people, nicotine is probably fairly benign. While it does cause a temporary increase in blood pressure and heart rate due to the fact that the blood vessels become constricted when nicotine is absorbed by the body, unless someone already has a known condition it is highly unlikely to increase the user’s risk of a stroke or heart attack. Some people, even including doctors, believe that nicotine can cause cancer, however there is no evidence of this, although if a tumour already exists, nicotine may increase its growth.
In conclusion, while we know that cigarettes result in the early death of around 50% of smokers, no evidence has yet to come to light to point towards vaping having any health risks at all. With that in mind, it’s clear that vaping is certainly a much better choice than tobacco.