October is Healthy Lung Month and ironically a month that causes so many people to suffer from lung related illness that often stem from pollen and mold that hits our region hard this time of year.  So, what can you do to deter a lung related illness (other than moving to the desert)?   First of all, don’t take your lungs for granted.  Take care of them by exercising and staying hydrated.  Preventing infections is as simple as washing your hands, staying away from crowds during the cold and flu season, getting a flu shot and practicing good oral health.  If you smoke, stop.  Which brings us to the latest trend to help you put those cigarettes down – Vaping.  

“Vaping,” is the act of inhaling the vapor produced by the heating up of a water, chemical, and nicotine (or a marijuana-based compound) that has taken the smoking industry by storm. Viewed as a legitimate means to quit smoking in 2000, vaping was considered a safer method of administering nicotine and cannabis. Less than 10 years later, the World Health Organization decided otherwise. Concerned over the existence of other toxic chemicals and substances present in vapor smoke, they called for more studies be performed.

Meanwhile, the E-Cigarette and vaping industry has grown into one of the most profitable marketplaces in the world. And just like studies on cigarettes in 1965, we are now being made aware of the severity of health risks associated with vaping – some just as dangerous as cigarette smoke. From a condition called popcorn lungs to Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections, you’d be wise to think twice about taking up the habit of vaping, especially in view of the recent deaths associated with the habit.  Here are a few other side effects that we now know of:

Vaping Lowers the Body’s Ability to Fight Infections

Researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill found evidence that compounds found in vaping liquid has an immunosuppressive effect on the body.

Chemicals in Vape Smoke Can Cause “Popcorn Lung”

A group of Harvard researchers found that common flavoring substances found in vape liquid caused permanent, and sometimes fatal scar buildup in the lungs. These flavoring chemicals, 2,3-pentanedione and diacetyl, systematically destroys the lungs’ smallest airways, resulting in a lung condition known as bronchiolitis obliterans, or “popcorn lung.” 

Lithium Ion-powered Vapes Can Blow Up

Several people who vape have been severely injured by the combustion of a vaporizer. One such person had a hole ripped in his tongue, his hands covered in burns, and he lost several teeth. 

You may be getting more nicotine than you think

Some vape cartridges labeled as “nicotine-free” have been found to contain traceable levels of nicotine.

Vape Liquid Is Poisonous

Through ingestion, inhalation, or absorption through the eyes and skin keeps poison control busy. More alarming is that young children under the age of 5 are being drawn to the candy and fruit flavor varieties of liquids. 

Metal Particles have been Found in Vape Smoke

Researchers have found metals such as tin, nickel, silver, iron, aluminum, silicate, and chromium were present in vape smoke in levels equal to, or greater than the concentrations found in traditional cigarette smoke. These bits of metal just love your lungs and can often cause irreversible damage and permanent scarring. What’s more, exposure to these metals is also linked to risks for cancer and abnormal cell growth.

Vapes Also Contain Formaldehyde, or Embalming Fluid

Yes, you can get a head start on the embalming process by vaping. James F. Pankow, a professor of chemistry and engineering at Portland State University in Oregon, found that vaping 3 milligrams of liquid at a voltage commonly used in commercial vapes produced 14 milligrams of formaldehyde. 

Lungs are difficult, if not impossible, to replace. Whether vaping started out with good intentions to help people stop smoking (or it was the latest and greatest way to keep people addicted) it appears not to be the best choice.  Consult your physician for recommendations on how to stop smoking and how to keep your precious lungs healthy. 

Most Common Side Effects of Vaping?

Many side effects of vaping are attributed to the vapor they produce, while some side effects are attributed to nicotine. Here are the side effects of vaping most commonly associated with the dehydration the vapor causes:

  • Dryness of the mouth
  • Dryness of the eyes
  • Dryness of the skin
  • Dryness of the lips
  • Sensitive or bleeding gums
  • Cough and general throat irritations
  • Headache
  • Nosebleeds
  • Dulled ability to taste food

Side effects of vaping most commonly associated with nicotine consumption:

  • Inability to sleep
  • Racing or abnormal heart patterns
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Unusual tiredness