Josh Chandler | July 7, 2022

Vaping Facts and Side Effects You Need to Know

What Is an E-Cigarette?

E-cigarettes, also known as electronic nicotine delivery systems or electronic cigarettes, is an electric device that heats “e-liquid” to a high enough temperature that it is aerosolized so it can be inhaled. These liquids often contain Nicotine, flavoring, and a humectant (a substance that keeps the e-liquid in a liquid state and helps create the aerosol when it is heated).

Because several chemicals are being inhaled into the lungs, and because this is a relatively new delivery method for Nicotine, the consequences of e-cigarette smoking are still unknown. However, the concern is growing as more data surrounding lung health and other long-term health effects and consequences are released. The nicotine levels in these devices vary, with many e-cigarette product brands containing the same or even more Nicotine than traditional tobacco products.

These products have increased in popularity, especially among teens and young adults. The liquids come in flavors such as mint, fruit, and candy, and these appealing flavors were cited as reasons for youths becoming curious and trying e-cigarettes in middle and high school. Companies such as JUUL also have a strong online and social media presence, hiring young influencers to advertise to the younger crowd.

The U.S. surgeon general called this surge in use an “epidemic” in 2018, with approximately one in five high school students reporting e-cigarette use. Many of them were unaware that Nicotine is present in their devices. These youth are likely to develop a serious nicotine addiction, increasing youth tobacco use rates.

E-cigarettes were initially marketed as smoking cessation devices and a less-harmful nicotine delivery system than toxin-filled cigarettes, but that framework is not entirely accurate. There is still much to learn about the effects of vaping and subsequent health conditions, and neither the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nor the U.S. Preventative Service Task Force has approved e-cigarettes as quit aids.

Click here to call Muse Addiction Center today. Our staff is available 24/7 to provide answers and begin the admissions process. Call (800) 426-1818.

Is a Vape the Same as an E-cigarette?

Yes, these devices have many names and come in several shapes and sizes. E-cigarette users may call them e-cigs, vapes, vape pens, tanks, mods, pod mods, juuls, dab pens, and dab rigs, depending on the device’s configuration. At first, e-cigarettes were disposable one-piece units that resembled traditional cigarettes. Then they began being sold with a refillable cartridge designed to be used multiple times. After that, e-cigarette users could purchase refillable tanks or “mods” (modifiable units). This allowed users to customize the substance inside the device, and the current configuration mostly being sold is a pod mod configuration, an e-cigarette or vaping product that fits different pre-filled or refillable pod cartridges.

Each unit has a pre-filled or refillable cartridge filled with e-liquid (a mixture of substances that contains Nicotine, cannabis (CBD, THC), flavoring, and other chemicals). They also contain a heating element (atomizer) that converts the e-liquid into tiny airborne aerosol droplets, sensors that tell the device when a person is inhaling through it (with or without an on/off button), and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery used to heat the atomizer.

The pod mods typically use nicotine salts in their e-liquid vape product rather than the freebase nicotine found in other vaping devices. These salts have a lower P.H., allowing extremely high levels of Nicotine to be inhaled during each use, with less throat irritation, creating a faster and more severe addiction to nicotine products in youth and young adult groups.

Side Effects of Vaping

As vaping is still a relatively new concept in our society, there is plenty of misinformation out there, and you may be wondering, why is vaping bad for me? Here is a list of reasons:

They are bad for your lungs

Vape products have been associated with an increased chance of developing severe lung disease and other serious lung issues like:

  • Chronic cough
  • Phlegm
  • Bronchitis
  • Asthma
  • Pneumonia
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Popcorn lung

Lung cells that have been exposed to e-liquid can become damaged, with impaired immune functions, which may lead to becoming more easily infected with bacterial and viral respiratory infections. A Mayo Clinic study found that the cells looked like they had been exposed to “toxic chemical fumes, poisonous gases, and toxic agents.”

Some people who vape develop serious lung injuries, called E-Cigarette or Vaping Use-Associated Lung Injury (EVALI), with symptoms of respiratory distress, severe cough, labored breathing, or feeling short of breath, gastrointestinal symptoms, fever, chills, weight loss, and reduced blood oxygen levels.

They contain toxic chemicals that kill cells and lead to cancer

The chemicals inside your e-cigarette are often not as safe as you may be led to believe. At least 60 chemical compounds have been found in e-liquids, and more are present in the resulting aerosol clouds. Even the dramatic “fog” effect you get when exhaling has been manufactured using chemicals that cause lung and airway irritation. Some of the dangerous substances that you may be inhaling include:

  • Volatile organic compounds that irritate the eye, nose, and throat and can cause dangerous damage to internal organs, including your liver and kidneys
  • Heavy metals like lead, nickel, tin, and copper have been found in aerosols produced by e-cigarettes and vapes.
  • Flavoring chemicals, including diacetyl, a dangerous chemical linked to bronchiolitis obliterans (popcorn lung), and other unsafe flavors that the FDA has only approved for ingestion, not inhalation. Some flavors are more dangerous than others, with cinnamon causing the most significant cell death in the lungs. Mixing flavors increase the risk of toxicity in the lungs.
  • Delivery solvents and propylene glycol cause dry mouth and upper respiratory infections.
  • Pulegone is a known carcinogen banned by the FDA from food products found in some mint and menthol-flavored e-liquids.
  • Formaldehyde can form inside your e-cigarette if your e-liquid overheats or if you get a “dry puff” when not enough liquid reaches the heating element. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen.

Not all chemicals are listed on the packages, and not all are tested for safety, as e-cigarettes or vaping companies are not legally required to do so.

They are bad for your heart

Vapes harm cardiovascular health. They change your resting heart rate and blood pressure and affect the cells lining blood vessels, which, if used long-term, may lead to issues like cardiovascular disease, heart attack, or chronic high blood pressure. There are also chemicals in e-cigarettes called carbonyls that are associated with risks of blood clots and atherosclerosis.

They affect brain development, activity, and cognition

Nicotine can diminish cognitive functions in the developing brains of school students, including lowering their attention spans, lowering self-esteem, increasing impulsivity, increasing their overall levels of anxiety and fear, and may result in long-term effects like mental health problems including depression throughout their adulthood because of this. There may also be a connection between e-cigarettes and a heightened risk of seizures and other neurological disorders.

They contain Nicotine and lead to addiction

It is not often told to youth or new users of vape pens, JUULs, and other e-cigarettes that the liquid inside contains addictive substances. People try vaping for fun or because they like the taste and become addicted to Nicotine, which may lead to smoking cigarettes. Nicotine is also bad for developing brains, so beginning to vape as a youth can cause a stronger addiction, making quitting more difficult in the long run.

The Nicotine found in vapes is the most addictive form of Nicotine there is. Nicotine exposure to kids, teens, and young brains can cause issues with crucial brain receptors that make youth more susceptible to nicotine addiction, drug abuse, and addiction in general. Studies on university students have shown that using vapes is associated with a higher level of problematic drug and alcohol use, gambling disorders, and other issues.

Learn about the percentage of addicts who stay clean after rehab here:

What Percentage of Addicts Stay Clean After Rehab?

How to Overcome Vaping Addiction

Overcoming vaping addiction is not easy because the body has begun to depend on the Nicotine in your system to function normally. At Muse Treatment, we offer addiction treatment plans for people who wish to stop smoking and quit vaping. We provide individualized patient care that can take place in a customized inpatient or outpatient program, depending on your individual needs and whether you require health care for severe lung damage or other common side effects of smoking a harmful substance.

We will help you minimize the side effects of quitting through an integrated plan that incorporates cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, holistic treatments, individual therapy, and other care. These programs will not only stop patients from being physically dependent on vaping but will also have the tools you need to stay away from nicotine products long-term as you heal from any health consequences you may suffer. Contact our team at (800) 426-1818 today to learn more about how we can help you handle your e-cigarette or vape addiction safely and effectively. We can help you quit for good.

Addiction,Drug Addiction,
Josh Chandler
Josh Chandler
After growing up in Chicago and North Carolina, Josh chose to get help with substance use disorder and mental health in California because of the state's reputation for top-tier treatment. There, he found the treatment he needed to achieve more than five years of recovery. He's been in the drug and alcohol addiction rehab industry for four years and now serves as the Director of Admissions for Resurgence Behavioral Health. Josh remains passionate about the field because he understands that one phone call can alter the course of a person's life.

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