E-cigarettes seem to be the ‘in thing’ these days. The NHS back vaping as a way to stop smoking cigarettes as do some anti-smoking organizations. However, many leading UK health & public health organisations also say that e-cigs are 95% less harmful than smoking, but not risk free. Many of the same organisations don’t recommend someone start vaping if they haven’t smoked.
One reason health organisations say vaping is less harmful is because they don’t have all of the chemicals cigarettes do, which are cancer causing. However, apart from the obvious cancer risk, smoking has a negative impact on the body and it’s many functions in numerous different ways. This includes the adverse affect on the heart, lungs and good and bad cholesterol. If your bad cholesterol (LDL) is too high and your good cholesterol (HDL) is too low it increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and vascular dementia.
So, the jury is still out on that 95% because there might be many more harmful side-effects with short term and long term e-cigarette use which have yet to be discovered. Already, new studies are popping up all over the place, showing that vaping is not as safe as some might think and they do in fact say vaping is harmful.
Some studies say that vaping may affect cholesterol negatively, much the same as smoking cigarettes do, increasing bad cholesterol and therefore increasing risk of heart attack and stroke. Other studies say that the heart’s pumping action is compromised with vaping just as much as smoking – if not more. There have also been reports of the damage vaping causes to lungs, especially in young people (but in my opinion older people aren’t going to be totally unaffected). Additionally it has been said that it has an effect on immune responses too!
The truth is that using e-cigarettes can’t leave you risk free from health problems. How can we say that?
Toxicologists concluded from studies that chemical flavourings in E-cigs can harm human infection fighting cells. Studies show vaping causes stiffness in key heart vessels similar to smoking. In one article, Michael Blaha M.D. M.P.H, director of clinical research for the prevention of heart disease says, “You’re exposing yourself to all kinds of chemicals that we don’t yet understand and that are probably not safe.”
At the end of the day, the lungs weren’t made to deal with these sort’s of chemicals or any type of smoke inhalation. Lungs take in oxygen from the air and remove carbon dioxide. They work hard to oxygenate blood which is then sent to the heart and the rest of our body. It makes sense that if the lungs are having to work extra hard to remove chemicals and residue from smoke, they can’t work optimally at the job they were intended to do.
Blaha says that nicotine, ” Raises our blood pressure and adrenaline”. Without nicotine a person who smokes will begin to suffer withdrawal which will in turn make a person vape more. In a 2014 study in the New England Journal of Medicine it found that “electronic cigarettes may function as a ‘gateway drug’ that can prime the brain to be more receptive to harder drugs.” This is because nicotine has been said to be as addictive as heroin and cocaine.
Nicotine is the drug that keeps you addicted to smoking and vaping and many e-cigarette users receive higher levels of nicotine than they ever would from a cigarette. Why is this? You can buy extra strength cartridges with higher levels of nicotine and up the voltage on the e-cigarette to get a greater hit of the nicotine.
Even if an e-cigarette has lower nicotine, some may feel they need to vape pretty much continually to match what their body is craving for. It’s also the case that some who start vaping to stop smoking, end up using both cigarettes on occasion and e-cigarettes.
The bottom line is, if you want to be the healthiest you can be, don’t pollute your body with cigarettes or e-cigarettes!
If you want to learn about getting fit and healthy, please read some of our other articles.
For tips on how to break the habit of smoking either normal cigarettes or e-cigarettes, see our article, ‘Tips to stop smoking’.
See links below for more articles or click on images on the right (or below for smaller screens) for Article Categories.