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  • Andrea Juarez

Vaping is still popular despite health hazards

This story was previously published at The Weal.

E-cigarretes became popular since after invention in China in 2003, and because they don’t produce any smoke, they’re described as a safer option instead of cigarettes.

They work by heating liquids like nicotine mixed with other chemicals and flavours and turning them into a vapour.

“I smoked for five years – half pack a day. I didn’t want to do that anymore, but I realized that I still like the feeling of smoking, so vaping was a healthier alternative,” said Quin Hauck, a first-year student from the journalism program at SAIT.

Almost 30 per cent of Canadians use e-cigarettes to quit tobacco.

Others use them because they find them healthier and more convenient than cigarettes, and some admitted to use them on doctor’s advice, according to Statista, a statistics company.

Researchers from the University of Victoria conducted a study that showed vaping can be as effective as other nicotine replacement devices used in quitting smoking, and that second-hand exposure to vapour is less harmful than exposure to tobacco smoke.

A study published by The Canadian Journal of Public Health in 2014 showed that tobacco smokers who switched to e-cigarettes reported positive changes in their health such as improved breathing, less coughing and better physical fitness.

In addition, they were satisfied by the taste and flavour.

“The smell of cigarettes is stronger, I like the smell of the vape because I can choose the flavours that I like,” said Brice Djomani, a student from the business and accounting program at SAIT.

On the other hand, some users reported dryness, burning of mouth and throat, light headedness, headaches, cough and phlegm production.

According to Live Science, a science news site, no matter how much nicotine is delivered, it can worsen heart disease in people who struggle with severe heart conditions because it’s a cardiovascular stimulant.

Not only nicotine, but also other chemicals in e-cigarettes such as propylene glycol can irritate the eyes and airways. In addition, when they’re heated and vaporized, they can degrade into paraldehyde and acetaldehyde, which are considered carcinogen chemicals.

It is not yet clear how repeated exposure to these chemicals might cause cancer.

E-cigarettes’ lithium-ion batteries are also considered a risk due to their ability to explode.

In 2016, the CBC reported Ty Geer, a Lethbridge 16-year-old, who was smoking an e-cigarette in a car when suddenly it exploded.

His father, Perry Greer, told the CBC that the e-cigarette lit on his son’s face, busted two teeth out and burned the back of his throat and tongue.

In Calgary, e-cigarettes are forbidden in the same public places as smoking tobacco is, however; people are still allowed to vape in stores that sell the devices.

Featured image by Quinten De Graaf.


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