Eskenazi Health pediatrician
Electronic cigarettes - also know as vapor cigarettes - have become a popular alternative to regular cigarettes because users are looking for a less harmful alternative to tobacco, and others use them in a similar was a nicotine replacement therapy.
However, the medical profession cites that there are some major health concerns associated with these cigarettes.
All e-cigarettes contain a small cartridge filled with a liquid, as well as a heating element, which is initiated by using a battery. This causes the liquid to vaporize so that it can be inhaled. Smoking an e-cigarette is also referred to as vaping.
A variety of products are available. There are e-cigarettes with pre-filled cartridges (different flavors are available) that are removed and replaced after use. Other models contain fixed tanks that you refill with e-liquid yourself.
Some e-cigarettes even have software that allows you to adjust the electric voltage and record information such as how often and how much you inhale. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, young people are more likely than adults to use e-cigarettes. In 2016 more than 2 million U.S. middle and high school students used e-cigarettes within a 30-day period, which translates to 4.3 percent of middle schoolers and 11.3 percent of high schoolers.
In 2016, 3.2 percent of adults were e-cigarette users. Compared to smoking tobacco and using medications to quit smoking, e-cigarettes are relatively inexpensive. However, according to the CDC, e-cigarette aerosol that users inhale can contain harmful substances that include nicotine and diacetyl flavoring, which is a chemical linked to a serious lung disease.
Users are also subject to inhaling ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs, volatile organic compounds, cancer-causing chemicals and heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead. Young children have been known to drink the harmful liquid flavoring and will use the vaping system to smoke cannabinoid oil.
In addition to the common dangers of vaping, defective e-cigarette batteries have been known to trigger fires – and in some cases – explosions that have caused serious injuries. If you or your child are in need of a doctor for health care needs, call 317-880-8687 or visit www. eskenazihealth.edu/doctors.