Vape-Related Deaths

Everyone knows that smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco is unhealthy. However, millions of people remain addicted to nicotine, and they are often feeling the pressure to quit. Enter the e-cigarette. E-cigarettes, or vape pens, are smokeless devices that aerosolize nicotine juice (or THC in some cases) to produce an inhaled vapor, and they are often marketed as a healthy alternative to cigarettes and other tobacco products. Yet, this reputation is not well deserved. In fact, recent trends have shown that e-cigarettes can pose significant health risks, including death. As of October 24th, the number of vaping related deaths in the United States was 37, and there were 1,888 documented cases of vaping related illness. This sudden surge in vape related illness is only part of the story. Because vaping is a relatively new trend, its effects are not well known or fully documented. Still, early evidence indicates that e-cigarettes are just as bad as cigarettes for your health (if not worse).

In early September, both the FDA and the CDC issued warnings to the general public regarding the dangers of vaping. The CDC recommended that people consider not using e-cigarettes, while the FDA further warned that e-cigarette users only purchase these devices from authorized retailers and not attempt to alter the devices themselves. It is not currently known exactly why severe vape related illness have had such a recent surge, but there are some established baselines on the dangers of vaping.

Immediate Effects of Vaping

Vape juices not only have much higher concentrations of nicotine than cigarettes—making them much more addictive—but they also contain many carcinogenic particles that can be harmful to your health. Specifically formaldehyde, which has been isolated in e-cigarette vapor among other dangerous chemicals. In the short-term, inhaling these harmful solutions can cause inflammation in the lungs and make users more susceptible to infections, such as pneumonia. Wheezing, coughing, and other respiratory symptoms are also common effects of vaping.

Another potentially devastating effect of vaping is the risk of a device malfunction. There have been documented cases of e-cigarettes exploding due to battery malfunctions, and this can occur while the device is in use. If a vape pen explodes while you are using it, you may suffer extensive injuries to the mouth and face.

Long-Term Consequences

Over long periods, vaping can cause widespread cardiovascular damage, which is an effect of nicotine itself. In other words, vaping as an alternative to cigarettes does nothing to limit your risk of heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, and sudden cardiac death. There is also evidence linking vaping to the onset of seizures, particularly in younger adults and teens. 

Steps to Help You Quit

Quitting vaping is challenging, but it is one of the best things you can do for your health. If you are ready to give up e-cigarettes, the following steps can help:

  1. Talk to a physician. Your doctor can offer you a wealth of resources to help you quit, including nicotine replacement medications.
  2. Consider counseling. Behavioral medicine is also a powerful tool to help you break a nicotine addiction. Speaking with a counselor can help you identify triggers that cause you to vape or smoke, and therapy can be a great support for your quitting journey.
  3. Lean on friends and family. When you do decide to quit, make sure you notify your friends, family members, and coworkers. This will further strengthen your support network and give you more accountability in your goals. You might even encourage loved ones to give up their bad habits along with you!

With MeMD, you can find the clinical and mental healthcare services you need to finally quit vaping. We offer convenient online doctor visits, and you can connect with a medical provider or therapist on your schedule for a flat, affordable rate.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I started smoking as a 9 year old and continued to smoke cigarettes for the next 27 years. I smoked a pack a day until I was introduced to vaping as a safer alternative. I have been smoke free for 3 years now. I find this article misinformed. It takes a moment to search for research that has been done in the UK for over 10 years. While 10 years is a short time when it comes to long term risk, the research is clear. Vaping is in the realm of 95% safer than traditional combustible cigarettes. They have doubled down on that statement recently. We are talking about Public Health England, not a skewed study done using outdated equipment used at temperatures, that someone who vapes could not and would not be able to inhale the vapor produced. The studies you are using don’t take into account how people like myself actually vape.
    I understand your company is in the medical field, so I find it troubling that you would rather use scare tactics to steer people seeking a safer alternative to combustible cigarettes away from a better and healthier choice. Combustible tobacco causes 480,000 deaths each year when used as intended. That is not including those affected by second hand smoke.
    The epidemic of deaths involving vaping has been attributed to black market THC cartridges, not vapor products. People who make these black market THC cartridges cut the pure THC by using chemicals to stretch their profits. Most use vitamin E to thicken the oil and sell it. You should never inhale oil. That’s pretty much common sense. Ingredients in vapor products are water soluble and don’t cause these issues.
    Traditional nicotine replacement therapy have a terrible success rate in helping smokers quit. We are talking less than 10%. The rate of success of vapor products is nearly twice that at around 20%. That is quite a leap in terms of getting smokers off of a product that when used the way it is intended will kill half of its users.
    I understand that Big Pharma and Big Tobacco have a huge stake in keeping smokers who would like to quit using combustible cigarettes smoking. It keeps profits in the hands of the death dealers and the abysmal nicotine replacement product companies.
    I smoked for 27 years and tried all of the traditional products. Gums, patches, lozenges even Chantix. All of them either made me sick or hate it so much I went back to smoking. Vaping was a one and done. I have not touched a cigarette in over 3 years. I have zero interest in smoking. I feel much better physically. I can smell and taste things that were dulled due to years of combustible tobacco use.
    The following statement from your article I find misleading and disheartening.
    Still, early evidence indicates that e-cigarettes are just as bad as cigarettes for your health (if not worse).
    As a company who deals with healthcare, I would expect better. I would expect you to look out for the health and safety of your consumer. This article is not what I expect. Be honest, be informed and unbiased.

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