The Truth About Vaping- Related Illnesses In Media

If you’ve ever attempted to quit smoking, then you may have tried a smoking alternative such as the nicotine patch, or in more recent years, vape cigarettes. Vape cigarettes were first invented 13 years ago and have steadily increased in both availability and popularity each year. In fact, by the year 2014, even the Oxford Dictionary couldn’t deny its popularity, naming “vaping” the official “word of the year.”

One of the main reasons why vape cigarettes have been so quick to gain popularity is because many individuals believe it to be a safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. But the facts about vape cigarettes (which are sometimes called e-cigarettes) have been clouded in a mist of myths, says Frank T. Leone, MD, MS, physician and Director of Comprehensive Smoking Treatment Programs at Penn Medicine.

Three myths about vape cigarettes

To clear the air, here are 4 myths about vape cigarettes that everyone should know.

Myth #1: It’s just water

Fact: The first myth is that vaping has anything at all to do with a vapor,” says Dr. Leone. “It doesn’t. It’s an aerosol.”

But the word “aerosol” has a lot of negative connotations, he adds. So, you likely won’t see it in advertising for vape cigarettes. “‘Vapor’ has a lot of positive connotations, including that it’s really water vapor you’re inhaling,” Dr. Leone says.

It’s not. According to Dr. Leone, a vapor forms when a liquid is turned into a gas. An aerosol is similar, but it contains tiny particles that are suspended in the air. This is why you can see what’s being released from a vape cigarette.

Myth #2: Vaping is safer than smoking traditional cigarettes

Fact: “People have been fed this line from day one,” says Dr. Leone. “The people trying to sell vaping are positioning the e-cigarette as a safer, healthier alternative to tobacco smoking.

On average, there are far lower concentrations of unsafe chemicals that cause lung cancer in vape cigarettes compared to regular cigarettes, says Dr. Leone. However, he adds, “The problem with thinking this means e-cigarettes are safer is that what’s true of the average is not necessarily true of all individual instances.

Myth #3: Vaping has no health risks

Fact: Vape cigarettes have their own unique potential health risks.

“There are organs in the body that are immune to the effects of cigarette smoke but can potentially be harmed by e-cigarette aerosol,” says Dr. Leone.

“For example, e-cigarette aerosol contains propylene glycol. This is metabolized by the liver into propionaldehyde, which is actually related to formaldehyde,” he explains. “When propionaldehyde accumulates in the body, it increases the potential for liver damage.”

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