As tech advancements have brought down the prices for many popular vaporizers, smokers are turning to e-cigarettes and other vapes as their primary smoking implements instead of the traditional tools. Though vaporizers were once believed to be the future of smoking, a growing pool of research is linking the growing fad to a number of alarming health issues, including mental health issues and lung and heart disease.
What may come as a shock to some, is the fact that e-cigarettes aren't regulated whatsoever by the Food and Drug Administration. Even though the American Lung Association has expressed its concerns over potential public health consequences, the vape industry has been granted absolute freedom in packaging as many chemicals as it pleases into its devices' cartridges. And nobody has any idea what they're smoking every time they power up to light up.
For starters, research from the UNC Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma and Lung Biology indicates vaporizing might suppress immune genes, effectively causing smokers greater complications in the body's immune genes than cigarette smoke.
"E-cig users showed the same changes in immune genes as cigarette smokers. However, e-cig users also demonstrated suppression of several additional immune genes, suggesting even broader suppressive effects on respiratory mucosal immune responses as compared to cigarette smokers," the study, presented at the 2016 American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Washington, D.C., noted.
"The main component of e-cigarettes is the e-liquid contained in cartridges. To create an e-liquid, nicotine is extracted from tobacco and mixed with a base (usually propylene glycol), and may also include flavorings, colorings and other chemicals," the American Lung Association reported. "Because there is no government oversight of these products, nearly 500 brands and 7,700 flavors of e-cigarettes are on the market, all without an FDA evaluation determining what's in them. So there is no way for anyone — healthcare professionals or consumers — to know what chemicals are contained in e-liquids, or how e-cigarette use might affect health, whether in the short term or in the long run."
According to Wired, new research correlates smoking from vapes to a plethora of health issues, including "asthma, lung inflammation, MRSA infection risk and exposure to harmful chemicals." However, thanks to extensive backlash from the American Vaping Association, many users are under the assumption there isn't any scientific evidence to suggest vaping could pose risks.
There is. Although vaporizing might eventually prove to be less carcinogenic than regular cigarettes, that certainly doesn't equate to perfect health.
"We already know you're breathing in a lot of toxic chemicals, which is bad," Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California San Francisco, told Wired. "You're breathing in a lot of toxic particles, which is bad. You're taking in nicotine, which is bad. A cigarette is by far and away the most dangerous consumer product ever invented. So to say it's not as bad as a cigarette is not saying very much."