November 14, 2018
Two vapes (e-cigs) and a pack of cigarettes at Conestoga College (Photo by Holly Juurlink/Spoke News)

By Holly Juurlink, Spoke News

Within the last two years, “vaping” has become very popular among youth, adults and seniors. The main question on the minds of many, given the results of different studies, is whether vaping is safe.

These cigarette lookalikes basically consist of a cartridge, a battery, and an LED light. When turned on, the e-cig (vape) heats up the liquid that is housed in the cartridge; this produces a mist or vapour, which the “smoker” inhales or “vapes.” The ingredients of the liquid vary, but generally include nicotine (though some are nicotine free), chemicals to vaporize the nicotine (like propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin), additives and flavouring.

Some users believe vapes, or e-cigarettes, are a miracle, saving them from smoking cigarettes as much as they had in the past.

“Vaping has helped me finally quit smoking,” said 85-year-old John Repasy of Woodstock, Ont. “I have been smoking since I was 10 years old and I never thought I would be able to say ‘I quit.’”

Nicotine is a drug — and a powerfully habit-forming one. A 2013 study on pubmed.gov suggests that inhaling the drug, regardless of whether it is via conventional cigarettes or e-cigs, may contribute to heart disease.

Lori Bage, a nurse at London Health Sciences Centre, said, “Using vape products containing nicotine can initiate the addiction process in those individuals choosing to partake in it. I do not consider it a ‘healthy’ alternative to smoking.”

According to Scientific American, there is evidence that e-cigs deliver toxic things of their own, such as formaldehyde (a known carcinogen), nitrosamines (linked to cancer) and lead (a neurotoxin). Though the toxicant levels of e-cigs may be “nine-450 times lower than cigarette smoke,”  according to a study done by The BMJ, a peer-reviewed journal, levels of formaldehyde and metals have been found to be comparable or higher than those found in conventional cigarettes.

It is still unclear as to whether or not “vaping” is safe, as it has pros and cons and is still considered “too new.” There are not enough studies to provide a concrete answer.

Kyle Van Dillen is seen vaping in St. George, Ont., on Sept. 16, 2018. (Photo by Kaitlyn Mullin, Spoke News)

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