Many people are concerned about the health of their lungs right now. Here's a look at what happened last year and how vaping can impact your health today.
What Is Vaping?
Vaping is a term that refers to smoking e-cigarettes. Some people turn to vaping to help them break a cigarette addiction. E-cigs come in different shapes and sizes, but all have a heating element, a place to hold liquid, and a battery. The liquid typically has nicotine, a flavoring, and may have a tobacco product. There are also e-cigarettes for cannabis products.
The CDC eventually determined that most of the EVALI cases were connected to THC vaping, especially when the cartridges were obtained from black market sources or online. The CDC also linked Vitamin E acetate to the outbreak, finding it in many product samples and in lung fluid. Vitamin E acetate is sometimes used as an additive in THC e-cigarettes.
Vaping and Popcorn Lung
Another issue with vaping is a potential connection to popcorn lung. This can lead to scarring and narrowing of the bronchioles in your lungs, also called bronchiolitis obliterans. Symptoms of popcorn lung can include shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing.
In November 2019, a Canadian teenager was the first person diagnosed with vaping-caused popcorn lung. He had to be put on a heart lung bypass machine because his lungs were so damaged. He was discharged from the hospital after 47 days but may have chronic damage. The medical paper about his case notes that this form of damage is rare and specific products he used could not be obtained for analysis.
Vaping and Your Health
Although vaping is less harmful than smoking, it's not necessarily safe, even when you avoid the e-cigarettes linked to EVALI. The nicotine is addictive, can raise your blood pressure, and can be a danger to pregnant woman, babies, or teens whose brains are still developing.
It's also not clear how safe vaping is in the long term. Vaping might have links to chronic lung disease, asthma, and cardiovascular disease.
How to Quit Vaping
Some people start vaping to quit smoking cigarettes, but then what do you do later to quit vaping? Techniques that can help include finding replacement activities to distract you, finding a support group, and knowing that setbacks may happen from time to time — just don't give up. Attending smoking cessation classes can also be helpful. Good resources for quitting include the American Lung Association, the Truth Initiative, and MedlinePlus. Your doctor might suggest medication or nicotine replacement patches. It should be noted that these are very close to the suggestions for how to quit smoking cigarettes.
Since it is important to maintain healthy lungs, avoiding vaping altogether is a wise course of action. If you're already vaping, now might be a good time to quit.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor and is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. Philips disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.