Vaping, or the use of electronic cigarettes, came about to be a “safe” alternative to conventional cigarette smoking. Though it has been a big factor in driving down the number of teen smokers (source), they are finding that it might not be as safe as originally thought. Due to limited research on this relatively new product it was hard to truly know what impact it could have on the users bodies. Now that researchers have had a little more time to dig into some of the issues they are finding that it could be just as dangerous as smoking cigarettes.
A recent study was conducted at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale (source) to try and better understand the dangers. In the past few months alone there have been over 800 cases of lung injuries associated with vaping. This study took biopsies from 17 patients that were suffering from vaping related illnesses. They found that all 17 of the biopsies showed that the injuries were due to “direct toxicity or tissue damage from noxious chemical fumes.” They have equated the damage to what you would find if you were to inhale toxic fumes while working at a chemical plant.
Though it is currently unknown whether the vaping products used by these patients were over the counter or counterfeit, we still need to take the effects seriously and be wary of the consequences. In the last few months there have been 17 deaths and it is only expected for the vaping related injuries to increase over time.
In this day and age use of electronic cigarettes is prevalent in just about every school, regardless if it is at the secondary or elementary level. We as health educators have a responsibility to our students and parents to present the facts. Though we cannot be there to hold their hands or make decisions for them, the more information that we can provide the more likely they are to make the right choice.