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With the demand for smoking increasing every year, manufacturers have tapped into technology to produce advanced smoking tools, namely, e-cigarettes. Although individuals who have adopted this new smoking mechanism, which is commonly referred to as vaping, view it as safer because of the assumed low nicotine levels inhaled, this paper demystifies this perception. Various brands, including Jul, Kanger, and SMOK, have deployed this disruptive technology for about ten years.
This situation reveals why the number of consumers of e-cigarettes has been increasing steadily in the U.S. and other parts of the world. Battery-powered gadgets that have been used to produce e-cigarettes do not reduce the complexity of health issues associated with smokers. This paper finds it crucial to briefly examine the components of devices that facilitate vaping and the possible risks posed to users. Overall, vaping is found to have significant effects that range from lung cancer, heart failure, and an increased urge for other drugs such as conventional cigarettes and cannabis.
Components of the Vaping Machine
Vaping machines, which are universally known as e-cigarettes, contain a battery that is utilized to power the gadget. The charging unit facilitates the conversion of liquid items into vapor that is then gasped into the lungs to cause effects similar to those associated with traditional cigarettes. Users usually exhale the vapor after a short while of inhaling. According to Richter, “a vaping device consists of a mouthpiece, a battery, a cartridge for containing the e-liquid or e-juice, and a heating component for the device that is powered by a battery.” According to Floyd et al., the design and components of vaping devices have been changing with time due to the innovativeness of organizations that produce the gadgets (2).
For instance, while the first generation of vaping machines had the shape of a cigarette, manufacturers have produced advanced and user-friendly machines that contain refillable e-juice containers. Aspects of portability and convenience have also been captured in the new designs of vaping gadgets (Chen-Sankey et al. 2). For instance, Richter introduces the JUUL that has a size of a flash-disk, which many users, including secondary school learners, find comfortable to use, carry, and hide.
The level of customization of such devices determines their market prices, hence implying that newer versions are more expensive compared to older ones. However, the need for accommodating all users reveals why manufacturers are still producing the first generation of vaping machines that are not only less complicated but also affordable to low-income earners (Richter). This situation concurs with findings in the study conducted in 2016 by Chen-Sankey et al. whereby “4.3% and 11.3% of U.S. middle and high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the past month, increasing from 0.6% and 1.5% in 2011, respectively” (2).
According to Floyd et al., current designs are being bought at a higher rate due to their capacity to help users to inhale higher volumes of nicotine, thus bringing almost instant satisfaction with the drug being consumed (2). Overall, based on the observed trend concerning vaping tools, it is possible that producers will continue to modify these gadgets to suit consumers’ rising demand for e-cigarettes.
How Condensation Occurs
It is crucial to mention that one of the major differences between conventional cigarettes and vapes is linked to the manner in which condensation occurs (Floyd et al. 3). Other differences include the absence of tobacco in e-cigarettes. While smoke in traditional cigarettes may not have sufficient time to condense before being inhaled, e-cigarettes have been designed to allow the vaping aerosol to attain relatively low temperatures, which are assumed to be less harmful to users.
The battery installed in vaping machines is designed to produce an elevated power that, in turn, increases the level of contents converted into steam. The atomizer component then condenses this steam to yield the required vaping aerosol (Chen-Sankey et al. 2). The e-juice in steam stage starts to condense when the surrounding environment is extremely saturated.
Specifically, as presented in the study by Flyod et al., “Condensation begins immediately after the vapor leaves the hot zone surrounding the atomizer heating element because of the level of supersaturation of e-juice vapor” (3). This condition facilitates the development of nucleation zones and the cooling down of other contents, which are inhaled into the user’s lungs. The appealing nature of the more than 7,000 flavors of e-cigarettes has led to increased vaping levels among the youthful generation in the United States of America (Chen-Sankey et al. 2).
As earlier indicated, many users of e-cigarettes are not aware of the underlying negative health impacts. Consumers of e-cigarettes risk experiencing lung cancer, cognitive impairment, heart malfunctioning, and an increased likelihood of using other drugs such as cannabis and traditional cigarettes.
Consequences of Vaping
One of the major compounds that end up being deposited into e-cigarette consumers’ lungs is C10H14N2 that is generally known as nicotine. The article by Chen-Sankey et al. presents adolescents as the most affected by nicotine that is inhaled during vaping (2). According to this study, excessive consumption of elements that produce nicotine has been associated with undesirable impacts on young people’s “long-term cognitive and behavioral impairments” (Chen-Sankey et al. 2).
Many adolescents have been attracted to this innovative method of smoking while not being conversant with the harm caused by metals and e-liquid compounds present. For example, propylene glycol (C3H8O2) and nicotine interfere with adolescents’ normal mental functioning (Selekman 12; Cox 1708). Nicotine causes a craving habit among young people.
According to Selekman, it also facilitates the production of acetylcholine neurotransmitters, which undermine users’ desire to engage in constructive activities due to the associated interrupted mental functioning (12). As a result, those who engage in vaping a more likely to make risky decisions, including having suicidal thoughts and consuming other equally harmful drugs such as marijuana.
The relaxation of e-cigarette consumers’ minds is caused by the presence of carbon monoxide (CO) delivered to the bloodstream to the extent of destabilizing hemoglobin levels in the brain and the entire body (Selekman 12). Once the brain is affected, users’ cognitive processes, including memory, communication, their capacity to handle challenging situations, and inventiveness, are compromised (Chen-Sankey et al. 2). Consequently, vaping may be regarded as counterproductive to users’ psychological well-being.
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Vaping is also a major cause of cardiovascular complications due to the increased heart rate and, consequently, blood pressure, brought about by excessive nicotine in the body. In another study conducted by Cox, vaping encourages the use of other drugs, including those that are prohibited in some jurisdictions (1708). For instance, as earlier mentioned, consumers of e-cigarettes are likely to consume cannabis and traditional cigarettes. Goyal et al. associate these two drugs with liver complications, which may result in the sudden death of those who engage in vaping (2079).
According to a study by Lariscy et al., more than 437, 000 fatalities recorded in the U.S. have been witnessed among smokers aged 35 years and above (1856). This data indicates the possibility of the number of deaths being three times higher when information regarding young people is included.
Excessive consumption of cannabis contributes to hypertension among users (Goyal et al. 2080). Hence, although vaping is gaining popularity due to the perceived minimal health complications, its capacity to tempt consumers of the available diverse flavors to utilize other counterproductive drugs has to be reviewed. If appropriate measures are not implemented to manage the rate at which vaping is being done in many regions in the U.S., it is possible that significant financial resources will be utilized to fight the associated hospital expenses.
Vaping contributes significantly to the rising number of lung cancer patients. According to Reidel et al., vaping may be considered a safer alternative to traditional smoking, especially among people suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (492). However, such a position is inaccurate because of the current insufficient research examining the impacts of vaping on people experiencing COPD. E-cigarettes entail a new form of smoking that has only been in the market for about one decade (Reidel et al. 493). This finding suggests a lack of enough literature regarding the long-term effects of vaping on both non-COPD and COPD people.
However, available studies confirm the existence of a link between vaping and lung complications. For example, as Khlystov and Samburova observe, some vaping products possess nicotine, which causes serious lung complications (13080). Other vaping contents contain carcinogens, toxic chemicals, and nano-particles that mainly have toxic metals, which have been confirmed to cause cancer when deposited into consumers’ lungs (Lee et al. 1560). Despite the rising cases of lung cancer, producers of vaping products continue to market their commodities, claiming that they are safer when compared to traditional cigarettes.
Organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are already beginning to worry about the long-term effects of vaping. Although this technology was invented less than two decades ago, its potential of causing lung cancer among users requires interested stakeholders to undertake a cost-benefit analysis. This strategy may help to reveal whether or not vaping should be banned or regulated.
In 2018, the FDA implemented a policy that required manufacturers to include warnings on vaping products that possess nicotine. Despite CDC suggesting that vaping poses insignificant harm to users compared to conventional cigarettes, it advises young people, adult non-tobacco users, and expectant women to refrain from using them (Reidel 492). This warning is given due to the potential lung complications that may affect even the unborn.
Using 44 participants drawn from e-cigarette, traditional cigarette smokers, and non-smokers, Reidel et al. concluded that e-cigarettes were not a healthier alternative to traditional cigarette smoking (493). This research found airways of e-cigarette smokers to contain proteins associated with COPD and lung cancer. All research subjects were found to have oxidative stress that is linked to lung complications. These findings supported another research conducted in 2016 indicating the way vaping products containing nicotine trigger lung inflammation and tissue damages (Khlystov and Samburova 13080). These conditions have a direct relationship with COPD.
According to Lee et al., the vapor produced during vaping has the capacity to damage the DNA of lung cells (1565). Hence, based on the above research findings, concerns raised by the FDA and the CDC are valid because vaping increases the risk of lung complications. Such damages extend to other vital body organs, including the heart as revealed in the study by Goyal et al. (2079). However, additional research may be needed to substantiate the effects of e-cigarettes on both COPD and non-COPD individuals.
Agencies such as the Lung Institute regard vaping as inappropriate for all people, particularity those who have a history of COPD coupled with various other types of lung diseases (Murthy 209). Once a person is diagnosed with COPD, interstitial lung ailment, and emphysema, they are advised to shun inhaling anything else apart from clean air.
Vaping is among the major causes of death among citizens in the U.S. The number of fatalities has been increasing at a high rate in the last decade after the invention of vaping machines. This alarming situation has affected both young and old people regardless of their genders. It is crucial to point out that these groups of people abuse drugs while not being aware of the underlying consequences. In the United States alone, some drugs such as cigarettes and cannabis are easily accessible to a huge number of people who engage in vaping. As revealed in this paper, vaping has various health complications, including lung cancer, cardiovascular attacks, and cognitive impairment.
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