Electronic cigarettes are also known as e-cigarettes, e-cigs, vape pens, or vapor cigarettes. Does Nicotine Cause Cancer?
The e-cigarette heats the liquid chemicals into a vapor or steam that a person inhales, which is why using these is often called "vaping. While the types and concentrations of toxins vary by brand and device, all e-cigarettes contain harmful substances. They have only been readily available in the United States since As a result, there is limited research on their long-term health risks.
Because of the risks, the U. Food and Drug Administration FDA took initial steps towards regulating these products in , though there is still limited regulation of the contents of the e-liquids and the devices. As of September , there have been more than cases of a severe lung disease, including 12 deaths, in the United States. All the affected patients reported previous use of vaping devices, but there is no confirmed link with a specific vaping device or e-liquid.
The U. Centers for Disease Control CDC reports so far indicate that most patients with this lung disease reported using products containing THC, but many also reported using nicotine. Some patients reported just using nicotine-containing e-cigarettes. Since no single product or substance has yet been linked to the disease, the CDC and the FDA are recommending that people stop using these products. If you continue to use e-cigarettes, the CDC recommends that you do not modify cartridges or purchase them off the street and that you monitor your health.
If you develop any symptoms of this lung disease, including coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, and abdominal pain, talk with your doctor immediately. To learn more about this lung disease and its symptoms, visit the website of the CDC. Please note that this link takes you to a U. Many people may turn to e-cigarettes as a way to try to stop smoking, and there is evidence that they can be effective for smoking cessation.
Even so, e-cigarettes would never be considered the first choice for smoking cessation because of the risks and given the extent of the current outbreak of severe lung disease, e-cigarettes should be avoided at the present time.
The FDA has not approved e-cigarettes as a way to quit smoking. Doctors and the FDA recommend evidence-based methods for quitting smoking. If you have used e-cigarettes to stop smoking, do not return to smoking cigarettes instead of using e-cigarettes. Instead, turn to safe ways to deliver nicotine such as nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, and nasal spray.
Smokeless tobacco products contain tobacco or tobacco blends. They have many names. And they fall into several categories. Chewing tobacco sits between the cheek and gum. Usually, the person spits out the tobacco juices.
But long-time users may swallow some of the juices. This is finely ground tobacco. It comes in dry or moist forms. It is sometimes packaged in ready-to-use pouches. People usually sniff or swallow dry snuff. In contrast, people place moist snuff between the gum and lip or cheek.
Then, it slowly absorbs. This is a tobacco product that originated in Sweden. Typically, manufacturers package the moist tobacco powder in a pouch. People place it inside the cheek for absorption. They do not swallow the pouch. It must be thrown away after use. Tobacco companies often market snus to people who smoke cigarettes because it is allowed in smoke-free areas.
But public health advocates worry that snus does not help efforts to reduce tobacco use. Dissolvable tobacco. This is compressed powdered tobacco. It resembles a small, hard candy that dissolves in the mouth. Prolonged use of smokeless tobacco products contributes to serious health issues. These include cancer and heart disease. Some smokeless tobacco products contain 3 to 4 times more nicotine than cigarettes.
Chewing tobacco may cause white patches, called leukoplakia. They appear on the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth. Most of these are noncancerous, but some show early signs of cancer. Oral cancer often occurs near patches of leukoplakia. Smokeless tobacco products also cause dental problems and contribute to gum disease and tooth decay.
Many people claim that these products are less harmful than smoking and can help people stop smoking. But these alternatives are not evidence-based methods. Nicotine attaches to receptors in the brain, thereby triggering the release of dopamine — a chemical messenger involved in pleasure and a wide range of other neurological functions. It basically produces a feel-good high.
When teens smoke or vape, it is believed that their brains create more receptors to handle the influx of nicotine. As the number of receptors increases, they need higher levels of nicotine to get the same buzz. They also speculate that these neurological changes may have long-term consequences for mood and mental focus.
In the debate over vaping, much of the recent attention has been about the spate of serious lung injuries. Many of these cases appear to be linked to the vaping of cannabis oils such as tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. The latest evidence suggests that vitamin E acetate, a filler sometimes added to black-market THC, might be causing the injuries.
But even without THC, routine vaping — and the other chemicals in vaping liquids — may lead to long-term health problems. Are these symptoms the early warning signs of chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma? Or might vaping contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease?
He adds that it will likely take some time to establish a clear picture of the risks. Selby is also concerned that young people who have never used tobacco are now being drawn to vaping. He says better government regulations are needed to safeguard adolescents. However, he thinks vaping should not be vilified to the point where the devices are actually banned.
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Story continues below advertisement. Vaping-related illnesses have been in the spotlight recently amid accusations the makers of the products are targeting them at youth.
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