E-Cigarettes And Vaping Q&A

According to the Center on Addiction, vaping has grown in popularity with the rise of e-cigarettes and other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS). Several studies indicate that particles found in the “vapor” produced by these devices contain toxic chemicals which have been linked to respiratory and heart disease, as well as cancer. Despite these findings, some still believe that vaping is far less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes. In fact, the opposite is true. This Q&A addresses this and other misconceptions people may have about vaping.

Q: What are ENDS or vaping devices?

A: Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems are tobacco products that do not produce smoke. Some of the most commonly used terms used to describe these products are e-cigarettes, vapes and vaporizers. These devices are usually composed of a battery, heating element and a chamber which is often filled with liquid containing nicotine.  This liquid is heated by the device to release an aerosol often mistaken for water vapor. Vaping is inhaling and exhaling the aerosol produced.

Q: Are there negative effects associated with vaping?

A: The liquid found in vaping devices often contains nicotine which causes addiction and increases abuse potential.  Nicotine is toxic to the brain of developing fetuses. It also harms adolescent brain development.  The aerosol component of vaping devices has cancer-causing chemicals.  Cases of accidental poisoning by the liquids in devices are becoming more common. Defective products can cause explosions and fires.

Q: How do regular cigarettes compare to vaping devices?

A: Smoking a regular cigarette will produce smoke while delivering nicotine to the body.  The smoke is a harmful component that contains many toxic agents including but not limited to carbon monoxide and tar; both of which can cause cancer and other diseases.  E-cigarettes and other vaping devices contain fewer toxic chemicals when compared to regular cigarettes because there is no smoke.  However, they still contain significant levels of harmful substances such as nicotine, heavy metals like lead, volatile organic compounds, propylene glycol and other cancer-causing agents.

Q: Can e-cigarettes and other vaping devices be used to quit smoking?

A:   E-cigarettes are not currently approved by the FDA to quit smoking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) deems that e-cigarettes have the potential to benefit adult smokers (non-pregnant) as a complete substitute for regular cigarettes and other smoked tobacco products, but more studies are needed to prove this. Recent CDC studies also found that most adults using e-cigarettes don’t quit smoking, instead, are using both products.

Q: Is there a rising epidemic in the use of vaping device among youth?

In the USA there are several laws put in place to regulate the use of vaping devices. Despite these regulations, the use of vaping devices is increasing among youth. Reports from the CDC indicate that 4.3% of middle school students and 11.3% of high school students have tried vaping in the past month.  Vaping devices are produced in various models, including those that look like flash drives. This makes it easier for students to mask its presence. Lack of legislation to stop advertising of vaping products, availability of multiple appealing flavors, easy access are all factors that have contributed to increased use of vaping devices among youth.

Nicotine and other toxic substances, delivered in the form of traditional cigarettes or ENDS are harmful to your health. The best way to avoid these toxic chemicals derived from tobacco use is to stop smoking or vaping.

If you are currently a smoker and would like to quit, please schedule an appointment to see your doctor. There are many resources available to help control cravings and decrease use.

To schedule an appointment with a Family Medicine Doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-6942.

Yogaalakshmi Sundararajan M.D. -Family Medicine Physician

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Electronic Cigarettes – Are They Safe ?

girn in cafe with E-Cigarette

girn in cafe with E-Cigarette

Electronic cigarettes, or as they are more popularly called, e-cigarettes, are designed to look like traditional tobacco cigarettes. Though the e-cigarettes contain no tobacco, they can be harmful because they contain nicotine which is a cancer causing chemical.
Their manufacturers would like the public to believe that they are a safer alternative to cigarettes, but this may not be the case.

How they work – The user inhales through a mouthpiece similar to traditional cigarettes. This flow of air triggers a sensor that turns on a small battery operated heater. The heater warms up a capsule that contains nicotine and propylene glycol. The vapor that is created gives the user the sensation of smoking a traditional cigarette. The vapor from these e-cigarettes also contains formaldehyde and acetaldehyde which can also cause cancer.

The U. S. Food and Drug Administration has done a preliminary analysis of these devices and concluded that the vapors that they emit contain other carcinogens, such as  nitrosamines and diethylene glycol. It is presumed that the effects of smoking these e-cigarettes would have similar second hand effects as regular tobacco products and their use should be regulated in a similar manner.

Though they have been marketed as an aid to stop smoking for those trying to quit, there is no evidence that proves that these e-cigarettes accomplish that goal.. If you smoke, or know someone who does, and are interested in quitting we recommend speaking with your physician. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our pulmonary specialists at 718-206-6742 who can assist you.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Are Electronic Cigarettes Helpful or Harmful?

Girl holding traditional and electronic cigarette

The journey to quitting smoking has evolved from quitting cold turkey, to smoking patches, nicotine gum and today, electronic cigarettes. Also called, e-cigarettes or electronic nicotine delivery systems these battery-operated devices are designed to deliver flavored nicotine along with other chemicals to users in vapor form instead of smoke. Electronic cigarettes can be manufactured to look like traditional cigarettes, cigars or even everyday items such as pens or USB memory sticks. While e-cigarettes are being promoted as a safer alternative, in reality it’s just a diet cigarette and still potentially harmful as smoking old-fashioned cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are designed for the illusion of tobacco smoking by producing flavored aerosol that looks and feels like tobacco smoke and delivers nicotine, but with less of the toxic chemicals produced by burning tobacco leaves. Since they deliver nicotine without burning tobacco, e-cigarettes appear to be a safer and less toxic alternative to conventional cigarettes. Although they do not produce actual tobacco smoke, e-cigarettes still contain nicotine and other potentially harmful chemicals that still can lead to serious health consequences such as cancer and heart disease.

The liquid nicotine in e-cigarettes is highly concentrated and contains anywhere from six to 36 milligrams of nicotine per unit. In order to smoke an e-cigarette you have to refill the nicotine cartridges which requires direct exposure to liquid nicotine. Swallowing nicotine can cause vomiting, rapid heart rate, seizures and possibly death, depending on the amount and concentration. Nicotine can also be absorbed through the eyes, causing eye irritation.

Electronic cigarettes are still new and studies are still being conducted to determine their helpfulness in eliminating tobacco use among smokers. Some people believe e-cigarette products may help smokers lower nicotine cravings while they are trying to discontinue their tobacco use. However, at this point it is unclear whether e-cigarettes may be effective as smoking-cessation aids. There is also the possibility that they could perpetuate the nicotine addiction and thus interfere with quitting.

Cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of sickness and mortality, responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in the United States each year. The journey to quit smoking can be difficult, but you do not have to do it alone. Jamaica Hospital’s smoking cessation team wants to help you develop a plan leading to your “quit day”. For more information on resources to quit smoking, please call 718-206-8494.

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All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.