Vaping and Nicotine – What Every Vape User Should Know
E-cigarettes have taken the world by storm over the past few years because of their convenience and because of some purported health benefits compared to normal smoking. However, vaping devices have been getting a bad rap lately from politicians and regulators who still don’t entirely understand vape products itself and how it effects ones health. Researchers are still learning a lot about the effects of vaping and nicotine on long-term health, and it isn’t yet known if vaping is completely innocuous, but there are some things that are known about nicotine and vaping and it’s important for users to be informed about them.
First, nicotine is a substance that is found in nature in varying amounts within many different plants. You probably didn’t know it, but nicotine can even be found in vegetables like tomatoes, green bell peppers, and potatoes, although only in small, trace amounts. The tobacco plant offers the highest concentration of nicotine in its leaves, and tobacco is used within other more traditional forms of smoking like cigarettes, cigars, and popular forms of chewing tobacco.
Although tobacco has always been used to experience the effects of nicotine, vaping devices don’t use tobacco but instead use a nicotine infused liquid. As a drug, nicotine falls under the category of other drugs known as nootropics. Nootropics are generally known for enhancing cognitive abilities like memory and focus, and nicotine is the most popular nootropic in the world behind the ever-present caffeine we love so much.
Nicotine is considered to be an addictive substance, which is why so many people have such difficulty quitting the use of nicotine products – but does this mean that it’s inherently bad for us? So far, research has indicated that nicotine isn’t carcinogenic, or cancer-causing, but it can cause health problems if too much of it is consumed. Nicotine can even be considered as a drug to treat some health problems such as ulcerative colitis or even to potentially provide a benefit to sufferers of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, as some studies suggest. The reason cigarettes are constantly under fire for being a health risk is because tobacco and other additives and chemicals like formaldehyde are naturally strong carcinogens.
But vaping doesn’t use tobacco; only nicotine. As far as researchers currently know, there “may be” decreased health risks from vaping instead of smoking. Unfortunately, anti-tobacco activists have recently chosen to demonize vaping because of its strong relation to traditional tobacco products. For example, a recent study completed at Portland State University found that smoking an e-cigarette on a low voltage setting produced no carcinogens like formaldehyde, but setting the e-cigarette to a high voltage would produce formaldehyde in high, unsafe amounts. However, while the researchers realized that people usually don’t smoke these devices at such high voltages because the taste becomes unbearable, anti-tobacco activists used the study to claim that e-cigarettes were inherently just as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than smoking.
Misinformation like this is dangerous, and people who choose to smoke or use nicotine products should make informed decisions about their use of nicotine or tobacco carefully, as it could have some impact on their health depending on the frequency and type of use. While nicotine isn’t inherently carcinogenic as mentioned before, it still can be dangerous at high quantities. Any nicotine products should be out of the reach of children and should be in child-proof containers if possible.
- Ali Esmaili