Sales of electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, products have increased exponentially over the past several years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
E-cigarettes are electronic devices that heat a liquid into an aerosol, or mix of small particles in the air, that is inhaled. E-cigarettes can look like traditional cigarettes or cigars, pipes, pens or USB flash drives. E-hookahs, mods and vape pens are all types of e-cigarettes.
Using an e-cigarette is sometimes called “vaping.”
Here, some of the more common questions about vaping are answered.
Is vaping harmful?
The short answer is yes. While vaping is generally considered less harmful than traditional tobacco smoking, it is not without risks.
Vaping involves inhaling and exhaling aerosol produced by e-cigarettes or similar devices. The aerosol is not harmless; it typically contains nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals, which can be exposed to the e-cigarette user and bystanders.
Nicotine addiction, lung inflammation, lung cancer and respiratory issues like e-cigarette-associated lung injury (EVALI) are just some of the potential risks associated with vaping. The long-term effects of vaping are still being studied, and it's important to note that new information may emerge as research continues.
Is vaping linked to throat cancer?
Exposure to certain chemicals found in e-cigarette aerosol can be harmful to the cells in the throat, potentially increasing the risk of developing throat cancer.
Some studies have found that e-cigarette use also can lead to DNA damage and changes in gene expression in throat cells — factors that can contribute to cancer development. However, more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between vaping and throat cancer.
Should I quit vaping?
Given the potential risks associated with vaping, we recommend quitting vaping, especially for individuals who do not already use tobacco products.
If you are using vaping products as a means to quit smoking, it is worth considering alternative cessation methods, such as nicotine replacement therapy or behavioral support programs, which can offer more comprehensive support for quitting.
What if I can't quit vaping? Should I go back to smoking tobacco?
Neither vaping nor tobacco use is recommended due to their potential health risks. If you are struggling to quit vaping, seek professional help and explore different strategies and resources available for quitting.
Nicotine addiction can be challenging to overcome, but health care providers can offer guidance on cessation methods tailored to individual needs.
It's important to remember that quitting vaping, like quitting smoking, is a process that often requires support and persistence.