- The science of vaping – how it affects your body
There is very little question anymore that vaping is far less harmful than smoking. But not many of us know exactly how, or how vaping dies affect us. This article will explore that topic.
Vaping delivers nicotine through the lungs. Nicotine is a cardiovascular stimulant. Now, there is still a great deal of controversy as to whether it actually causes heart disease in healthy people, but experts do agree that it is very bad for people who already have serious heart conditions.
It is also known that using nicotine while pregnant can lead to low birth weight, and should really be avoided.
Nicotine, when highly concentrated (such as in e-liquid) can be quite poisonous. The e-liquid bottles available in shops are clearly marked that they should be kept away from children or pets, but it really must be underlined that, as a liquid, nicotine can be quite dangerous.
Another chemical in the vapour of an e-cig is propylene glycol. While it is generally considered harmless, it can irritate the eyes in some people. Some studies show that, when heated and vaporised (similar, but not identical to what happens in an e-cig), PG can degrade into acetaldehyde and formaldehyde. Both can be toxic, but it is not clear how the human body responds to repeated exposure to either.
The overall opinion is that the PG you inhale from an e-cig or vaping pen is harmless, but the thing with science is that it is very difficult to prove conclusively that something ISN’T. It can only show that to the best of our ability to tell, it hasn’t caused any problems yet.
That’s the elephant in the room, right? When it comes down to brass tacks, what people really care about is the fact that vaping doesn’t seem to cause cancer.
There has been a great deal of uproar about e-cigs causing ‘Popcorn Lung’. There is little evidence, though, that they do and quite a bit more suggesting they don’t.
The story started years ago with several workers in an American popcorn factory coming down with serious lung problems due to inhaling large amounts of a chemical used to impart artificial butter flavour to popcorn. That chemical, diacetyl, is considered save for food use and human consumption, and is indeed a part of several flavours of e-liquid available today.
In the end, though, there were only 8 people known to have been injured by this chemical, and that was in an industrial context. None of them were e-cigarette users. No one has come forth with reports of anyone exposed to or using e-liquids which include diacetyl coming down with ‘popcorn lung’ or any other lung disorder.
The NHS says that it is unknown whether dicetyl or any associated chemicals cause harm to users of e-cigarettes. Unless more cases are confirmed or a massive human study is undertaken, it will be difficult to confirm that there is zero risk.
Click here for a helpful infographic about how vaping affects the body and an overview of how e-cigs and vaping pens work.