Teenage boy holding an electronic cigarette, and looking directly to camera. The look in his eyes could mean several different things.

Would You Rather…?

Let’s play a game of “Would You Rather…?”

Would you rather consume diethylene glycol — a toxic chemical found in antifreeze — or formaldehyde, an ingredient found in embalming fluid?

Would you rather have asthma and bronchitis or lung damage and respiratory inflammation?

And finally, would you rather inhale propylene glycol — a chemical found in aircraft de-icing fluid — or diacetyl, a chemical used for flavoring that can cause an irreversible lung disease called “popcorn lung?”

If you found yourself unable to answer the questions above, ask yourself: Are e-cigarettes as appealing as they seem?

With cigarette smoking decreasing among youth, “vaping” — slang for smoking e-cigarettes — has risen considerably, making it one of the main alternatives for regular cigarettes. Use of the product among high school students increased by 19 percent between 2014 and 2015, according to studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With this rise come concerns about its health risks.

Do you know what’s in your e-cigarette?

E-cigarettes are battery–powered devices that deliver flavored nicotine and other substances to users in vapor instead of smoke. E-cigarettes are currently unregulated so the ingredient list can vary from shop to shop.

Evidence suggests that “vapors” offer less adverse effects than cigarettes. Though its effects may be less harmful, that doesn’t mean they’re safer. People who regularly vape can expect to face similar consequences as regular cigarette smokers, such as addiction to nicotine, lung damage, nose bleeds, contributing second-hand smoke and cancer.

Since e-cigarette use is fairly new, studies about its long-term effects are limited. Until more research about its future implications are found, use of the device is not suggested. Only one thing is for certain: the truth about vaping will be revealed some time in the future, similar to how the truth about regular cigarettes was.

Learn more about the effects of e-cigarettes by talking with your doctor or visiting GetHealthyLiveWell.org. To find a doctor near you, call Tanner’s free, 24-hour physician referral line at 770.214.CARE (2273) or select “Find a Doctor” at www.tanner.org.

 

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