Know the impact of vaping on your health

World No Tobacco Day

World No Tobacco Day


While the journey to quit smoking is challenging, it’s one of the best things you will ever do for your health

Every year May 31st is observed as World No Tobacco Day to raise awareness about tobacco-related diseases and their impact on the overall population. As per recent estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), India accounts for nearly 1.35 million every year and is the second largest producer and consumer of tobacco.

We spoke to Dr Sunil Kumar K, lead consultant - interventional pulmonology, Aster CMI Hospital, Bangalore, he says, “In recent years, e-cigarettes or vapes have emerged as one of the safer options than smoking conventional cigarettes. As opposed to usual cigarettes, E-cigarettes solely contain nicotine and are perceived as a healthier alternative to smoking by many people. Despite a complete ban on the sale, storage, and manufacture of e-cigarettes in India, young people and especially Gen Z millennials in the country are still able to access e-cigarettes. With thousands of ‘kid-friendly’ flavours, the crisis of nicotine addiction is increasing every day. Considering the growing popularity of vapes, it’s now crucial to increase awareness about the potential dangers of vaping and take greater steps to curb the use of tobacco and related products.”

What is vaping?

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the use of e-cigarettes is commonly referred to as vaping. E-cigarettes are electronic devices that produce an aerosol by heating a liquid which contains an addictive drug, nicotine, commonly found in cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products.

These devices are known by many different names such as “e-cigs,” “e-hookahs,” “mods,” “vape pens,” “vapes,” “tank systems,” and “electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).” Many people consider the aerosol present in e-cigarettes as “water vapour” and believe that it is ‘Not Harmful.’ However, the e-cigarette aerosol that users inhale and exhale can contain several harmful substances such as -

● Nicotine

● Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled through e-cigarettes and can impact the lungs

● Flavourings such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease

● Volatile organic compounds

● Cancer-causing chemicals

● Heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead1

E-cigarettes not only impact the users who inhale and exhale this aerosol into their lungs but similar to cigarettes, they also affect the bystanders who inhale the aerosol passively.

How can it harm your health?

Exposure to nicotine, which is commonly found in e-cigarettes, can significantly harm adolescents, teenagers, young adults and developing fetuses. As per a study by CDC, it has been found that using nicotine in adolescence can impact certain parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control and may increase the risk of future addiction to other drugs. Additionally, vaping can also lead to other health issues such as -

● Popcorn lung disease - Bronchiolitis obliterans is a rare lung condition that is commonly known as popcorn lung disease. Diacetyl, a substance that is present in some e-cigarettes, has been linked with this rare lung condition and can often lead to the development of this disease. The symptoms of popcorn lung disease include -

● Breathlessness

● Wheezing

● Tightness

These symptoms can get worse if they are ignored over time. Inhaling vapourised chemicals can also cause lung inflammation and may cause several life-threatening diseases such as bronchitis, asthma, and other respiratory disorders.

● Increased cancer risk - As e-cigarettes contain highly toxic compounds, vaping these substances for the long term can aggravate your health issues and may increase the risk of malignancies in your body, leading to the development of various types of cancers such as mouth cancer, tongue cancer, or throat cancer.

● Injuries and burns - Apart from these vaping health risks, e-cigarettes can also lead to serious injuries as the batteries in vaping devices can explode and can cause serious injuries and burns. This is also the reason why e-cigarettes are not allowed on aeroplanes.

How can quitting vaping improve your overall health?

Quitting vaping or smoking is associated with lower levels of anxiety, depression and stress and can significantly help in improving your quality of life. Additionally, by staying committed to quitting vaping, you will be able to overcome your nicotine withdrawal symptoms and your brain will get used to not having nicotine. You will also start witnessing several positive changes in your life such as improved mood, better concentration and a better sleep cycle.

While the journey to quit smoking is challenging, it's one of the best things you will ever do for your health.

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