As of August 2019, more than 200 people in the United States have reported suffering from respiratory illnesses relating to e-cigarettes, reports the Centre for Disease Control (CDC). In July, one individual in Oregon died after being hospitalized following the reported use of e-cigarette products. This incident, occurring two months ago, was just recently linked with the hundreds of cases of respiratory illnesses occurring across the United States. Health officials in Oregon say that the deceased individual used a vaping device that contained cannabis purchased from a cannabis dispensary. The CDC stresses that although many of the cases appear similar in nature, with many patients reporting the use of vaping products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the task of identifying the root cause of their issues has proven difficult.
In light of this, many have begun to question whether vaping should continue to be considered as a healthier alternative to smoking tobacco, or if they both share dangerous qualities unfit for human consumption. According to the Government of Canada, if you are a smoker, “vaping is a less harmful option than smoking.” Should individuals be looking to quit smoking, Government websites encourage the use of vaping products as a substitute for cigarettes. Although some of the chemicals that might be found within these products may negatively affect a person’s health, the amount of chemicals in vapour is “normally at much lower levels than in cigarette smoke.”
Some researchers have advocated for the banning of vapes until further research can be conducted in order to determine the full extent of their effects. Currently, some evidence indicates that vaping can cause gene alternations, but researchers and organizations alike continue to find it difficult to identify the magnitude of the effects of vaping.
The short term effects of vaping are currently understood to be less damaging than traditional cigarettes, but there is much to be learned about its long term effects. According to a recent study released in Addictive Behaviours, as youth spend an extended amount of time on their electronic devices, they are more prone to using vaping products. Therefore, the need to understand the true short-term and long-term effects of vaping is vital so that users are aware of the issues that they may be presented with later in life.
The long-term effects of e-cigarettes are still being discovered. Should anyone be experiencing any respiratory illnesses following the use of e-cigarettes, they are encouraged to seek medical assistance immediately.