Does vaping help users quit or reinforce tobacco use?
While the use of traditional cigarettes has decreased in many states, vaping is being offered as a healthier alternative and a way for frequent users to wean off of tobacco entirely. Is vaping the magic solution that some are saying it is? Or is there a downside to this evolving form of tobacco use?
e-Cigarettes And Vaping: Do They Help Users Quit Tobacco
As their products came to the market, many manufacturers touted their ability to help tobacco users to quit because their products deliver less addictive nicotine through their cartridges. However, not all cartridges are the same and not all are well-labeled. Some may even deliver more nicotine than a traditional cigarette. Adding to the skepticism is the fact that vaping does not do anything to break the other habits that go along with smoking. While these habits are still supported, it may be too easy for users to slide back into smoking nicotine products again.
It has also been shown that users of e-cigarettes wind up also using traditional forms of tobacco rather than replacing their old habits or eliminating tobacco use entirely. Users don’t always find them as satisfying as the traditional habit they’d grown used to for years.
Some Products May Be Very Addictive
As vaping has evolved, a new type of device has come onto the market and became a lightning rod for vaping critics. Juul, which has taken over approximately three-quarters of its market, has positioned itself as a strong tool to help those who want to quit smoking. However, it uses pods that contain as much nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes and its nicotine salts are absorbed into the body at the same rate as occurs during traditional cigarette use. This level of nicotine delivery doesn’t appear consistent with an effort to decrease tobacco use.
Vaping Habits And Teen Use
Medical professionals and other experts are particularly concerned about how vaping use has grown in teens. Data supports their worry. In 2018, the number of high school seniors who say that they’ve vaped nicotine in the past 30 days doubled over the previous year, rising from 11 to nearly 21 percent.
Many have pointed to Juul as being one of the leading promoters teen vaping. During the same time that teen vaping use had dramatically increased, the company gained a staggering increase in market share. The company’s products have been marketed with ads that show younger users indulging in them and these ads have been disbursed through the same kinds of social media channels that teens often use.
Vaping Regulation And Litigation
Former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb has been clear that he believes the company helped spark the teen vaping epidemic saying, “I hope they realize that the problem that’s been created has been created largely by their product.” During his tenure with the FDA, he called for substantially more regulation of the industry including increases in restriction of vaping product sales to young users.
Many aren’t waiting for the FDA to take action against Juul and other vaping manufacturers. Individual states are taking action to enact local regulation on the products. Additionally, there are a host of litigation efforts aimed at companies for their targeting of teen users in marketing campaigns.
Harmful Effects From Vaping
Intense risk of addiction is only one of the potentially harmful effects of vaping. Vaping may be linked to a higher risk of seizures and may stress the cardiovascular system. Surprisingly, there may also be fire dangers to vaping. These include the possibility that the charger in a custom device may cause a fire, or that the device may be turned on accidentally, potentially starting a fire in a user’s pocket.
Experts agree that long-term impacts of vaping haven’t been able to be fully examined yet, but they expect to be able to address that over time. While they are waiting, experts and health advocates want to ensure that the public, including the youngest potential users, are being provided with the best information possible to make the right decision for their health. The public can expect the discussion, even controversy, on this topic will continue.