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  • Pushya Chokshi

Breaking Down Myths About Vaping

Electronic cigarettes(E-cigarettes) or Vapes were introduced as an alternative to delivering a "pure" form of nicotine to help smokers quit smoking. But according to several medical experts, we might have introduced something even more harmful in an effort to help the addicted. Vapes are fairly newly introduced equipments which lack research about long term use effect.

What is E-Cigarettes?

The structure of most e-cigarettes is very basic consisting of 3 parts

  1. The vaping fluid

  2. Power source

  3. Mouthpiece

Vaping liquid is the mixture of tobacco salts and the combination of chemicals that contribute to the flavor of the vapor. Using tobacco salts instead of tobacco leaves helps deliver the pure form of nicotine compared to conventional cigarettes. Power Source helps burn the vaping fluid by heating the coil which in return forms an aerosol (Not Water vapor), which exits the device by the mouthpiece. Bioaerosol is the formation of the cloud having different liquid in a small droplet form that is suspended in that cloud. Vaping liquid contains various chemicals like alcohols, aldehydes, and others having unknown health effects.

Picture source: CDC educational website.

Why is it getting so popular?

Teenagers and young adults always like to try the new things, which might lead to addiction later on. E-cigarettes like Juul are easier to carry or hide in books or wallet, also it can be recharged in the USB port, making them quite popular among teens. Some vaping devices produce minimal vapor, allowing the school kids to even use them during classes.

Picture source: CDC educational website.

Adjustable temperatures and modification capabilities allow them to experiment even with marijuana. There are hundreds of flavoring pods available in the market for e-cigarettes making them palatable and worth experimenting with for teenagers and young adults.

According to Suchitra Krishnan, Professor of Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine, teens and young adults are inclined towards experimenting with new things leading to exposure to nicotine and addiction of the same.

Picture source: Juul webpage.


The government realized that vapes were gaining popularity very quickly and that the regulation of e-cigarettes was important. E-cigarettes were under the regulation of the FDA (Food and drug administration), under similar rules as that of the tobacco.

Selling of the e-cigarettes to the individual under 18 years of age is prohibited and the display of e-cigarettes is also regulated.


Although regulation of e-cigarettes is in place, there is still a lot of uncertainty. For example, the effect of alcohol in food is know and thus can be regulated, similar regulations are in place for alcohol in e-cigarettes but the alcohol from these e-cigarettes is going to be aerosolized and is gonna be inhaled, and absorbed in the lungs. The effects of the short-term dosage of aerosols are knows but the research is too young to judge its long-term effects. While the long-term effects may be unnoticeable. there are more chance of it being devastating (Judging from the increased absorption into the blood from the lungs). There are lots of other chemicals in these e-cigarettes with unknown health effects making it difficult to judge their harmful effects right now.

To sum it up, it’s too early to judge the harmful effect of e-cigarettes but it is likely that it is not half as safe as it is considered to be. It shouldn't be considered a "safe" alternative to conventional cigerttes.

Promoting it as an alternative should be regulated until extensive research is done. Introducing the legislation to prevent teenagers and young adults should take place to avoid the potential addiction. Regulation of the open vaping competition should also be done, vaping high amount of smoke cloud takes place in the competition to form rings and dragons from it.

Some company claims that they are just for the people looking to get out of the addiction of cigarettes, but dozens of the children-friendly flavor in vape does not justify that claims.


TEDMED by Suchitra Krishnan

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