Recall the right-to-die case of Terri Schiavo who had a heart attack. She ended up in a persistent vegetative state in 1990. Her husband and parents fought each other for 15 years in a high profile conflict as to whether to end her life or not. Terri's husband won the right to have her feeding tube removed and she died in 2005.
The science to keep her alive was put in place before medical ethics and the law had a chance to "catch up". It took 15 years to make a decision. Grueling.
First, have you ever seen someone vaping in a car? I remember the first time I saw "evidence" of vaping (e-cigarettes). I was sitting at a stop light and this huge cloud of smoke came out of a driver's side window and I told my husband that the car ahead of us was on fire! Oh, how we laughed. Silly girl.
Second, have you seen all the "vape" shops that have popped up? My stars, on every block, there are more and more weed and vape shops than dry cleaners and Walgreens. But, that's just in LA...or is it?
Because the widespread availability of these products, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it would ban sales to those younger than 18 and it would require manufacturers to register their product with the FDA and submit the ingredients for safety testing. Wait a sec. What? These things have been around for more than a decade and just now, the FDA is asking for safety testing? Some countries have banned them altogether. Moving on...
- They have 3% and 5% of the health risks associated with cigarette smoking (THIS IS ONLY AN ESTIMATE).
- While nicotine causes addiction and vaping products contain nicotine, it is actually the tar in cigarettes that kills and vaping products have no tar. [Tar is the result of burning tobacco and the cigarette paper.]
- Might be an effective "transition" product from a "behavioral" perspective as people move away from traditional cigarettes to being non-smokers...but, but, but, all the data isn't in.
- Because users are combining e-cigs with tobacco, it's hard to tell which "product" is causing disease.
- The actual danger is likely to come from the additives and flavorings. The effect of these elements are unknown. Since thousands, yes, thousands of chemicals are used to create tastes as unique as cheesecake, no one really knows the impact of these chemicals when inhaled in this fashion. [Seriously, do you really need a cigarette that tastes like cheesecake?]
- A new study revealed that most of the e-cigs' toxic gases are linked "to a heat-triggered breakdown of the e-liquids used to create the vapors" (Janet Raloff/Science News/March + August, 2016). Ms. Raloff reported that "the hotter an e-cig gets-and the more it's used-the more toxic compounds it emits".
- Flavorings are appealing to kids. When they taste a familiar flavor, for example, strawberry, they don't associate danger with the product. They are tempted to use e-cigs before trying regular cigarettes.
- "E-cigarettes draw liquids over one or more hot metal coils to create vapors. The liquids-usually propylene glycol, glycerine or a mix of the two-are food-grade solvents laced with flavorings and often nicotine." (Raloff)
- As the e-cigs heat up, toxic components such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acrolein becomes more concentrated. Not healthy.
- E-cigs vary in voltage. Raloff related, "Higher voltages produced hotter conditions and more of the toxic aldehydges, two of which are probably or suspected carcinogens".
- The risk from e-cigs is about the same as living with a smoker in terms of second-hand smoke.
- As your e-cig ages, there's a build up on your coil. This new phenomenon has yet to be investigated fully. Could it be that the "coil gunk", the accumulation of residue, could pose a threat all of its own?
- E-cigs may actually cause new problems for the smoker that traditional tobacco products don't pose.
- Vaping, as well as smoking, reduces the activity level of infection-fighting genes, making the person more vulnerable to "any kind of infection". [You're gonna get sick a lot.]
- Healthy immune cells (that gobble up and kill bacteria) that were exposed to the flavored liquids in e-cigs suppressed their ability to do their jobs. [You're gonna get sick a lot.]
- Cinnamon flavoring (also used in conjunction with other flavors such as cola) had an impressive ability to stomp on the immune cells and keep them from protecting from infection. [You're gonna get sick a lot.]
- Mice who were developing in the womb were exposed to e-cig vapors that contained nicotine (similar to second-hand smoke exposure) and the activity of the frontal cortex (responsible for planning and coordinating sensory input in order to make sense of the environment) was measured. Nicotine-exposed males showed no changes, but the nicotine-laced fumes changed the activity of females. Amazingly, just the vapors alone, without nicotine, had a significant impact on both males and females. These results were such a surprise to the researchers that they did the study two more times. The vapors are a serious problem.
- Because of these results, concerns regarding memory and mental disorders are now being explored. [OK, these are big ticket problems.]
- Reproductive problems in males were uncovered. Those adult mice who were exposed in the womb had 50% less sperm production than unexposed mice and their sperm were slow to move.
- The adult mice exposed in the womb had more plaque in their arteries suggesting atherosclerosis in progress...just like tobacco smokers.
- To be hyperactive and impulsive
- Have poor planning skills
- Have poor memory skills
- Have trouble conceiving a child, and
- Expose them to developing heart disease
Dad had been smoking since he was 8 years old. He was 8 when the Great Depression hit and he lived in Washington, D.C. Kids were given cigarettes to reduce their appetite because parents could not afford food. He was the last of 7 children. There was simply not enough food to go around. He said he could quit at anytime, but never did and died at the age of 68, breaking our hearts.
From the information I gleaned from a number of sources, many of which repeated the same concerns, we just don't know. And, if we just don't know, let me ask you my favorite question..."Can you live with the consequences?'
My recommendation is that you take a medical approach. Go with the science we know. Get help for the withdrawal and the behavioral habits that trigger the desire to smoke.
If you are really addicted and are smoking multiple packs a day, for a month, keep track of how many you are smoking. If it's 46, then for a full month, smoke 45 a day and after that, for a full month, smoke 44. You'll train the nicotine receptors in your brain to stop screaming at you. It may take longer, but you will be a non-smoker.
Good luck. It may take you 4 years, but in 4 years, you can either still be a smoker or a non-smoker. You know what to do.
Just do the best you can. Seriously, I have confidence in you. Claudia
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