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IS THE NEW
YOUR COMMUNITY ON
E-cigarettes and Vaping Q&A
By. Yogaalakshmi Sundararajan M.D.
According to the Center on Addiction, vaping has grown in
popularity with the rise of e-cigarettes and other Electronic
Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS). Several studies indicate
that particles found in the “vapor” produced by these
devices contain toxic chemicals which have been linked to
respiratory and heart disease, as well as cancer. Despite
these findings, some still believe that vaping is far less
harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes. In fact,
the opposite is true. This Q&A addresses this and other
misconceptions people may have about vaping.
Q: What are ENDS or vaping devices?
A: Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems are tobacco
products that do not produce smoke. Some of the most
commonly used terms used to describe these products
are e-cigarettes, vapes and vaporizers. These devices
are usually composed of a battery, heating element and
a chamber which is often filled with liquid containing
nicotine. This liquid is heated by the device to release an
aerosol often mistaken for water vapor. Vaping is inhaling
and exhaling the aerosol produced.
Q: Are there negative effects associated with vaping?
A: The liquid found in vaping devices often contains
nicotine which causes addiction and increases abuse
potential. Nicotine is toxic to the brain of developing
fetuses. It also harms adolescent brain development. The
aerosol component of vaping devices has cancer-causing
chemicals. Cases of accidental poisoning by the liquids in
devices are becoming more common. Defective products
can cause explosions and fires.
Q: How do regular cigarettes compare to vaping devices?
A: Smoking a regular cigarette will produce smoke while
delivering nicotine to the body. The smoke is a harmful
component that contains many toxic agents including but
not limited to carbon monoxide and tar; both of which
can cause cancer and other diseases. E-cigarettes and
other vaping devices contain fewer toxic chemicals when
compared to regular cigarettes because there is no
smoke. However, they still contain significant levels of
harmful substances such as nicotine, heavy metals like
lead, volatile organic compounds, propylene glycol and
other cancer-causing agents.
Q: Can e-cigarettes and other vaping devices be used
to quit smoking?
A: E-cigarettes are not currently approved by the FDA to
quit smoking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) deems that e-cigarettes have the potential to benefit
adult smokers (non-pregnant) as a complete substitute for
regular cigarettes and other smoked tobacco products, but
more studies are needed to prove this. Recent CDC studies
also found that most adults using e-cigarettes don’t quit
smoking, instead, are using both products.
Q: Is there a rising epidemic in the use of vaping device
In the USA there are several laws put in place to regulate
the use of vaping devices. Despite these regulations, the
use of vaping devices is increasing among youth. Reports
from the CDC indicate that 4.3% of middle school students
and 11.3% of high school students have tried vaping in
the past month. Vaping devices are produced in various
models, including those that look like flash drives. This
makes it easier for students to mask its presence. Lack
of legislation to stop advertising of vaping products,
availability of multiple appealing flavors, easy access are
all factors that have contributed to increased use of vaping
devices among youth.
Nicotine and other toxic substances, delivered in the
form of traditional cigarettes or ENDS are harmful to
your health. The best way to avoid these toxic chemicals
derived from tobacco use is to stop smoking or vaping.
If you are currently a smoker and would like to quit,
please schedule an appointment to see your doctor. There
are many resources available to help control cravings and
To schedule an appointment with a doctor at Jamaica
Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.