E-cigarettes and vapes: why they are more dangerous than previously thought

E-cigarettes and vapes: why they are more dangerous than previously thought

Electronic cigarettes are popular and heavily advertised. However, the vapor is not as harmless as is often claimed.

They’ve been making waves on social media, appearing in countless Tik-Tok videos: electronic cigarettes, so-called vapes. The plastic parts are not only hard to miss on the Internet: They are advertised on posters in front of kiosks. There are different flavors of e-cigarettes. In clubs and bars they can be seen as a supposedly hip accessory in the hands of night owls.

Many models are single-use products. After about 500 to 800 trains, the part ends up in the electronic waste. Vapes don’t need to be charged or refilled like that conventional e-cigarettes – nevertheless they work the same: No tobacco is burned, as with the classic cigarette. The e-cigarettes work with steam. Liquid contained in a small tank is heated by a battery or accumulator. This creates a steamwhich – depending on the variety – should taste sweet, fruity or minty.

Young people vape more

Just at teenagers electronic cigarettes are trendy. At the end of last year, the “German survey on smoking behavior” found that the consumption of e-cigarettes among 14 to 17 year olds increased by 1.5 percent in 2022. Consumption among 18 to 24 year olds rose from 2.4 to 4.0 percent. Professor Stefan Andreas, Head of the DGP Task Force for Tobacco Cessation and Chief Physician at the Immenhausen Lung Clinic, told the editorial team: smoke e-cigarettes more often. Targeted advertising for e-cigarettes has increased in recent years. Influencers in particular use e-cigarettes on social media. So far we haven’t seen any progress in the protection of minors.”

Due to the sweet taste and smell, the vapes look less dangerous than the classic cigarette. Experts have been warning of the Dangers behind the vaporizers. “Vapor or vaping may sound harmless at first, but you inhale aerosols, very small particles. The aerosol from e-cigarettes has pro-inflammatory, vascular-damaging and carcinogenic properties,” says Professor Andreas. Although the concentration of some harmful substances is lower in e-cigarettes than in tobacco cigarettes, other substances in e-cigarettes differ from tobacco cigarettes and have been insufficiently studied.

Human DNA is damaged

A new study from the USA by researchers from the Keck School of Medicine of USC, a university in California, makes people sit up and take notice. The study published in February shows that e-cigarettes can cause just as serious damage as tobacco cigarettes set up in the body. There were a total of 72 people with different smoking behavior examined. The cells in the smokers’ mouths showed higher levels of DNA damage than the cells in the non-smokers. The damage done to DNA by vaping with sweet flavors was slightly higher compared to the damage caused by traditional smoking.

Die DNA damage are suspected of being the cause of serious chronic diseases. This includes cancer. However, the researchers of the study want to do more research here in order to better understand the connection between damage and possible diseases.

Will e-cigarettes be banned?

Politicians are also currently discussing electronic cigarettes. At the beginning of March, the Federal Council a ban on disposable e-cigarettes tuned. However, it was not about health risks. Rather, it was about the fact that there is a great burden on the environment because many smokers throw their vapes into the normal residual waste. Because of the battery, the cigarette actually belongs in the hazardous waste.

The Baden-Württemberg Minister of Health Manfred Lucha (Greens) has been calling for a complete ban since January 2023. Lucha told the German Press Agency (dpa) that the health of young people in particular is at risk from the vapes. (with dpa)

More on the subject: Smoking before pregnancy can also harm the child

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