Summary: Vaping was promoted as a safe alternative to tobacco smoking. However, experience shows that it is far from true. Vaping has its own set of health risks. For example, it is known to cause severe effects on lungs leading to fatal outcomes. However, now, new studies suggest that it may be addictive, increase the risk of addiction to other substances, and may have many other longer-term adverse consequences for wellbeing. The new study suggests that various vaping juices may cause increased expression of inflammatory mediators in multiple organs, including the brain, heart, lung, and colon. Moreover, the study also found that the adverse effects of different flavors differ.
Treating one kind of addiction with another less dangerous addiction is not an ideal solution to the problem. Vaping has picked up in recent years. Initially, many promoted it as a way of overcoming tobacco addiction. However, things are changing fast, and many people vape who never used tobacco. It means that vaping itself is emerging as a significant problem. Moreover, studies show that it is not as safe as imagined earlier and may cause some unique health issues. Data regarding its adverse health effects is still emerging.
What is worrisome is that vaping is a pastime activity of young minds. Most people vaping is between the ages of 18-24. It is also worth understanding that vaping has only picked up in the last few years. Therefore, it may even become a significant health concern if timely measures are not taken. Therefore, there is an urgent need to raise awareness regarding the health risks associated with vaping. Furthermore, considering how fast people accept vaping and get addicted to it, most people may start vaping in a decade.
Vaping May Alter Inflammatory Responses Of The Brain, Heart, Lungs, And Colon
It is now known that vaping causes severe and life-threatening lung disease in some. It is already causing a few deaths each year. However, these findings are insufficient to raise awareness regarding the health risks of vaping addiction, as people see it as something uncommon. Most people see vaping-related lung disease as a rare disorder affecting a few. However, people do not realize that vaping may have many long-term ill effects on health. Studying the ill effects of vaping on health is more challenging than understanding the risk of tobacco addiction. Unlike cigarettes that use various tobacco strains with varying degrees of nicotine, vaping uses many different kinds of vape juices with quite different chemical compositions.
It means that vaping one kind of liquid may have a certain set of side effects. While using another type of vaping juice may have completely distinct side effects. The new study published in the journal eLife explored the ill effects of various commonly available vaping flavors or some of the leading vaping devices like JUUL. In the study, researchers were especially amazed by the significant elevation of inflammatory markers that are associated with poor brain health and an even higher risk of neurodegenerative disorders. Experts noted that vaping fluids caused changes in gene expression in the brain. They found that this effect is especially marked in the nucleus accumbens, a brain region that plays a vital role in the reward pathway.
These findings are concerning, as they suggest that vaping may also increase the dangers of mental health disorders. Thus, it may increase the risk of anxiety, depression, and more. In addition, it may also cause behavioral changes, increasing the risk of addictive behavior. This may also increase a person’s risk of substance abuse and addiction. Similarly, the authors of the study noted that certain vaping juices increase colon inflammation. However, these changes were seen after one month of regular vaping. Similarly, vaping influences gene expression and increases inflammation of the lungs and even other body tissues.
Researchers also noticed that the inflammatory response of different organs differed to various vaping flavors. This is explained by the different chemical compositions of various vaping juices. These findings are also relevant in the context of the covid-19 epidemic since the body of those addicted to vaping would respond differently to the infection. It appears that apart from general immunity, every organ has its immune environment. Thus, these findings are disturbing, as they indicate that vaping may alter the immune responses of individual organs. It may have unpredictable ill effects on health, especially over the long term which form sufficient reasons to quit vaping.
By Gurpreet Singh Padda, MD, MBA