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Clouded Choices: The Real Story Behind Vaping's Risks

2024-03-27
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While the CDC says e-cigarettes might be less harmful with fewer bad chemicals than regular cigarettes, it's important to remember that vaping is not safe. A study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives investigated metal transfer from heating coils to e-cigarette aerosols. After examining 56 e-cigarette devices, researchers discovered higher levels of metal, like chromium, nickel, and lead, in the aerosol and tank than in the dispenser. Some metals, like manganese and zinc, known to be toxic when inhaled, were also detected.

Regular cigarettes are known to contain about 7,000 chemicals, with 70, or 1%, identified as cancer-causing toxins. Initially believed to be healthier, e-cigarettes were thought to have only a few chemicals. However, research from John Hopkins University in the United States led by Dr. Carsten Prasse revealed “thousands of unknown chemicals” in the vapor, identified by using a detailed analytical method. Among the almost 2,000 mostly unidentified chemicals, researchers found caffeine, heavy metals, pesticides, three industrial chemicals, and two flavorings linked to respiratory issues.

Research in 2014 found that nearly two-thirds of tested e-cigarette samples contained toxic and carcinogenic carbonyl compounds like formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. Surprisingly, even ingredients considered safe were found to be carcinogenic. A study in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology revealed that sucralose, a common sweetener, breaks down during vaping, forming cancer-causing compounds. Furthermore, research from John Hopkins University indicates a link between vaping and respiratory diseases such as asthma and COPD.

In 2019, Simah experienced a life-threatening ordeal that left her unable to breathe and in need of emergency medical care. Her condition rapidly deteriorated within 48 hours, with her lungs inflamed and filled with fluid. Now that Simah has recovered, she wants to share her story as a warning to other youth. Her goal is to discourage them from getting caught up in the allure of vaping, even if it seems harmless. Her experience highlights the importance of raising awareness about the hazards of this widespread and harmful practice.
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