In recent times, vaping and the use of E-Cigarettes have become mildly popular especially among young adults. Whether it is used as an alternative to quit other methods of smoking or because of social pressure, the use of these products has exponentially increased. As more people start to use these devices and showcase the negative effects of these e-cigarette products, the curiosity of the unknown long-term effects has grown. These devices are the size of a flash drive and work by heating a liquid into a vaporizer that the user inhales and then exhales. The liquid in these devices usually contains nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerin, flavorings, and other chemicals (McClelland et al. 2020). The problem with these devices is the uncertainty that they hold for future repercussions. While some short-term effects have been revealed in connection with respiratory and cardiovascular issues, the long-term effects are still unknown. This leaves a large portion of millennials at risk for possible diseases and health-related issues.
The scarce amount of studies leaves room for many researchers to conduct studies and pave the way for the future. One study, “A Mixed Methods Pilot Study on the Short-Term Physiological Effects of Vaping and Attitudes Regarding Its Use and Health Effects in Samples of Young Adults”, was published April/June 2020 and has added to the discussion of the effects of vaping (McClelland et al. 2020). The study led by Molly McClelland, Channing Sesoko, and Douglas MacDonald was conducted with people who vape versus non-vapers to identify the physiological impediments that vaping can create. In this experiment, two groups of people were established, one being people who vape and the other people who do not vape. The participants were found through a convenience sample gathered through social media and direct recruitment. There were twenty-four volunteers in total and the study participants were separated into smaller groups of two to five people. Each group participated in an hour-long discussion on vape devices, used to gather and understand the reasons why young adults choose to vape or abstain from vaping. In the first twenty minutes of the discussion, people in the vape group were asked to vape so the physiological data could be gathered. During the open conversation with the subjects, their heart rate, percentage of blood oxygen saturation, blood pressure, pulmonary function, and blood sugar were recorded to analyze the physical impact from vaping. The physiological data being collected was recorded both before and after the discussion session. Through this experiment, it was found that vaping increased heart rate and decreased blood oxygenation, two negative effects that could lead to health problems in the future. Additionally, the common responses in the discussion were that the vapers think it is cool and they are bored and need something to do, whereas non-vapers abstain from vaping because of the suspicion of the unknown and the lack of value in vaping.
Similarly, a study held by Tobore Onojighofia Tobore in 2019 further solidified the destructive consequences of using E-cigarettes. This study found e-cigarettes to be potentially linked to aggression, insomnia, and poor academic performance through induced oxidative stress in young adults (Tobore 2019). Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species and antioxidant defenses. These reactive oxygen species are oxygen molecules with one or more unpaired electron (Tobore 2019). This study is impactful as oxidative stress can damage cells, proteins, and DNA which can lead to aging and further demonstrates the harmful effects of the use of E-cigarettes. Furthermore, another study called “Do you mind if I vape? Immediate Effects of Electronic Cigarettes on Perfusion in Buccal Mucosal Tissue- A Pilot Study” held by William Reuther, Beverley Hale, Jaz Matharu, John Blythe, and Peter Brennan in 2016 demonstrated extended areas that vaping implicates (Reuther et al. 2016). It was proven that E-cigarettes may elicit a negative effect on blood flow to the oral mucosa which is the mucous lining inside of the mouth. These studies add to the evidence that vaping has a number of negative side effects.
The research conducted by Molly McClelland, Channing Sesoko, and Douglas MacDonald provided useful data on the ongoing debate of whether vaping is harmful or not, but it still contained some setbacks. First, the sample size is not nearly large enough to create accurate data as twenty-four people could hold immense bias and inaccuracy. Furthermore, the participants are “self-reported” to use or not use vape products, so that could also be inaccurate. Finally, the type of vape fluid that was used was not controlled so a wide range of vape fluids were used. This could also lead to many inconsistencies in the final outcome. Additionally, the authors do recognize that this is a smaller pilot study that could pave way for larger studies, so there is more leniency in the smaller sample size. Finally, the authors noted the lack of research available on vape products, leading to a lot of unknowns in the field.
Overall, this experiment is useful in providing more knowledge about the implications of vaping since there is little information and studies available now. Furthermore, the people that are using the vapes should know what kinds of effects the vapes will have on them instead of having unpredicted diseases arise. The larger implication of this information is the regulations it could create through the negative impact that vaping is shown to cause. Although some people say vaping is better than smoking, there are still many unsafe and harmful consequences. Finally, if you are looking to quit vaping, this may be the evidence you needed as it has only shown to have detrimental effects on the body.
McClelland M, Sesoko C, MacDonald D. 2020. A mixed methods pilot study on the short-term physiological effects of vaping and attitudes regarding its use and health effects in samples of young adults. Journal of Addictions Nursing. [accessed 2020 Aug 16];31(2): 110-118. https://oce-ovid-com.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/article/00060867-202004000-00009/HTML. doi: 10.1097/JAN.0000000000000336.
Tobore TO. 2019. On the potential harmful effects of E-Cigarettes (EC) on the developing brain: the relationship between vaping-induced oxidative stress and adolescent/young adults social maladjustment. Journal of Adolescence. [accessed 2020 August 16];76: 202-209. https://www-sciencedirect-com.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/science/article/pii/S0140197119301551. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2019.09.004.
Reuther WJ, Hale B, Matharu J, Blythe JN, Brennan PA. 2016. Do you mind if I vape? Immediate effects of electronic cigarettes on perfusion in buccal mucosal tissue – a pilot study. British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. [accessed 2020 August 29];54(3): 338-341. https://www-sciencedirect-com.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/science/article/pii/S0266435615007184. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bjoms.2015.12.001.
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