E-cigarette use is on the rise, W.H.O. raising attention levels and calls for the need of regulation
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 9 million adults in the USA use e-cigarettes, and vaping has become especially popular among teens. Thanks to their appealing flavors, vaping e-cigarettes use is largely spread among young people, who use them without a sufficient understanding about how e-cigarettes may consist in a potential health threat as well.
Diacetyl suspected for health risks together with formaldehyde
Electronic cigarettes are almost certainly considered less lethal than conventional cigarettes, considered smoking is a uniquely life-threatening addiction. In fact, cigarettes might be the only consumer product considered so dangerous to kill when used as directed. But what seems to be largely underestimated, is that nicotine and other components used in e-cigarettes may have several negative health effects and risks too.
These products often contain a chemical compound called diacetyl, associated with a rare lung disease called ‘bronchiolitis obliterans’ which causes permanent damage to the bronchioles (the tiniest airways in the lungs). Propylene glycol and glycerol, the major components of e-liquids, are not thought to be dangerous on their own. However, they may decompose when heated by the vaporizer, and be transformed into toxic compounds such as formaldehyde.
National Heart, Lung and Blood Insititute (MD) revealing potential blood and respiratory consequences
After a research, funded by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Maryland – USA, the authors revealed that e-cigarette inhalants, upon vaporisation of the e-cigarette solution, contain potentially harmful toxic substances. Once inhaled, these particles can reach the alveoli of the lung, from where they are taken up by the blood vessels, thereby interfering with vascular function and promoting inflammation.
These products are largely advertised as not harmful, thus many e-cigarette users are convinced that they’re just inhaling water vapour. But the solvents, flavourings and additives in the liquid base, after vaporisation, expose users to multiple severe insults to the respiratory tract and blood vessels.
Vaping reportedly involved in death and illness cases in Illinois, suspected long-term effects
Last August the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) revealed that an adult died after being hospitalized with severe respiratory illness due to vaping. The department did not provide any additional details on the patient or the exact circumstances of their death.
In any case, according the IDPH, 22 Illinoisans between the ages of 17 to 38 have experienced the peculiar illness — the symptoms of which include coughing, shortness of breath, and fatigue — and the department is currently investigating another 12 potential cases.
What is sure, is that the scarcity of information on their long-term effects and their diffusion among the very young (who are losing nicotine risks becoming dependent) have recently pushed the World Health Organization. to define them as harmful to health.